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M. Ravi ordered to undergo 18-month mental treatment after assault on fellow lawyer

SINGAPORE — In lieu of a jail term, non-practising lawyer M Ravi has been ordered to go through an 18-month mandatory treatment for his bipolar disorder, which caused him to assault ex-colleague and opposition politician Jeannette Chong-Aruldoss, among other charges.

Under the order issued by District Judge Brenda Tan on Friday (Jan 5), M. Ravi, 48, will have to attend psychological sessions at the Institute of Mental Health.TODAY file photo

Under the order issued by District Judge Brenda Tan on Friday (Jan 5), M. Ravi, 48, will have to attend psychological sessions at the Institute of Mental Health.TODAY file photo

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SINGAPORE — In lieu of a jail term, non-practising lawyer M Ravi has been ordered to go through an 18-month mandatory treatment for his bipolar disorder, which caused him to assault ex-colleague and opposition politician Jeannette Chong-Aruldoss, among other charges.

Under the order issued by District Judge Brenda Tan on Friday (Jan 5), Ravi, 48, will have to undergo a blood test to determine his medication level as and when required, and attend psychological sessions at the Institute of Mental Health (IMH).

Ravi, who was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2006, will also have to agree to have his private psychiatrist, Mr Munidasa Winslow, share information with the IMH team.

Taking into consideration his other charges – including two of committing public nuisance at Chinatown’s Sri Mariamman Temple last year – Judge Tan imposed two additional conditions. They include him not creating a nuisance or causing harassment at religious institutions, or posting video casts of himself on social media except for professional or commercial purposes.

For assault, Ravi could have been jailed for up to two years and fined up to S$5,000. The mandatory treatment order Judge Tan gave is a community-based sentencing option where offenders undergo mental health treatment. It can be revoked if Ravi fails to comply with the conditions of his treatment. 

Speaking to reporters after his sentencing, Ravi said it is a “fair resolution”, which he hopes will help him get back on his feet.

“I just hope that… I can move forward with my career as well as my good relationships that I’ve always enjoyed with others,” he said, adding that he has just started work at Carson Law Chambers, which is led by former National Solidarity Party Secretary General Lim Tean, as its head of knowledge management and strategic alliance. 

When he was convicted last November, Ravi offered a public apology to Mrs Chong-Aruldoss and Mr Nakoorsha Abdul Kadir for lashing out at them on Aug 8. That took place about two months after he was fired from law firm Eugene Thuraisingam LLP as its head of knowledge management and strategic alliance in June.

He was accompanied by three individuals from the Lawyers Alliance for Human Rights Asia, which he founded, when he attempted to enter the firm's main office at The Adelphi.

As they were leaving after an encounter with Mr Nakoorsha, 42, Ravi's party bumped into Mrs Chong-Aruldoss, who works at the firm at the corridor, and started questioning her aggressively.

Ravi then shoved the 54-year-old, causing her to fall and suffer a bruised right hip. A video clip of the encounter was shown in court.

Ravi also struck Mr Nakoorsha's face with Mrs Chong-Aruldoss' handbag when the latter tried to intervene upon hearing the commotion.

On Friday, Ravi related that what happened that day “must have been very distressful for them”. He added: “It is also quite hurtful for me to know that I’ve hurt them – people who were quite close to me, and cared for me.”

In November, he told Judge Tan that he was "mortified" by his own behaviour, Ravi said his actions were "totally out of character" to those who knew him.

In seeking a lighter sentence for his client, defence lawyer Shashi Nathan had said Ravi was not prone to "violent tendencies", but was suffering the "biggest blow" to his life after he was suspended from practising law for two years from October 2016 following four instances of misconduct induced by his mental condition.

Mr Nathan added that Ravi had made "tremendous improvement" in his mental health by seeking treatment and "removing unhelpful persons from his life".

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