Melbourne: The cost of prosecuting disgraced Indian-origin American surgeon Jayant Patel in Australia has crossed USD 3.3 million since his trial began in 2008.
The data obtained through Right to Information by the Sunshine Coast Daily newspaper show Patel has clocked up USD 40,875 in living costs, including USD 26,500 on accommodation, this year alone. In 2010, he spent USD 37,200 on living.
The jurors entrusted with the task of trying Patel have racked up almost USD 200,000 in expenses during his two trials, the newspaper reported today.
Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie said the Australian government had an obligation under Commonwealth law to accommodate Patel, who was extradited from the US to face criminal charges.
"Under section 146 of the Commonwealth Migration Act 1958, we are required to ensure satisfactory arrangements have been made for keeping a person in Australia for the purposes of criminal justice administration," he said.
63-year-old Patel, who was born in Jamnagar in Gujarat, was jailed in 2010 after a jury convicted him of unlawfully killing three patients and causing grievous bodily harm to another while a surgeon at Bundaberg hospital in southern Queensland.
The High Court quashed his conviction last year and Patel was released.
He faced a re-trial in February for the manslaughter of 75-year-old patient Mervyn Morris in 2004. He was found not guilty and will face trial next month for causing grievous bodily harm to another patient.
The report said, the cost of prosecuting Patel is set to rise with the Director of Public Prosecutions pushing ahead with Patel`s outstanding charges despite losing his manslaughter trial in February.