A court in Australia has given an Indian-origin surgeon, charged with causing grievous bodily harm to a patient, a chance to poll his potential jurors in his trial if they were biased against him due to the negative publicity surrounding him.
The Brisbane district court today allowed the questioning of jurors and reserve jurors for the new trial of Jayant Patel scheduled to start September 23.
Patel’s defence lawyer Ken Fleming argued before the court that his client had been subjected to unprecedented media scrutiny and that the name Jayant Patel or “Dr Death” could yield up to 661 million online articles in a Google search, according to The Courier Mail.
Patel, who worked in the Bundaberg Base Hospital in Queensland, has been charged with causing grievous bodily harm to a 65-year-old patient, Ian Rodney Vowles, by unnecessarily removing his colon in 2004.
This is the second time that Patel got the right to poll his jurors.In February, his defence team won the right to poll jurors ahead of his trial for manslaughter related to the death of a 75-year-old patient, Mervyn Morris, at the Bundaberg Base Hospital in June 2003.
He was later acquitted.The Jamnagar, Gujarat-born Patel had a controversial tenure in the hospital from 2003 to early 2005, during which over 80 deaths were linked to him and 30 patients died in his care.
After that, he left for Portland, Oregon, in the US.He was, however, extradited to Australia in 2008 to face trial.