Brisbane Supreme Court discharges third juror in Dr. Death's trial

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Brisbane, Mar.29 (ANI): The Supreme Court in Brisbane on Monday discharged a female juror in connection with the manslaughter trial of Indian-born surgeon Dr. Jayant Patel.

The female juror informed Justice John Byrne that she was currently employed on a temporary contract with Queensland Health, and that she hoped to extend the contract when it expired.

Defence barrister Michael Byrne QC asked that she be discharged, and Justice Byrne agreed, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.

"In view of the sensitivity of this case, I have decided, because of her connection with Queensland Health, she should not serve on the jury," Justice Byrne told the remaining jury members.

He added: "The reality of, and public appearance of impartiality are critical."

On the first day of the trial last week, a male juror was discharged before any evidence was presented after he said he could not be impartial.

Two days later another male juror was excused after handing the judge a note, the contents of which were not revealed in court. The discharged jurors have all been replaced with reserve jurors, who were empanelled last Monday.

Only one reserve juror now remains.

Patel, 59, is accused of the manslaughter of Mervyn John Morris, James Edward Phillips and Gerry Kemps.

The former director of surgery at the Bundaberg Base Hospital is also accused of causing grievous bodily harm to Ian Rodney Vowles.

Patel has pleaded not guilty to the charges, which relate to his time at the hospital between 2003 and 2005.

The trial has been adjourned until Tuesday for legal argument. (ANI)

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