Indian-American doctor gets bail after court orders re-trial
In a major relief to Indian-American surgeon Jayant Patel, accused of the manslaughter of three patients in Queensland, an Australian court on Friday granted him bail, ruling that he had been the victim of a "substantial miscarriage of justice" and ordered a re-trial.
Dubbed by the Australian media as "Dr Death", Patel was sentenced to seven years in prison in 2010 after being convicted of three counts of manslaughter and one count of causing grievous bodily harm to his patients in Queensland.
The Brisbane high court on Friday dismissed the convictions and ordered a retrial, saying a substantial miscarriage of justice had occurred on the 43rd day of Patel's 58-day trial, when the "prosecutors radically changed their case in a way which rendered irrelevant much of the evidence."
It also ordered that his convictions and seven-year jail sentence be set aside, the local media reported.
During the hearing before Justice Martin Daubney, the Director of Public Prosecutions did not oppose bail.
62-year-old Patel's lawyers argued the bail conditions were "exactly the same" as the conditions he faced while on trial in 2010, and that the USD 20,000 surety lodged at that time remained in place.
Under his bail conditions, Patel will have to report to police three times a week, must not contact any witnesses, cannot leave Queensland without consent and cannot leave Australia.
Patel's passport remains in the possession of justice authorities.
Patel's defence lawyer Arun Raniga said there was some paperwork to be completed, but he was hopeful that the doctor could be released from jail.
Patel, who is US-trained surgeon, had pleaded not guilty in 2010 to the manslaughter of three patients - James Phillips, 46, Gerry Kemps, 77, and Mervyn Morris, 75, who died following surgery performed by him.