PIO lawyer of Indian-origin Malaysian death-row convict in Singapore told to stop practice due to bipolar disorder: Report

PTI | Singapore | Updated: 04-12-2021 11:08 IST | Created: 04-12-2021 10:33 IST
PIO lawyer of Indian-origin Malaysian death-row convict in Singapore told to stop practice due to bipolar disorder: Report
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An Indian-origin human rights lawyer in Singapore, who is representing a Malaysian death-row convict of Indian descent, will have to stop practicing law for six weeks after receiving a medical certificate from his attending psychiatrist for bipolar disorder, according to a media report.

The Law Society of Singapore (LawSoc) on Friday said this is a safeguard in M Ravi's conditional practicing certificate, which was granted to him in 2019, The Straits Times newspaper reported.

The society noted that the Medical Certificate (MC) was dated from December 2 to January 13 next year, both dates included.

Among the conditions of his practicing certificate, Ravi has to stop practicing law if his attending psychiatrist prescribes at least three days of medical leave within any period of 14 calendar days, the report said.

LawSoc President Gregory Vijayendran said in a statement: ''In the light of the attending psychiatrist's prescription of lengthy medical leave, Mr. Ravi had to stop practicing law.

''This is a vital safeguard in Mr. M. Ravi's conditional practicing certificate to protect the interests of the public, the legal profession, and the administration of justice.'' Ravi's latest high-profile cases include securing a stay order on the execution of Indian-origin Malaysian drug trafficker, Nagaenthran K Dharmalingam, who had tested positive for COVID-19 on November 9, a day before scheduled hanging at Singapore's Changi Prison for drug trafficking in 2009.

Nagaenthran, arrested at the age of 21 with a bundle of heroin strapped to his thigh 12 years ago, is seeking to challenge his execution, contending he has the mental age of a person below 18.

The 33-year-old has argued that the execution of intellectually disabled persons is prohibited under customary international law as this amounted to inhuman punishment.

He has also claimed the Singapore Prison Service (SPS) has an internal policy not to execute convicts who are mentally disabled. But the SPS has refuted the claim. The case has drawn the attention of international human rights groups.

Senior Counsel Vijayendran wished Ravi a ''full and speedy recuperation'' and urged him to ''use this respite as a time for reflection''.

On Tuesday, Ravi was ordered to personally pay 10,000 Singapore dollars (USD 7,285) in costs for a civil case he brought on behalf of 13 inmates, but which he withdrew at the start of the hearing.

The application, to start judicial review proceedings against the Attorney-General, was filed in the names of the prisoners who had copies of their personal letters forwarded by prison officials to the Attorney-General's Chambers.

Justice Ang Cheng Hock said that Ravi's conduct in the application was wholly unmeritorious and ''entirely devoid of legal foundation''.

On November 22, the first day of a trial brought by public bus drivers against bus operator SBS Transit, Ravi accused the judge of being biased and demanded that she disqualify herself from hearing the case, the report said.

He had also called SBS' lawyer, Senior Counsel Davinder Singh, a ''clown'' while they were discussing administrative matters, it said.

Ravi was barred in 2016 from applying for a practicing certificate for two years, with the High Court saying that his mental condition has caused him to conduct himself ''deplorably in relation to the judiciary, his clients, and the profession as a whole''.

He returned to law practice in 2019 and worked to represent death row inmates.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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