Melbourne: Indian-origin doctor Jayant Patel, facing a series of charges of manslaughter and fraud, would now walk free after an Australian court today sentenced him to two years in jail, wholly suspended.
Brisbane District Court judge Terry Martin sentenced 63-year-old Patel to two years of imprisonment to be wholly suspended, according to media reports here.
Last Friday, Patel, now a US citizen, pleaded guilty to two counts related to him dishonestly gaining registration and two counts related to dishonestly gaining employment.
In the court, Martin told Patel "you calculatedly deceived your way into that position" at Bundaberg hospital.
He said Patel`s unlawful conduct put patients at risk.
"I see no indication of, and hear no expression of, your genuine remorse for your offending," the judge said.
The court was informed that Patel has already spent 788 days in custody, plus 131 days during the extradition process.
Martin further said he took into account the two-and-a-half years Patel has already spent in jail for the charges overturned by the High Court.
The judge also noted that the ruling brought to an end a lengthy and tragic period in the state`s medical history.
The seven year-long trial of Patel has cost the country a whopping 3.5 million dollars.
Last week, Queensland`s Director of Public Prosecutions dropped?all criminal medical negligence charges against him, ending his long-running legal woes.
Patel thanked his legal team and said he was looking forward to returning to his family and work in the US.
"This has been a long and very difficult journey," he said, adding "I`m pleased that it`s over and I`ll be going back to my life and my work. And in this season of giving thanks I would like to thank to my legal team for the exceptional work they`ve done.
"I would like to thank the hundreds of well-wishers that I don`t even know, who stopped me in the street, gave me words of encouragement and wished me well.
"Finally I would like to thank all my friends and family for their selfless and unconditional love and support."
Patel`s defence had asked for a two-year head sentence, wholly suspended during the proceedings.
Doctor`s lawyer Ken Fleming informed the court that Patel`s "life has been very difficult since these matters came to public attention".
He said Patel had been living in Australia for more than five years in isolation and his leading role in helping with tilt train disaster and contribution through teaching and that he "worked exceedingly hard in his position in Bundaberg".
Martin told the defence it was "minimising the seriousness of this".
"Patel sought out a job in surgery to which he was not entitled through incompetence," Martin said, adding "Patel had very good reason to work hard because if he lost that job, he couldn`t get another job without deception."
Crown lawyer Peter Davis asked the court for Patel to be returned to America "in a very, very short period of time".
The prosecutor had sought a four-year head sentence for Patel for fraud convictions.