The Straits Times today (5 Dec) published an article titled, ‘Law Soc chief happy to pass on baton‘ which is largely an interview with outgoing Law Society President Thio Shien Yi. The report quoted Mr Thio (referring to the disciplinary actions taken against human rights advocate M Ravi) as saying, his case caused a “lot of mess” but the Law Society came out of it almost unscathed because people realised that the Law Society was prepared to be tough in a rational and fair way, look at the big picture and the profession’s interest.
The ST report then went on to describe Mr Ravi as being:
“suspended for two years by the Court of Three Judges in September after admitting to four charges, which included creating a ruckus at the Law Society premises on Feb 10 last year. He was suspended to safeguard the public interest, given that his condition caused him to act in a manner unbecoming of a lawyer.”
Mr Ravi as well as Ms Teo Soh Lung (a non practicing lawyer) have taken ST to task for reporting that he is a ‘suspended’ lawyer. In writing to the ST reporter about the glaring error in the article (which this publication has seen), Mr Ravi said: “Please correct your reference to me as being suspended. I was prohibited from applying for a practicing certificate for 2 (years) not suspended.”
Mr Ravi pointed out that if he was suspended, he can’t even work in a law firm without applying to court for clearance.
Ms Teo in writing to the same reporter also pointed out that Mr Ravi was not ‘suspended’ and urged ST to correct the “malicious error” immediately.
We understand that ST has replied to both Mr Ravi and Ms Teo to acknowledge receiving their emails and to say that they are “looking into this”. The reporter further said that he is “not sure how the suggestion of maliciousness came about.”
In the ST article, Mr Thio referred to Mr Ravi as ‘a “pretty decent lawyer” when he is on his medication and not in his bipolar state, taking on difficult cases which advance the law.”In our kind of system, he can take a position, and somebody will oppose that position, and out of that thesis and antithesis we hope to get some sort of synthesis which moves us forward. So it’s not entirely a bad thing.”‘