M. Ravi admits to assaulting lawyer Jeannette Chong-Aruldoss

Human rights activist Ravi Madasamy, 48, admitted in court on Monday that he had assaulted lawyer and opposition politician, Mrs Jeannette Chong-Aruldoss, in August.
Human rights activist Ravi Madasamy, 48, admitted in court on Monday that he had assaulted lawyer and opposition politician, Mrs Jeannette Chong-Aruldoss, in August. ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

SINGAPORE - Lawyer and human rights activist Ravi Madasamy, better known as M. Ravi, admitted in court on Monday (Nov 27) that he had assaulted fellow lawyer and opposition politician, Mrs Jeannette Chong-Aruldoss.

The 54-year-old fell to the ground when Ravi shoved her in a seventh-storey corridor in The Adelphi at around 11am on Aug 8. The attack left her with a bruised right hip.

Ravi pleaded guilty to causing hurt to a second lawyer, Mr Nakoorsha Abdul Kadir, 42, by performing a rash act at the same spot minutes later.

Ravi, a non-practising lawyer who has been barred from applying for a practising certificate for two years since October last year, also admitted to breaking into one of the offices of the Eugene Thuraisingam law firm on the fifth storey of People's Park Centre on June 27.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Sarah Ong said the law firm employed Ravi late last year and he worked in its People's Park Centre office.

But he was terminated and was told in a hand-delivered letter that he had to vacate the premises by June 16. Court papers did not reveal the reason for his termination.

According to court documents, Ravi broke into the office with his friend, Lai Yew Thiam, 56, whose case is still pending.

They broke into the office on June 17 and 23 even after Ravi was told to vacate the premises.

The police were notified on both occasions and representatives from the firm told the pair that they were not welcome there. The law firm also changed the locks and hired a contractor to secure its shutter with screws.

Undeterred, the duo went to the office on June 27 armed with a screwdriver. Lai used the tool to remove the screws and they entered the premises.

On Aug 8, Ravi went to the Eugene Thuraisingam law firm's other office at The Adelphi and demanded to be allowed inside.

He was accompanied by three other men working for an organisation which he had earlier founded, known as the Lawyers Alliance for Human Rights Asia.

Ravi's party were not allowed to enter and as they were walking away, they met Mrs Chong-Aruldoss who works at the firm.

DPP Ong said: "Ravi stopped Jeannette abruptly and began questioning her aggressively... When Jeannette tried to walk away, Ravi forcefully pushed her, charged towards her and pushed her again. As a result, Jeannette stumbled backwards and fell onto the ground on the right side of her body.

"While Jeannette was on the ground, Ravi kicked and flung Jeannette's belongings, which were scattered on the ground, and also threw a shoe in Jeannette's direction while mocking her for being 'drama'."

When her colleague, Mr Nakoorsha, stepped in, Ravi picked up her handbag and flung it at his face.

Ravi's defence lawyer, Mr Shashi Nathan, told District Judge Brenda Tan that Ravi is well known for "championing the constitutional and human rights of his clients".

He also said that Ravi was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2006 and has been taking his medication following his arrest this August.

As he stood in the dock, Ravi told Judge Tan he was "mortified" by his own behaviour.

He said: "For those who know me in private and in public... those actions were totally out of character."

Judge Tan has called for a report to access his suitability for a mandatory treatment order.

Under this, offenders have to undergo treatment in lieu of jail time. But the order can be revoked if they re-offend or fail to comply with the conditions of their treatment.

Ravi is now out on $20,000 bail and will be back in court on Jan 5.

Four other charges, including two of committing public nuisance at the Sri Mariamman Temple earlier this year, will be taken into consideration during his sentencing.