Attorney M Ravi suspended for a maximum of 5 years for baseless allegations against AGC, Law Society

SINGAPORE: The three-judge court on Tuesday (March 21) imposed a five-year suspension on attorney M Ravi, the maximum penalty for attorney misconduct.

This was because of “serious and unfounded allegations of improper conduct” against the Attorney General, officials of the Attorney General Chambers and the Law Society (LawSoc).

In a decision by Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon, the court said no lawyer should be allowed “recklessly and without cause to undermine the fundamental pillars of the legal system in which he practices”.

Mr. Ravi, whose full name is Ravi Madasamy, has been a lawyer for 20 years. He has made headlines several times for his behavior and for representing death row inmates.

This series of proceedings grew out of an interview Mr Ravi, 53, gave to The Online Citizen about the case he was handling for drug mule Gobi Avedian.

In the interview he gave before the high court after successfully helping his client escape the gallows, Mr Ravi claimed that the prosecutor was “overzealous in his prosecution and this resulted in Gobi’s death sentence”.

He also called on the state, prosecutors and the justice minister to apologize to Gobi, saying the fairness of the prosecution “has been called into question by the court itself.”

AGC later sent Mr. Ravi a letter asking him to apologize and withdraw the allegations, but Mr. Ravi posted the letter on social media instead.

In his Facebook post, he said he was “entitled to my criticism of the injustice associated with the miscarriage of justice.”

He also said he would initiate legal proceedings against the AG and others on behalf of Gobi.

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He added that he would also take action against the Bar Association if it “does not do its part to protect lawyers and the independence of the profession” or engage in “AG harassment.”

The court noted that this is not the first time Mr. Ravi has committed such disciplinary offences.

In 2007, he was suspended from court for a year for disrespect and rudeness to a district judge.

In 2012, he was fined S$3,000 for making allegations against a Supreme Court judge, including allegations of racial prejudice.

In 2016, he made baseless allegations against a fellow lawyer and against the President of the Bar Association. On that occasion, the court assessed Mr. Ravi’s mental condition and banned him from applying for a professional license for two years.

In 2020, he was found guilty of misconduct for making allegations against an assistant district attorney and a district judge. The disciplinary court noted his remorse and recommended a minimum fine of S$10,000.

While Mr. Ravi’s bipolar disorder was considered in the 2012 and 2016 cases, in the 2020 or current case it “was no longer a live consideration,” the court said.

There is no evidence that his condition contributed to his wrongdoing in this case, the chief justice said.

At the time of the misconduct, Mr. Ravi was practicing under a conditional license that required him to attend regular medical appointments to assess his fitness to work.

Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon said Mr Ravi did not apologize for his misconduct at the hearing but instead appeared to be doubling down on his allegations against LawSoc and the AG.

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He further added that LawSoc was “complimentary” in the AG’s harassment.

Chief Justice Menon said the overall tenor of Mr Ravi’s arguments made it clear that he saw himself as a victim of what he saw as a “dishonorable system” that tolerated “the AG’s improper abuse of the prosecution.”

“Within that allegedly unjust and oppressive system, Mr. Ravi presented himself as simply ‘zealous’ … (his) cause (and) the oath (which he) took to the rule of law,” Chief Justice Menon said.

He said the court did not consider it necessary under the circumstances to remove Mr Ravi from the list of attorneys and solicitors.

But he said the court found that imposing less than the current maximum length of suspension would be insufficient to address the “continued threat” Mr Ravi posed to public confidence in the administration of justice in Singapore by his “unfounded and morbid conceived attacks”.