Ravi fit to practise law, says doctor

SINGAPORE - Lawyer M. Ravi has been declared fit to practise law by a veteran psychiatrist, in the latest development of the ongoing legal dispute between him and the Law Society.

Senior consultant psychiatrist Munidasa Winslow stated this in a new report which the Law Society said last night it would consider.

Earlier yesterday, the report was presented at a closed-door hearing at the High Court.

In it, Dr Winslow said he had examined Mr Ravi, who has bipolar disorder, six times between July and October. The last was on Wednesday and he found the lawyer in a normal and stable mood.

Also, Mr Ravi's bipolar disorder appears to be in remission, and there was no evidence of pressure of speech or any mood swings, said Dr Winslow.

"He is currently fit to practise law and his illness is not affecting his professional capacity," he said.

As a result of the report, the in-chamber hearing was adjourned to Nov 5, a move the Law Society said would enable it "to meet Dr Winslow and discuss his latest report".

The hearing was held to decide on the Law Society's August application for a court order requiring Mr Ravi to see a psychiatrist to ascertain if he was still fit to practise as a solicitor.

Mr Ravi had told the media then that it was unnecessary as he had been examined by a psychiatrist and a report dated Aug 8 was submitted to the Law Society.

The report, also by Dr Winslow, said he was not an imminent danger to himself or others, and compliance with a treatment plan and medication would have to be voluntary.

But this earlier report did not state that Mr Ravi was fit to practise law, noted the society in its statement.

"The absence of such an opinion and other circumstances required the Law Society to take out the Section 25C application it did on 14 August 2012," it added.

Section 25C of the Legal Profession Act states that if the Attorney-General or the Law Society's council believes a lawyer may be unfit to practise, they can apply for a court order for the lawyer to be medically examined.

The dispute between the two parties centres on an incident in July when one of the society's officials, Mr Wong Siew Hong, appeared in the High Court with a letter from psychiatrist Calvin Fones, saying Mr Ravi was unfit to practise because of his bipolar disorder.

Mr Ravi is suing the society and Mr Wong for defamation.

He is also applying for the society's 21-member council to be removed.

The pre-trial conferences for both suits are scheduled for Oct 18.

twong@sph.com.sg


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