Aus prosecution undecided on Jayant Patel manslaughter charges

Last Updated: Friday, April 19, 2013 - 13:46

Melbourne: Uncertainty still looms over the fate of Indian-origin surgeon Jayant Patel who would now stand trial for the manslaughter of two his Australian patients almost a decade ago after being acquitted in one such charge.

Patel was charged manslaughter related to patients - Gerry Kemps (77) and James Phillips (46) and with causing grievous bodily harm to Ian Rodney Vowles and Darcy Blight.

The 63-year-old doctor was also charged on seven counts of fraud plus attempted fraud at Bundaberg between December 2002 and April 2005.

A Supreme Court jury recently found Patel not guilty of unlawfully killing patient Mervyn Morris at the Bundaberg Base Hospital in 2003, after a retrial.

Following the judgement, Patel`s lawyers applied to Queensland`s Department of Public Prosecution (DPP) to have all remaining charges - including the manslaughters, a grievous bodily harm offence and fraud charges - dropped.

According to an AAP report today, the DPP has given no clear indication if it would proceed with two outstanding manslaughter charges or several counts of fraud after the defence`s submission.

The prosecution told the court today that the defence will make an application to move the trial to the District Court, but no trial date has been set.

There was no indication from prosecution if it would proceed with two outstanding manslaughter charges or several counts of fraud.

Patel`s barrister Ken Fleming was quoted as saying that the uncertainty was putting enormous strain on his client.

"He`s been what five, eight years now and if he gets his next trial in September and then they run trials after that, every six months or so, he`ll be here for a long time to come," Fleming said.

A review of the case will be heard in a week.

However, the court was told by prosecutor David Meredith that the DPP`s office had received the defence submission but would be proceeding with the grievous bodily harm trial.

He said prosecutors had decided to proceed "at least at the moment" in the matter of Rodney Vowles, who the Crown alleges had his colon wrongly removed by Patel in October 2004.

Fleming told the Supreme Court in Brisbane that he would seek to have the jury panel quizzed about prior knowledge and possible bias against Patel, who has been the subject of significant publicity since his arrest.

If allowed, the polling is expected to take the form of a written questionnaire, followed by clarification of any answers in open court. Similar process was applied to the Jury members in Patel`s trial earlier this year over the death of Morris.

PTI



First Published: Friday, April 19, 2013 - 13:46

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