Melbourne, Jun 26: Dr Jayant Patel, a doctor of Indian origin who acquired the sobriquet "Dr Death" for botching several surgeries resulting in his patients deaths, has dropped plans to fight the Queensland Government's extradition request and will return to stand trial on 16 offences.
Dr Patel could be back in Australia within weeks after suddenly agreeing to be extradited from the United States and stand trial for offences like manslaughter, grievous bodily harm and fraud charges. His American lawyer Marc Blackman filed the move in the US District Court in Portland, Oregon. Legal experts had said that Dr Patel could have argued that he would not get a fair trial in Australia and possible appeals meant his extradition fight could have lasted for years.
But Dr Patel said he wants to "confront" the charges in a Queensland court, provided he is freed on bail and allowed to spend a couple of weeks at home in Portland with his wife.
The charges against Dr Patel relate to his time as a surgeon at Bundaberg Base hospital in southern Queensland. Former patients burst into tears in the town this morning when they heard the news.
"The fight is over, he is coming back," Bundaberg Hospital Patient Support Group spokeswoman Beryl Crosby told The Courier-Mail.
"I'm so overwhelmed ... if I was a drinker, I'd go and have some scotch," Crosby added.
At a previous bail hearing, US prosecutors argued Dr Patel should not be released because he was a potential flight risk and had ties to India, where he was born. But the 58-year-old rejected that and said he was no longer a citizen of India.