Melbourne, Mar 19: Controversial Indian-born surgeon Dr Jayant Patel reportedly has millions of dollars that could help him to fight his extradition to Australia on manslaughter charges, a US court has heard.
Dr Patel, also known as Dr Death for fatally botching the surgeries of 17 of his patients, had earlier told a US judge he could not afford a lawyer to help him avoid facing charges in Australia related to his time at Queensland's Bundaberg Base Hospital. But a bail hearing for Dr Patel in Portland, Oregon, heard the Indian-born doctor might have more money to defend himself than first claimed and now may be denied US government-funded legal aid to fight his extradition, news.com.au reports.Whether Dr Patel receives legal aid and if he will be granted bail is expected to be ruled on in the next week, after Judge Dennis J Hubel reserved his decision in the US District Court in Portland on Tuesday. Dr Patel, 57, will meanwhile remain behind bars in Portland's high-security Multnomah County Detention Centre, where he has been since his arrest by the FBI on March 11.
Judge Hubel did not say when he will announce his decision on bail, but it is likely to be next week. April 10 has been set as a provisional date for the extradition hearing. Prosecutors said Dr Patel and his wife control several million dollars in assets, including stocks, bonds, retirement accounts, equity in jointly owned property and cars. On Tuesday, the courtroom was packed with more than 40 friends, family members and supporters of Dr Patel.