Patel trial a 'miscarriage of justice'

FIVE High Court judges have been asked to quash the convictions against former Bundaberg surgeon Jayant Patel.

Barrister Liam Kelly, speaking from a bar table with seven men wearing wigs to argue the case in Brisbane, told the judges there had been a miscarriage of justice when Patel was found guilty at trial for killing three patients and leaving another with an unhealthy bowel.

Patel, dubbed Dr Death, was a surgeon at Bundaberg Hospital from 2003-2005.

He argued the trial was incorrectly run under the wrong section of the Criminal Code and his client had therefore been "denied a proper trial".

Mr Kelly said Patel was convicted because the jury deemed his decision to operate as criminally negligent.

He said the jury was not given the opportunity to consider defences available under other sections of the act.

Mr Kelly said the trial was riddled with prejudicial evidence, from relatives of the patients affected, which the trial judge had often referred to as excessive "mud-slinging".

"We submit the trial judge erred in failing to discharge the jury as he was asked to do," he said.

Mr Kelly said there were no comparable cases and it was "rare" to enact the surgery negligence laws applied in this case.

Patel was granted special leave to have the matter heard in the High Court in February after the Court of Appeal dismissed his appeal against conviction and sentence last year.

The hearing is expected to go for two days.


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