Sydney, June 28 : Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd may be approached to speed up the extradition process of controversial Indian-born surgeon Dr. Jayant Patel, who has been charged with manslaughter by a Queensland court.
Queensland Police Minister Judy Spence is calling on the federal government to step in and ensure Patel's extradition before the July 21 deadline set by U.S. District Court judge Dennis Hubel.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Spence said she would ask Queensland Premier Anna Bligh to talk to Prime Minister Rudd to ensure US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice signed the extradition in time.
Judge Hubel has threatened to release Patel from a Portland, Oregon jail if he was not handed over to the custody of Australian federal police by July 21.
If the deadline is met, Spence said two officers would accompany Dr. Patel on a commercial flight back to Queensland.
"We have our two Queensland police with their bags packed, ready to get on the plane and bring Mr. Patel back as soon as we can," she told reporters in Brisbane.
"It's really up to the US authorities, but I don't think we should be negative about this, I'm sure they will do their duty. But if we can do anything to make that happen faster we will do that."
Brisbane barrister Michael Byrne, QC, said he was confident the rogue surgeon would receive bail when he returned to Australia to face manslaughter charges.
However Queensland Police Commissioner Bob Atkinson refused to speculate on this.
"My perspective is that what happens here in Queensland in the courts here is a matter for the prosecution, the defence and the presiding magistrate or judge at the time," he said.
"We've come a long way with this, and I think the developments this week are very good and we don't want to do anything that might jeopardise in any way what might happen in any future court proceeding."