Patel's lawyers launch appeal

FORMER patients of jailed surgeon Jayant Patel are braced for another court battle as lawyers for the former Bundaberg Hospital director of surgery lodge an appeal against his sentence and conviction.

The lawyers lodged papers in the Queensland Court of Appeal late yesterday afternoon, but they could not be contacted for comment and the registry is closed until today.

Patel, 60, was sentenced on July 1 to seven years’ jail for the manslaughter of three patients and causing grievous bodily harm to a fourth.

The charges related to Patel’s time as director of surgery at Bundaberg Hospital between 2003 and 2005.

Bundaberg-Burnett Patient Support Group member George Pauza, who watched most of the trial on screens in the Bundaberg Courthouse, said he was not surprised the appeal was to take place.

“I’ll be watching the appeal very closely — all of us will be,” he said.

Member for Burnett Rob Messenger, who helped lobby the government to bring Patel to trial, said his former patients were disappointed but realistic about the appeal process.

“They know we’re one-third of the way through,” he said.

“They know it’s going to be unpleasant.

“Every time it comes up in the media they are always reminded of their experiences.

“There’s still a fighting spirit within the group.”

Mr Messenger called on Premier Anna Bligh to explain who would be paying for Patel’s appeal — taxpayers or Patel himself.

About $3.1 million was spent prosecuting Patel, including $42,000 for his accommodation and living expenses.

The cost of proceedings for the trial, which ran for more than 14 weeks, was about $629,000, which included costs associated with the trial judge, bailiffs and court support staff; juror entitlements; security; technology and the video feed to Bundaberg.

It is yet to be determined whether the appeal proceedings will be televised in the Bundaberg Courthouse under the same arrangements as the trial.

About $16,000 was spent on video equipment to broadcast the trial in Bundaberg.

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