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Seven years' jail for 'Dr Death'

Jayant Patel, an Indian origin doctor held guilty of manslaughter and causing grievous bodily harm on patients at an Australian hospital, was sentenced on Thursday to seven years in prison.

india Updated: Jul 01, 2010 13:22 IST

Jayant Patel, an Indian origin doctor held guilty of manslaughter and causing grievous bodily harm on patients at an Australian hospital, was sentenced on Thursday to seven years in prison.

The sentence was read out in Brisbane Supreme Court.

"In view of the verdicts of the jury, there is no denying the gravity of your offending (and) your repeated serious disregard for the welfare of the four patients," brisbanetimes.com.au qouted Justice John Byrne as telling 60-year-old Patel.

Dubbed "Dr Death", Patel was sentenced to seven years for each case of manslaughter and three years for grievous bodily harm. The sentences are to be served concurrently.

The jury delivered its guilty verdict in the Brisbane Supreme Court on Tuesday, after seven days of deliberations.

Patel was chief of surgery at Bundaberg Base Hospital between 2003 and 2005.

Indian-born and US-trained, Patel had pleaded not guilty to the manslaughter of James Phillips, 46, Gerry Kemps, 77, and Mervyn Morris, 75, who died following surgery performed by him.

He had also pleaded not guilty to causing grievous bodily harm to Ian Vowles, whose healthy bowel he removed in October 2004.

The trial involved the evidence of 76 witnesses over 53 days, the media report said.

The prosecution had alleged that Phillips, Kemps and Morris would not have died but for Patel's decision to operate.

The surgeries on them were all "dangerous, unnecessary and inappropriate", the court was told.

The prosecution went on to state that the operations on the three men should not have been done at Bundaberg as the hospital did not have the resources to cope with such major surgeries.

Patel's barrister Michael Byrne told the jury that Patel had performed the operations for the benefit of his patients. He said that each operation had been carried out with the patient's consent.