Armed robber on $70k bail disappears during court break
He turned up in court yesterday expecting to be sentenced, but Visvanathan Vadivelu, 50, disappeared when the court stood down for a while.
A warrant of arrest has been issued for the man who had earlier pleaded guilty to armed robbery at a Shell petrol station in Upper Bukit Timah Road in July 2017.
He had also pleaded guilty last month to drug consumption and drug possession.
Out on $70,000 bail, Visvananthan turned up at the courtroom at about 4pm yesterday, he asked for his plea on three of his charges to be retracted.
"I believe I am not strongly responsible for what I had done," he told the court.
When District Judge Kan Shuk Weng asked for the reason for his demands, Visvananthan said he had only agreed to plead guilty to possession of drugs, and had misunderstood what his lawyer had told him. He had discharged his lawyer, Mr A. Revi Shanker, on Monday.
Visvanathan also claimed that he was mentally ill, but his lawyer was "not interested" in what he had to say.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Chong Yong urged the court not to give in to Visvanathan's demands and said he was abusing court procedures, as the case had been dragging on since 2017.
But Judge Kan called for a short stand down while DPP Chong tried to contact Mr Revi.
When Mr Revi turned up in the courtroom about 15 minutes later, Visvanathan was nowhere to be found. A warrant of arrest was then issued.
To conceal his identity during the robbery, Visvanathan had used grey masking tape to cover part of his motorcycle's rear registration plate and put on a jacket, a pair of gloves, and sunglasses.
He waited till the petrol kiosk was empty before approaching the cashier, pointing a knife at her and fleeing with about $1,100 in cash.
Visvanathan also faced drug-related charges.
Urine samples collected from him after his arrest for drug-related offences in September 2017 were found to contain heroin and methamphetamine, which he admitted to consuming since June 2017.
Offenders convicted of armed robbery can be jailed for up to 10 years and given at least 12 strokes of the cane.