Sydney, Mar 12 : Dr Jayant Patel of India origin, who has been nicknamed as Dr Death for botching surgeries which resulted in dozens of deaths at Bundaberg Base Hospital in Australia, has reportedly been remanded to two-day custody. He appeared in a US court yesterday.
During the hearing, Patel remained expressionless as he sat hunched over beside his lawyer in the US Federal Court in Portland this afternoon. He spoke briefly during the hearing, answering only three questions from the Magistrate. When asked if he had a chance to review the extradition papers, he said, "just briefly now".
When asked whether he wanted an attorney, he said, "yes", and when the judge asked Patel if he could afford a lawyer, he replied "most likely not".
At the hearing, Patel was accompanied by his wife Kishoree and friend Shantu Shah.
Mrs Patel, who is also a doctor, ran to avoid photographers and camera crews as she exited the court with her husband's lawyer Susan Russell, who is from the federal public defenders office, and a female friend. She refused to speak to the media.
While leaving the court, Shah loudly defended his friend, describing him as "innocent". "The charges are unfounded. He will have his day in court," the news.com.au quoted him as saying.
Patel's lawyer tried to move the bail application, but the Magistrate fixed the date two days after, indicating that he would not be granting the bail request. "The Government says not being a flight risk is not a reason for release," said the Magistrate.
Now, how long it might take for the doctor to return to Australia could depend on whether he appeals an extradition order. It was not clear during today's brief hearing whether Patel and his legal representatives planned to fight extradition.
The court currently hearing the case is learnt to have set an extradition hearing for April 10.