''Dr Death'' loses battle for legal aid

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Washington/Melbourne, Mar 29 (UNI) A US court today ordered India-born surgeon Jayant Patel, who is facing charges of manslaughter and negligence for the death of 16 patients in Australia, to fight the legal battle of extradition Down Under on his own expenses.

US District Court judge Dennis Hubel rejected Patel's bid to have American taxpayers fund his legal battle.

After examining Patel's financial information, the judge ruled that Patel not only had enough money and assets to pay for his own lawyer, but ''many times the sum'' to pay for it.

The judge came to the decision without taking into account Patel's Portland home in US , estimated to be worth more than 1 million US dollars, or his wife Kishoree's separate assets or her salary as a doctor in the Portland area.

''Dr Patel has substantial assets in various investment accounts, the significant amount of money in his Individual Retirement Account (IRA) is certain to be many times the sum required for retention of counsel for the extradition proceedings.''' Judge Hubel wrote.

Dr Patel, who is nicknamed ''Dr Death'' by the Australian media had already been banned from surgery in of New York and Oregon before his arrival in Australia. He was arrested by FBI at his home in Portland.

Extradition proceedings in US courts can take more than two years, so his legal defence will likely cost tens of thousands of dollars.

Patel, 57, has been held in Portland's high-security prison, the Multnomah County Detention Centre, since his arrest. His extradition hearing is set to take place on April 18 in Portland.

UNI XC ARB RK1340

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