India-born American surgeon Jayant Patel who was recently freed from jail after an Australian High Court quashed his convictions of manslaughter and grievous bodily harm to his patients, will face another trial.
Patel, 62, was charged and convicted two years ago on three counts of manslaughter and one count of grievous bodily harm to his patients at the Bundaberg Hospital in Queensland.
Last week, an Australian High Court quashed his convictions of manslaughter of three patients.
According to The Age report, Director of Public Prosecutions Tony Moynihan today confirmed he would pursue another trial against Patel.
“I have carefully considered the judgment and I am satisfied that, on the admissible evidence, there are reasonable prospects of a conviction and it is in the public interest to proceed with a new trial,” Moynihan said in a statement.
“The charges have to be tried separately. Peter Davis, SC, who prosecuted the matter in the High Court, will continue to appear for the Crown,” he added.
“As the matter is before the court, it is inappropriate for me to make any further comment,” he said.
Supporters of Bundaberg Hospital where Patel was working as surgeon backed the decision.
Bundaberg Hospital Patients Support Group president Beryl Crosby said, “I know there is going to be mixed feelings but at the end of the day we have to support that decision and I just hope there is support out there for the patients and people who have to go back through this again,” she said.
However, she also commented that she was “torn” by the decision of the retrial of Patel, who had been referred by the Australian media as Dr Death.
“A lot of people need this to happen for justice, at the same time my heart was saying, “how are they are going to go through all the trauma again?,” she said.
“Now we have to try and support everybody through that process and make sure that these people do get emotional help as well as everything else,” Crosby said.
“I hope that this is done (as quickly as possible). This is going to be a long process at the end of the day and no matter what length it takes, it is going to take its emotional toll and there is nothing we can do but try and support people through this process,” she added.
Patel, who is a US-trained surgeon, had pleaded not guilty in 2010 to the manslaughter of three patients — James Phillips, 46; Gerry Kemps, 77; and Mervyn Morris, 75, who died following surgeries performed by him at Queensland’s Bundaberg Base Hospital between 2003 and 2005.
He had also pleaded not guilty to the grievous bodily harm of Ian Vowles, whose bowel he removed in October 2004.