Brisbane, Dec.1 : Over a 150 witnesses are likely to testify against Indian-born surgeon Jayant Patel, who has been charged with manslaughter of 14 hospital patients during his time at the Bundaberg Base Hospital here.
During a brief mention of the matter in the Brisbane Magistrates Court this morning, prosecutor Ross Martin said the large number of witnesses meant a full five weeks would be needed for the hearing of Dr. Patel's case next year. Martin told the court some of the witnesses who lived overseas or interstate may give evidence via phone or video link.
A three-week block has been set aside from February 9 to 27, with an additional two weeks in April, Fox News reports.
Fifty-eight year-old Dr. Patel, who is also referred to in media circles as "Dr. Death", is facing 14 charges, including manslaughter, grievous bodily harm and fraud, relating to his time as director of surgery at Bundaberg Base Hospital in southern Queensland between 2003 and 2005.
He had been held in custody in his home city of Portland, Oregon, since March, and returned to Australia in July.
On his return to Australia, Dr Patel was granted bail with residential and reporting conditions. He was not required to appear at today's hearing.