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Oz court clears Indian surgeon of manslaughter

An Indian-born surgeon at the centre of a long-running malpractice saga in Australia was Wednesday cleared in a retrial of the manslaughter of an elderly patient who died after he operated on him.

world Updated: Mar 13, 2013 23:56 IST

In a relief to Indian-origin surgeon and manslaughter convict Jayant Patel, an Australian court on Wednesday found him not guilty for the death of an elderly patient in 2003, after the Supreme Court ordered his retrial in the three cases of criminal negligence.

Patel, 62, the former director of surgery at Bundaberg Base Hospital, had pleaded not guilty to the death of Mervyn John Morris, 75, who died on June 14, 2003, three weeks after he removed part of his bowel to treat rectal bleeding.

It was the second time the India-born US citizen stood for the manslaughter trial of Morris. He was convicted of killing Morris and two other patients in June 2010.

After a four week trial, a Brisbane Supreme Court jury found Patel not guilty of killing Morris.

The prosecution had said Patel was grossly negligent, that he had not properly diagnosed the bleeding and that he made the wrong decision to operate and failed to properly manage the man’s post-operative care.

Patel’s defence team argued Patel had an “honest and reasonable belief” that the operation was necessary.

First Published: Mar 13, 2013 14:59 IST