Dr. 'Death' Patel manslaughter verdict may not survive appeal, warns judge

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Melbourne, Jun 30 (ANI): An Australian judge has warned that Indian-origin surgeon Dr. Jayant Patel's guilty verdict may not survive in the Queensland Court of Appeal.

Justice John Byrne has indicated that the verdicts might not survive due to the Criminal Code, which did not recognise misdiagnoses and wrongful decisions to operate as potential criminal acts.

From day one of the trial, Judge Byrne had also highlighted a possible flaw in the prosecution's case against the surgeon: the issue of consent.

Patel's legal team is trying to take the fight to the Court of Appeal for a ruling on the correct statutory route to convict a surgeon of manslaughter.

Dr. Patel a.k.a "Dr. Death" was on Tuesday found guilty of manslaughter of three patients and causing grievous bodily harm to another at Bundaberg Base Hospital.

Meanwhile, Beryl Crosby, of the Bundaberg Hospital Patients Support Group, said that she understood their victory could be short lived.

"I know it's going to the Court of Appeal," The Sydney Morning Herald quoted Crosby, as saying.

"When it does, it will go on a legal technicality, because of the way the criminal code was set up. This was a unique case. If it falls over on a technicality then the laws need to be looked at seriously," he added.

Crosby further said that Patel may appeal and may win that case, but a jury still delivered guilty verdicts.

"No matter what happens from here, the verdict was guilty, it doesn't matter what happens from here, it was a guilty verdict, that's all that matters," she added.

Patel had earlier pleaded not guilty in the Supreme Court in Brisbane to the manslaughter of Mervyn Morris, Gerardus Kemps and James Phillips. e also pleaded not guilty to the grievous bodily harm of Ian Vowles.

The crown had finished its case two weeks ago, with prosecutor Ross Martin urging the jury to return guilty verdicts on all charges.

Martin had characterized Patel as a "bad surgeon motivated by ego and suffering from lack of insight".

He also told the jury that the trial was about judgments, and that Patel's negligence extended to his poor decisions about when to operate, and his choices about appropriate post-operative care. (ANI)

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