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'Dr Death' Patel to face fraud trials

India-born American surgeon Jayant Patel, charged of manslaughter and causing grievous bodily harm to his patients in Australia, will face separate trials for fraud and medical-related charges.

world Updated: May 25, 2009 13:44 IST

India-born American surgeon Jayant Patel, charged of manslaughter and causing grievous bodily harm to his patients in Australia, will face separate trials for fraud and medical-related charges.

In a pre-trial review on Monday in Queensland state Supreme Court, the crown agreed with an application by Patel's lawyers for the eight fraud charges to be heard separately from three manslaughter and two grievous bodily harm charges.

Lawyers next month will argue whether to further split the manslaughter and grievous bodily harm matters into separate trials, AAP said on Monday.

Prosecutor Ross Martin SC told the local court in Brisbane that the crown would oppose any such application.

The charges relate to Patel's time as director of surgery at Bundaberg Base Hospital between 2003 and 2005.

Dubbed as 'Dr Death" by the Australian media, the 59-year-old was committed to stand trial after a three-week hearing in Brisbane Magistrates Court. A further pre-trial hearing is scheduled for next month.

During the review, court was told Patel's defence team had not yet decided whether to apply for 'judge-only' trials, instead of a jury, for some or all of the charges.