Human rights lawyer M Ravi has been charged with trespassing into the premises of a law firm that he previously worked at.
Ravi, whose full name is Ravi Madasamy, was slapped with one count of criminal trespass in the State Courts on Friday (30 June) after he had allegedly unlawfully entered the premises of Eugene Thuraisingam LLP earlier this week. A co-accused, believed to be Ravi’s friend, Lai Yew Thiam, 56, faces the same charge.
According to the charge sheets, Ravi, 48, and Lai had entered the property, located at Upper Cross Street, on 27 June at 2.16pm with the “intent to annoy” Rueben Rajandran, a security officer authorised to be at the law firm.
Appearing in the docks dressed in an orange T-shirt this afternoon, Ravi, who was diagnosed with bipolar disorder since 2006, denied the charge and said he would be claiming trial. Ravi claimed that he was a lawful co-tenant of the premises that he had entered as he was paying rent.
The prosecution applied to have Ravi remanded at the Institute of Mental Health but was rejected by District Judge Adam Nakhoda, who said he did not believe that there was evidence to show Ravi was unable to understand the charge against him.
When asked about his mental condition, Ravi said that he has been seeing a psychiatrist and a psychologist for his condition. He added that he was still on medication and had an appointment with his psychiatrist fixed for the first week of July.
He added that he was in “a joyous mood” and “at peace with (himself)” while he was being questioned by the investigation officer.
Formerly Eugene Thuraisingam LLP’s Head of Knowledge Management and Strategic Alliance, Ravi was fired on 7 June this year after having started work last October.
Eugene Thuraisingam told Yahoo Singapore that Ravi was fired for being unmanageable and rude to the firm’s staff. The firm had initially hired Ravi as it wanted to help the lawyer, who was unemployed due to his debarment. It added that it is the sole tenant of the premises.
This is not Ravi’s first brush with the law. The lawyer, who was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2006, was convicted on four charges of misconduct last October.
Ravi was told by the Law Society of Singapore (LawSoc) to cease practising in 2015 due to his worsening mental condition. He caused a ruckus at LawSoc’s premises a few hours after LawSoc made the order. The lawyer challenged LawSoc’s order in the High Court but lost the case last year and was barred from practice for two years.
Lai will also be contesting the charge. Both Ravi and Lai, who were unrepresented by lawyers, will be in court for a pretrial conference set for 7 July.
Both men were allowed a $5,000 bail each with the condition that they do not return to the law firm until the conclusion of the case. Both were also ordered by the district judge not to discuss the case publicly.
If convicted of criminal trespass, Ravi and Lai both face a maximum jail term of three months and/or a fine of $1,500.