Patel's legal team argues for judge-only trial

UPDATE 3pm: A justice has reserved his decision on whether Dr Jayant Patel should have a judge-alone trial in the face of much pre-trial publicity and inadmissible evidence on the internet.

Crown prosecutor Peter Davis argued in Brisbane Supreme Court that Robert Long, Ivan Milat, Dennis Ferguson and Robert Fardon - two murderers and two sex offenders had also received much media coverage in the lead up to their jury trials.

He said Patel was not in "a unique category" in arguing such articles had tainted potential jurors.

"There's great lists of people over the years whose cases have been the subject of some notoriety," he said.

"Pre-trial publicity can be dealt with by (judge) directions and juries being true to their oaths.

"(Jurors) apply the law and deal with the matter on the basis of the facts."

Mr Davis said the reporting had been robust but it was not all "one-way traffic".

He pointed to articles with human rights lawyers, another attacking Queensland Health, calls for calm, news reports citing Patel's family "expressing disgust" over how he had been treated and doubts over a fair trial.

Mr Davis said most reporting offered a "balanced view" on what occurred in a prominent case which had public interest.

Justice James Douglas has reserved his decision until next week when Patel is also expected to make an application for a permanent stay.

 

UPDATE 10.20am: Lawyers for former Bundaberg surgeon Jayant Patel have argued "the well is so poisoned" that he must face a judge-only trial.

Defence barrister Kenneth Fleming told Brisbane Supreme Court said the case was "notorious" with a google search for the names Dr Patel, Bundaberg butcher and Dr Death turning up a huge number of media articles.

He said the latter would result in four million hits, not all relating to Patel but still highly prejudicial.

"The well is so poisoned by now, it would be difficult to get a juror or jury who wouldn't have a view on Dr Patel," he said.

Mr Fleming told the court the jury pool was also tainted by news articles speaking about "botched surgeries" and a "toxic ego".

He said this new trial was no longer about the quality of the surgery but rather the decision making process that led to the surgery.

The High Court quashed a grievous bodily harm and three manslaughter convictions earlier this year and granted Patel re-trials.

Patel is expected to face his first trial in February next year accused of the manslaughter of Mervyn Morris 75, who died on June 14, 2003, weeks after Patel removed part of his bowel.

Patel is also expected to make an application for a permanent stay next Tuesday.

 

BREAKING 10.30am: Former Bundaberg surgeon Jayant Patel, who is defending manslaughter charges relating to patients, will today argue for a judge-only trial.

His legal team told Brisbane Supreme Court last month that the adverse publicity surrounding previous trials and the "Dr Death" label would negatively impact on a jury.

The Crown told the court it would oppose a judge-only trial application, noting there was plenty of publicity before the first trial and no such application was made.

The High Court quashed a  grievous bodily harm and three manslaughter convictions earlier this year and granted Patel re-trials.

Patel will face his first trial in February next year accused of the manslaughter of Mervyn Morris 75, who died on June 14, 2003, weeks after Patel removed part of his bowel.

Patel is also expected to make an application for a permanent stay on November 27.


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