Lawyer M Ravi charged with criminal trespass

Lawyer M Ravi charged with criminal trespass

m Ravi lawyer
File photo of M Ravi. (Photo: Xabryna Kek)

SINGAPORE: Non-practising lawyer M Ravi was charged on Friday (Jun 30) with one count of criminal trespass “with intent to annoy”, for allegedly trespassing into the offices of law firm Eugene Thuraisingam LLP at People’s Park Complex.  

Ravi, 48, is accused of committing trespass when he allegedly entered the firm's office at about 2.16pm on Tuesday, "with intent to annoy" the firm’s security officer Rueben Rajandran, court documents state. He was charged alongside George Lai Yew Thiam, 56, who faces the same charge. 

Ravi was hired by Mr Thuraisingam on Oct 1 last year as the head of knowledge management and strategic alliance. He was sacked on Jun 7 after he became “unmanageable”, an employee of the firm said.

Channel NewsAsia understands the security officer was hired to prevent Ravi from forcing his way into the firm’s offices following his sacking. Ravi had allegedly broken the locks before to get into the firm.

Ravi was arrested on Thursday evening and held overnight. He was brought to court on Friday morning in an unmarked police car.

Ravi was barred by the High Court from applying for a practising certificate for two years in September last year, following a conviction for misconduct.

“He had nothing and nowhere to go. We gave him a helping hand,” Mr Eugene Thuraisingam told Channel NewsAsia. “We took him in because we believe in second chances.”

In judgment grounds released in October, the Court of Three Judges said Ravi’s mental condition was to blame for his “deplorable” conduct “in relation to the judiciary, his clients and the profession as a whole”.

Ravi had made “baseless, racially charged allegations” against the president of the Law Society of Singapore and two other lawyers, the court said.

Ravi was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2006. 

In court on Friday, Ravi said he intended to contest the trespass charge. He told the court he was a "lawful tenant" of the firm's premises at People's Park Centre. "I pay half the rent," Ravi claimed. 

A police prosecutor urged the court to send Ravi to the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) for psychiatric assessment. But Ravi argued that since he had an "acute awareness of (his) condition", is on medication and is able to understand the proceedings and charge against him, there was no need to remand him at IMH.

Ravi added he sees both a psychiatrist and psychologist, and acknowledged that he had been "a little animated" lately due to the "excitement" of his High Court hearing. Ravi, who called himself a "constitutional expert of Singapore" had launched a challenge against recent changes to the Elected Presidency scheme. His challenge was dismissed on Jun 15. 

When questioned by District Judge Adam Nakhoda about his demeanour during investigations, Ravi said he had been in a "joyous" mood and singing songs but had refused to answer any questions, choosing to exercise his rights and "privilege against self-incrimination". 

Deciding against remanding Ravi at IMH, the district judge granted him bail at S$5,000. Ravi will next appear in court for a pre-trial conference on Jul 7, together with Lai, who was similarly granted bail at S$5,000.

As part of their bail conditions, the men are not to visit the firm's offices or to discuss the case publicly on any platform, the judge said. 

For committing trespass, Ravi and Lai could face up to three months’ jail and a fine of up to S$1,500.

Source: CNA/cy