Little India riot: AGC seeks costs from lawyer over application to quash clients' charges

SINGAPORE - The Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC) has asked the High Court to order lawyer M. Ravi to pay $1,000 in costs incurred over his application related to the Little India riot on Dec 8 last year.

This is the first time it has sought a cost order against a lawyer in his personal capcity.

Mr Ravi had applied on April 26 for criminal charges against five of his clients implicated in the riot to be quashed, saying the Committee of Inquiry (COI) hearing into the incident that closed a month earlier had "offended the rule of sub judice" and prejudiced the possibility of a fair trial for his clients.

He withdrew this after the AGC, in response, filed its own application to have the move struck out. The AGC then withdrew its application.

Arguing in court for the order to be made, the AGC on Friday called Mr Ravi's move a "vexatious attempt to harrass the opponent" that had caused it to incur "unnecessary costs".

Citing a letter the lawyer had written to the COI secretariat that requested his clients be allowed to testify at the inquiry, Deputy Public Prosecutor Hui Choon Kuen said: "Mr Ravi had sought to do the very thing he has complained about."

The DPP also highlighted statements Mr Ravi had earlier made to the Indian press. These queried the merits of the cases against his clients.

Representing Mr Ravi, lawyer Eugene Thuraisingam countered that his client had acted in good faith. Mr Ravi had withdrawn the application to spare both sides the time and effort after realising his case might have been weaker than he earlier thought, Mr Thuraisingam said.

Mr Ravi's five clients are Arun Kaliamurthy, Rajendran Mohan, Ravi Arun Vengatesh, Selvanathan Murugaeson and Periyaiah Ganesan. All have claimed trial to various charges.

Judicial Commissioner Tan Siong Thye reserved his decision to a later date.