Shell station robbery suspect arrested after failing to return to court after break

Shell station robbery suspect arrested after failing to return to court after break

State Courts Singapore court crime - file photo
File photo of the State Courts in Singapore. (Photo: Jeremy Long)

SINGAPORE: A man who was charged with robbing a Shell petrol station at knifepoint has been arrested after he went missing during a court break, said police on Thursday (Sep 19). 

On Tuesday, a warrant of arrest was issued against 50-year-old Visvanathan Vadivelu for breaking conditions of bail. 

READ: Shell station robbery suspect goes missing during court break, warrant of arrest issued: Report

READ: Shell petrol station robbery: First such case in Singapore in 10 years, police say

Visvanathan, who was on court bail, was to be sentenced for armed robbery and drug-related offences, said police in the media release. 

He had pleaded guilty to the robbery but told the court he wanted to retract his guilty plea, saying that he had been misled by his former lawyer into admitting to the offences, TODAY reported. 

His former lawyer A Revi Shanker, whom Visvanathan discharged on Monday, told the court he spent more than 10 minutes checking other courtrooms and around the State Courts after Visvanathan failed to return after the break. 

Visvanathan was also uncontactable on his mobile phone. 

In the release, police said that while armed robbery is a non-bailable offence, the courts have the discretion to offer bail. 

"Hence, when the proceedings adjourned for a court break, the man was able to leave the court room unescorted, because he was still on court bail," said police. 

Visvanathan was not required to - and could not - be taken into police custody during the break, police added. 

When he failed to return to court after the break, his court bail was revoked and the warrant of arrest was issued. 

Source: CNA/ad(hs)

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