Former Bundaberg surgeon Jayant Patel (left) leaves the court with barrister Kenneth Fleming.
Former Bundaberg surgeon Jayant Patel (left) leaves the court with barrister Kenneth Fleming.

Patel's defence team in heated debate weeks before trial

DEFENCE plans to challenge legal particulars in the case against former Bundaberg surgeon Jayant Patel have caused a heated courtroom discussion just weeks out from trial.

The 62-year-old's defence team told Brisbane Supreme Court on Friday they had received the final particulars, which sum up how the Crown will run its case before a jury, on Thursday afternoon and asked to prepare a submission over the weekend.

Patel will face a manslaughter trial on February 6.

The charge relates to Mervyn Morris, 75, dying three weeks after Patel performed an operation on him in 2003.

Crown prosecutor Peter Davis said he would be surprised if there were any structural attacks on the outlined particulars.

But he said he would be on leave and court clashes would mean the defence challenge could not be heard until January 30 - seven days from trial.

Justice George Fryberg said challenging the particulars that close to the trial could result in it being aborted.

"That is the time you and your opponents should be devoting your time and your energies to preparation for trial," he said.

But Mr Davis said hearing the submissions next week was "patently unfair", noting other counsel would have to step in.

Justice Fryberg attacked the Crown's particulars at the last trial review mention in December as "incomplete and embarrassing".

He said on the Friday that the grammar in the new version was "atrocious" and some parts were "to the point of being incomprehensible".

But Justice Fryberg did not set a date to hear the challenge, instead demanding the defence file submissions over the weekend so further steps could be determined.


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