It’s true that this
buffoon man of pedigree political lineage sabo-ed M Ravi. While little brother, Philip Jeyaretnam, was beaming and adjusting his tie as he was being appointed to one of the most prestigious councils in this land, the older one with his tongue half-inch longer than necessary, cannot even help his friend by keeping his mental condition secret. This is how you payback the lawyer who is representing you for the IMF case.
Listen to his video…nice big long tongue with a lovely accent. Oh he must have endeared many women.
Despite the questionable antics of Law Society’s Wong Siew Hong to squirrel a letter written by M Ravi’s psychiatrist through the doors of justice, credit must be given to the judges who have asked for the matter to be heard in the chambers and away from public glare. Credit again to the judges for letting M Ravi continue his work as there has been no official application by either the Law Society nor the AGC to sanction M Ravi.
This much we are clear despite some quarters who are fond of spinning conspiracy theories in their free and not-so-free time, at least the judges were curiously excluded from any email chain that plotted this conspiracy. So potent were such suggestions that the self-proclaimed sane M Ravi was affected by it. “Speaking to TODAY, Mr Ravi insisted there was a “conspiracy” against him and that “they were just trying to block me from arguing the case”.”
Back to the case, the public wouldn’t have known about M Ravi’s recent condition nor the contents of the letter if Kenneth Jeyaretnam had not taken a photo of the psychiatrist letter and spread it on his twitter. If we look at Jeanette Chong Aruldoss’ account of the Hougang By-election trial, she had no clue what the Law Society representative was trying to do nor the contents of the letter.
While the AG was speaking, a lawyer representing the Law Society (whom I shall call “the LS lawyer”) entered the Court with a companion in tow. The LS lawyer wore the Court gown, thus indicating that he wanted to address the Court; his companion (whom I recognised to be an employee of the Law Society) was in long sleeved office shirt, no jacket. They stood conspicuously there at the side, between the AG and the Judge.
The LS lawyer held in his hand a transparent sheet protector containing a single piece of paper which looked like a letter. (I was expecting the LS lawyer to be holding on to some kind of court order document, but apparently not.) The AG stopped his presentation and said to the Judge something like he was agreeable “to yield” to the LS lawyer (i.e. let the LS lawyer address the Judge). But the Judge seemed to indicate to AG to finish his submission without interruption, so the AG continued speaking. As it was obviously awkward for the LS lawyer and his companion to remaining standing where they were, they then walked to sit down on available chairs. Soon, the Hearing ended and I left the Court. It was around 11am.
Mainstream newspapers like TODAY and Straits Times only reported about the contents of the letter because of KJ’s leak. They would have no details otherwise. And boy did they made every detail of that short letter known to all Singaporeans just to make sure they know that M Ravi has mental health issues.
KJ tweeted the photo sometime during lunch time on Monday but later removed it after realising that it was he who had broken doctor - patient confidentiality and not the doctor as many like Andrew Loh and Richard Wan believed. Why did KJ remove it?
When asked about this, Mr Ravi said there were conditions on how the doctor could divulge information of his medical evaluation and to whom. The doctor could only do so after he had examined him and after Mr Ravi had seen the report. Also, the report was to be made known only to his law firm partner, Ms Violet Netto, and Mr Ravi’s younger sister. Neither was informed of Dr Fones’ diagnosis before the letter was sent to the Law Society on Monday.
Sidetrack: Isn’t it interesting how ex-TOC editor would pen a story jointly with an editor from the old Temasek Review considering how both were somewhat at loggerheads with each other. There are no permanent enemies, only permanent interests? hehe. But they still didn’t pick up the fact that KJ leaked it!
Sadly, only the subservient ST picked up this crucial information of KJ leaking M Ravi’s psychiatric letter out on the internet when it should have been a private matter between M Ravi, the psychiatrist and Law Society. Quoting ST, “Dr Fones’ letter was posted on Twitter by Reform Party chief Kenneth Jeyaretnam. The online post was later removed, but by then, some websites had reposted it.”
With KJ taking the lead, TOC jumped on the bandwagon, and went on their own wild tangent and inaccurately reported that Law Society was applying for M Ravi to be struck off when there was no such move. At least they had decency to apologise…wonder if KJ had done the same to M Ravi?
And even Law Society had the decency to clarify that the psychiatrist was actually appointed by M Ravi instead of the Law Society. And just to add, it was M Ravi’s associate, Violet Netto, that asked him to visit the psychiatrist on Saturday, two days before the trial, as he was under much stress.
When contacted, a Law Society spokesperson confirmed that it received the letter from Dr Fones, who is a doctor “appointed by Mr M Ravi, and not the Law Society”.
The spokesperson said: “The Law Society informed the judge of the contents of the letter as it felt that it was in the public interest to do so, and as officers of the court. To be clear, there was no application whatsoever by the Law Society to in any way prevent Mr Ravi from appearing in court.”
The spokesperson said that the Law Society is “not in a position to comment on the contents of the letter, as this is a matter of a member’s confidential medical records”.
M Ravi has had a history of mental illness although that has not prevented him from specialising in death row inmates. He had reportedly been diagnosed since 2006 with bipolar disorder – which is punctuated by episodes of mania and depression – and was also suspended from practising for a year in 2006.
In 2008, he was charged – and subsequently fined – with disturbing a religious prayer session, using abusive language and causing mischief, and went into remand for three weeks at the Institute of Mental Health. After the incident, M Ravi was allowed by the court to practise under certain conditions, including that he has to see his psychiatrist periodically.
There is already a witness account of M Ravi disturbing prayers at the Sri Mariamman temple along South Bridge Rd on 15 July Sunday morning, one day after his visit to the psychiatrist and one day before his Hougang By-election trial. This was the same temple he created ruckus back in 2008.
In this swirl of leaked letter from the psychiatrist, conspiracy theories and accusations of madness, the pertinent questions remained: Why did KJ take a photo of the letter and posted it online? What motives did he have? To whom did the letter belong to? M Ravi? And did M Ravi let KJ take a photo knowing that he would upload it online?
I really hope M Ravi would take a break from work and make a full recovery soon. I am sure there are other pro-bono lawyers out there willing to represent Yong Vui Kong and others on death row. Singapore would be forever indebted to M Ravi if he indeed choose to go crazy practising law rather than take his medicine and rest. I hope his real friends, not those like KJ, can advise him honestly and not continue glorify him on pedestal so that he can be their poster boy.
Additional readings here and here. It seems like most agree that M Ravi can indeed suddenly get unstable and that the doctor is merely doing his duty although cannot deny the fact that Law Society cannot get their act together. Interesting posts here, click to enlarge: