Australia: Dr Death loses manslaughter appeal
Melbourne: Indian-origin surgeon Jayant Patel jailed over fatally bungled surgeries on Thursday lost an appeal against his conviction in an Australian court, with the
judge observing that "the case could hardly be more grave".
The Court of Appeal in Brisbane by a unanimous decision rejected Patel`s appeal against his sentence and also turned down a plea by the Queensland Attorney-General to increase his seven-year sentence.
60-year-old Patel labelled "Dr Death" by Australian media was not present in court for the announcement. He was convicted of bungled surgeries at Queensland Bundaberg Base hospital and sentenced to seven years in jail - of which he
must serve three-and-a-half years.
According to reports, Patel`s lawyer Kerry Smith-Douglas said her client would be disappointed and his legal team would discuss whether to launch a High Court appeal.
She would be in touch with Patel, who is in Arthur Gorrie Correctional Centre, to pass on the news.
"He`s going to be very disappointed, as I am," she said, adding "He`s holding up very well, he`s a strong character and a decent man."
Following his conviction in July last year, six barristers had been involved in Patel`s bid to appeal his three convictions for the manslaughter of James Phillips,
Gerry Kemps and Mervyn Morris, who died following surgery performed by him at the Bundaberg Base Hospital between 2003 and 2005.
At an appeal hearing last month, Patel also fought against his conviction for grievous bodily harm of Ian Vowles, whose healthy bowel he removed in October 2004.
His lawyer claimed his trial was unfair and a miscarriage of justice had occurred and also argued his seven-year sentence was manifestally excessive.
However, lawyers for Queensland Attorney-General argued Patel`s sentence was not long enough.
They wanted his seven-year sentence replaced with a 10-year term with a declaration he is a serious violent offender, which means he would have been made to serve 80 percent of his sentence.
In a 60-page judgment handed down this morning, Court of Appeal judges ruled against both sides, saying Patel`s sentence was fair.
"In our view, the sentence imposed properly balances the exacerbating and mitigating features of this unique case," they wrote.
"It was not manifestally excessive. The judge made no error."
In dismissing the Attorney-General`s appeal, judges said they were not persuaded arguments had demonstrated any judicial error in the sentencing process.
They said the case was "notorious" and been a difficult matter for the courts as there were no other cases quite like it.
"There are no decisions of this court, or indeed other comparable jurisdictions, which are close to the unusual matrix of circumstances pertaining to this notorious case," the judges wrote.
Justices Margaret McMurdo, John Muir and Hugh Fraser reflected on the seriousness of Patel`s offences.
"Serious medical criminal negligence like that of which the appellant has been convicted is not easy to investigate or prove," they wrote.
"Its effect on its immediate victims could hardly be more grave.
"The lives of three manslaughter victims...were tragically cut short and the quality of Mr Vowles` life was irrevocably and seriously diminished.
"But the effect of the appellant`s offending is broader...it had the potential to undermine the Queensland public`s confidence in its hospital system.
"For these reasons, the (trial judge) was right to recognise that an important purpose in sentencing the appellant was to make it clear to the community, acting
through the courts, denounced his conduct."
Judges noted Patel`s time in prison would be more difficult due to his notoriety.
"His professional career is in tatters. His reputation has been destroyed," they wrote.
Download the all new Zee News app for Android and iOS to stay up to date with latest headlines and news stories in Politics, Entertainment, Sports, Technology, Business and much more from India and around the world.
More from India
More from World
More from Sports
More from Entertaiment
- DNA: Exiled Kashmiri Pandits share their heart wrenching stories
- Basic ideals of Constitution are in danger: Sonia Gandhi
- PM Modi greets nation on occasion of first Constitution Day
- Manjula Vaghela's journey: From rag picker to head of a firm with Rs 1 cr turnover!
- Indian Army faces shortage of field firing ranges in J&K
- Woman commits suicide after heated discussion with husband over Aamir Khan's intolerance remark
- Eat smart to slow down ageing and increase longevity!
- Intolerance issue: Those attacking me are only proving my point, says Aamir Khan – Read full statement
- Setback to Kejriwal-led AAP as MLA Akhilesh Tripathi arrested in riot case
- 10 interesting facts about Constitution which every Indian must know