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Lawyer M Ravi suspended until certified fit to practise by approved psychiatrist: High Court

SINGAPORE — The High Court has ordered lawyer Ravi Madasamy’s suspension until he is certified fit to practise by an approved psychiatrist.

Lawyer M Ravi. TODAY file photo

Lawyer M Ravi. TODAY file photo

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SINGAPORE — The High Court has ordered lawyer Ravi Madasamy’s suspension until he is certified fit to practise by an approved psychiatrist.

The decision by Justice Quentin Loh was issued in a closed-door hearing today (Feb 26), after the Law Society sought a court order for Mr Ravi to submit to a medical examination. The society had on Feb 10 suspended the lawyer until he was certified fit by a psychiatrist to practise. It had to make a court application or, under the Legal Profession Act, the suspension would be lifted.

Mr Ravi was previously diagnosed with bipolar disorder and the society was informed this month that his psychiatrist, Dr Munidasa Winslow, had diagnosed him as being hypomanic. Hypomania is part of bipolar disorder and characterised by a distinct period of elevated or irritable mood.

The hearing took place over two days and the Law Society, which regulates the legal profession, was represented by Mr Pradeep Pillai of Shook Lin & Bok. In a statement issued after Justice Loh’s decision, the society said the judge found that it had acted reasonably, with good grounds, to direct Mr Ravi to stop practising. The judge was satisfied that Mr Ravi’s fitness to practise has been impaired by his medical condition.

Should Mr Ravi, 45, wish to apply to lift the suspension, he will need a medical report from Dr Winslow or another psychiatrist approved by the Law Society, to certify he is fit to practise, the society said.

“In this case, the Court was satisfied this was an appropriate case for an order for suspension. The Law Society hopes that Mr Ravi will take this opportunity to seek the appropriate treatment with a view to making a recovery before seeking to resume practice,” said the society.

Speaking to reporters after the hearing, Mr Ravi called his suspension “indiscriminate, unfair, discriminatory and politically motivated”, alleging that the society’s actions began when he announced his intention to contest in Ang Mo Kio group representation constituency in the next General Election. The society’s president Thio Shen Yi has previously said it does not hinder or assist any political ambitions practising lawyers may have.

Mr Ravi said he would see Dr Winslow on March 5 when the latter returned from overseas, and pursue a judicial review to quash his suspension by the Law Society and the High Court.

Later in the evening, however, Mr Ravi issued a more muted response via email. He said: “I am concerned by the suspension as it means my clients are deprived of my legal assistance. Some of them have no prospects of obtaining other legal representation either due to lack of means or the nature of their case.”

He continued: “The only thing I can do is use the suspension as a compulsory rest.

“It is then for me to provide the Court with a clean bill of health from a physician as soon as possible. In the meantime I am making every effort to arrange interim locum care for my clients.”

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