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Singapore's highest disciplinary body for lawyers strikes Indian-origin advocate off the rolls

The decision to strike Ravi off the rolls came after the Law Society of Singapore (LawSoc) applied for him to be sanctioned over statements he made about then Singapore President Halimah Yacob, the appointments of two Singapore prime ministers and his conduct before a High Court judge.
Last Updated : 31 May 2024, 11:38 IST
Last Updated : 31 May 2024, 11:38 IST

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Singapore: An Indian-origin Singaporean advocate M Ravi was struck off the rolls on Friday after the Court of Three Judges, the highest disciplinary body for lawyers in Singapore, found that his 'improper conduct' has 'crossed the line' and was 'dishonest'.

The decision to strike him off the rolls came after the Law Society of Singapore (LawSoc) applied for Ravi to be sanctioned over statements he made about then Singapore President Halimah Yacob, the appointments of two Singapore prime ministers and his conduct before a High Court judge, the Channel News Asia reported on Friday.

In August 2020, Ravi wrote to then-President Halimah, alleging that the appointments of Goh Chok Tong and Lee Hsien Loong as prime ministers of Singapore were unconstitutional due to 'racial considerations'.

He posted videos on his Facebook pages and urged the public to make the same request of the president. When the President's Office replied to Ravi, he published her letter on his Facebook pages. The Attorney-General later complained about Ravi's conduct.

Ravi had more than 25 years' experience as a lawyer, with the court calling him "no stranger to disciplinary proceedings" for different types of improper conduct over the years.

This ranges from 'making baseless allegations' over key legal institutions, being disruptive in the courtroom and the improper handling of clients.

He had been found guilty on more than 10 occasions of improper conduct by the disciplinary tribunal of the LawSoc and was given sanctions ranging from monetary penalties to suspensions from practice.

Ravi is currently serving a five-year suspension beginning in March 2023.

The Court of Three Judges in its judgement said there had been no finding of dishonesty against Ravi in his previous disciplinary proceedings, but this time, he knowingly made false statements.

"In doing so, his improper conduct crossed the line, and his conduct was found to be dishonest," said Justice Steven Chong, delivering the verdict he made with Justice Tay Yong Kwang and Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon.

LawSoc pushed for Ravi to be struck off, arguing that he has 'character defects' and brought 'grave dishonour' to the legal profession.

In response, Ravi did not challenge the findings and said he was remorseful. He accepted that it was inappropriate for him to have made those statements or behaved the way he did.

He said that regardless of the outcome, he is 'committed to personal reflection and healing' and "endeavours to move past his mental health challenges and emerge stronger".

The court found that the appropriate sanction was struck off and ordered Ravi to pay costs of SGD20,000, with other costs and disbursements.

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Published 31 May 2024, 11:38 IST

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