Dr. Death wants separate trial for manslaughter, serious injury to patients

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Melbourne, June 16 (ANI): Controversial Indian-born surgeon Dr. Jayant Patel a.k.a 'Dr. Death', who is currently facing a committal hearing into the deaths of three patients, wants separate trials for the alleged manslaughter and serious injury of five patients which could hinge on whether he is seeking a judge only or a jury trial.

Lawyers for Dr Patel today made an application in the Supreme Court in Brisbane requesting he receive separate trials on three counts of unlawfully killing patients and two of causing grievous bodily harm as a result of surgical procedures.

Barrister Peter Callaghan, SC, for Patel, argued it would be prejudicial if one trial was held to answer all of the charges of unlawful killing and grievous bodily harm, News.com.au reports.

Callaghan said Dr Patel had performed an estimated 1200 operations while at Bundaberg Hospital - five of which had been the subject of criminal charges.

However, Crown prosecutor Ross Martin said the question over whether Dr Patel be granted separate trials should only be decided upon after the defence revealed its hand over whether his guilt or innocence was to be decided by a jury of 12 members of the public or by a single Supreme Court judge.

Justice Peter Lyons told the court he would have to apply the "test" as to whether it would be prejudicial to run the trials at the same time.

He said at this stage there was still a chance the defence could apply to have a judge only trial and until that time he had to base his decision to grant separate trials on that simple feature. (ANI)

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