"Recently there were a lot of concerns expressed [about] my medical condition or my mental state of being. I wish to thank my friends [and] Singaporeans as well as friends overseas for being concerned about what has been happening to me," lawyer M Ravi tells this writer on Friday at his office at Battery Road.
"I must acknowledge that I was under a lot of pressure," he explains. This was also why he voluntarily checked himself into Mount Elizabeth hospital earlier in the week, to seek a second opinion on his condition.
Ravi has been handling several high-profile cases in the last few months, including the by-election case by Hougang resident Vellama Marie Muthu seeking the court to decide on the prime minister's discretionary powers in calling by-elections; opposition politician Kenneth Jeyaretnam's case calling on the courts to impose an injunction on the Singapore Government providing loans to the International Monetary Fund (IMF); and the fate of those on death row following the Government's proposed changes to the death penalty laws.
"Of course I take great happiness and great solace in fighting for the rights of our people," M Ravi says. However, he says he also has to be "practical" in how he is able to take up pro bono cases. He explains that his corporate work enables him to do this but that he must strike a balance between the two. It was only recently, he says, that he took stock of these. To alleviate the stress from his heavy workload, he practises dance, something which he has loved all his life, doing yoga, writing and just being with friends.
Referring to his recent behaviour, which has raised eyebrows and concerns among his friends, Ravi says he "was going through a process of cleansing." He feels, however, that "things are settled" on the personal side now.
On Friday, Ravi personally delivered two letters of complaints to the Law Society of Singapore (LSS). The complaints were against Wong Meng Meng, the president of the LSS and Wong Siew Hong, the chairman of the LSS sub-committee on Member Care.
Ravi's complaints, issued on his behalf by his law firm, stem from the action of Wong Siew Hong's conduct in court and the subsequent statements from Wong Meng Meng as LSS president.
Wong Siew Hong "had appeared in open court" on two separate occasions with a letter from Ravi's psychiatrist, Dr Calvin Fones. The letter was delivered to the two judges in chambers, and also to various other parties, "thereby publishing the content of the letter beyond the scope of the intrinsic confidentiality of the letter," Ravi's complaint says.
Wong Siew Hong, Ravi says, had also "intended to appear" on another occasion at the High Court to deliver the same letter.
The complaint letter says Wong Siew Hong's conduct "was intended primarily to injure his [Ravi's] reputation, goodwill and standing in the community…" and that Wong had "unlawfully published defamatory matters" and had "committed actionable wrongs" which have resulted in Ravi's professional reputation being injured and that thus he has suffered loss and damage.
Ravi is demanding that "necessary and relevant disciplinary proceedings be initiated" against Wong by the LSS.
In his complaint against Wong Meng Meng, Ravi says the president had presented conflicting statements in his capacity as LSS president in two press releases following the behaviour of Wong Siew Hong.
In the first press release, on 16 July, the LSS said that it had "informed the judge of the contents of the letter [by Calvin Fones] as it felt it was in the public interest to do so, and as officers of the court."
However, the LSS retracted the statement the next day, explaining that it "was not in possession of the full facts" when it issued the first statement. "As a result, the statement issued in the evening of the 16th July 2012 contained the error that LSS had initiated the intervention in the court proceedings."
In his complaint letter to the LSS, Ravi says the retraction has caused "an air of confusion, which was inimical to the standing, reputation and image of an august body like the LSS."
He also raises questions of the role of the LSS in the event which transpired at the High Court on those two occasions when Wong Meng Meng appeared in the courts.
"[The] integrity of the LSS and/or its Council was brought into question" as a result of the conflicting statements issued by the LSS, the complaint letter says. It has also "severely tarnished" the reputation, standing and image of the LSS, and has raised "unnecessary speculation" to the reputation and the standing of Ravi.
Accordingly, Ravi is demanding that disciplinary proceedings be initiated against Wong Meng Meng as well.
Ravi says he is also filing a Writ of Summons against the two men for defamation next week. This follows his ultimatum for the two men to respond to his letter of demand a week ago. The ultimatum ran out on Friday apparently without any response from the two men.
Ravi said earlier that he is also lodging a complaint with the Singapore Medical Association against Calvin Fones.
In the meantime, Ravi is continuing with his work and says he is looking forward to his upcoming plans. These include going to New York next month to sit for the New York Bar exam. "I'm all excited to go to New York next month," he says, "so that I can draw on the American courts and draw attention to human rights law."
At a news conference on Friday, Ravi said he is also in talks with lawyers in India, London and Hong Kong where he intends to set up new practices.
Andrew helms publichouse.sg as Editor-in-Chief. His writings have been reproduced in other publications, including the Australian Housing Journal in 2010. He was nominated by Yahoo! Singapore as one of Singapore's most influential media persons in 2011.