Rae Wilson

Judge slams 'irresponsible' TV report on eve of Patel trial

A JUDGE has labelled a television program's report on dodgy doctors on the eve of Dr Jayant Patel's medical negligence trial as irresponsible.

Judge Terry Martin told a jury about to sit in judgment of the former Bundaberg surgeon there would be a "grave injustice" if they did not ignore such "aggressive" media reports and any other discussion surrounding the case in the public.

The jury was put under extra scrutiny the day before because of the "extraordinary publicity" the case had received over the years.

The jurors were selected because they believed they could put any prior knowledge aside and assess the case on its merits.

Judge Martin said Channel Seven's current affair program Today Tonight led with the fact Dr Patel was about to begin his trial.

He said they then went on to discuss problems with doctors and surgeons.

"It's content, in my view, was totally irresponsible," he said.

"This is the type of reporting that you must ignore.

"One would be forgiven for thinking that some persons have a particular agenda ... whether it is to influence a jury or undermine the court process."

Judge Martin said he had made strong comments and he hoped the program, which was still available online, would be taken down.

Dr Patel has pleaded not guilty in Brisbane District Court to grievously harming a patient at the Bundaberg Base Hospital.

Crown prosecutor Peter Davis alleged the negligence occurred when Dr Patel removed Ian Rodney Vowles' colon during surgery in 2004.

He said the Crown alleged Dr Patel should not have performed that operation.

Mr Davis he aimed to prove the accused acted criminally negligently in performing the operation which led to Mr Vowles suffering grievous bodily harm as a result.

The Crown opening continues.

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