Former Bundaberg surgeon Jayant Patel has been found not guilty of killing a patient, says a report in The Sydney Morning Herald quoting AAP.
A Brisbane Supreme Court jury on Wednesday acquitted Dr Patel of the manslaughter of 75-year-old Mervyn Morris.
In an interview with Nine News following the announcement Bundaberg Patients Support Group spokeswoman Beryl Crosby said she was “shattered”.
“I guess I can’t really say too much, there might be a pending further trial,” she said.
“It’s been – this is a devastating outcome for a lot of people.
“I don’t blame the jury. I believe in the jury system.
“This isn’t the end so I’ve got to be very careful.”
Ms Crosby said she wan’t sure what would happen now, but that the verdict affected “hundreds” of alleged victims.
Patel had been accused of causing Mr Morris’s death by removing part of his colon in an attempt to address rectal bleeding in 2003.
However, his defence team successfully argued Patel had an ‘‘honest and reasonable belief’’ that the operation at the Bundaberg Base Hospital was necessary, and that his actions were supported by a number of expert witnesses.
This is the second time Patel has stood trial for the manslaughter of Mr Morris.He was convicted of killing Mr Morris and two other patients in June 2010.
During that trial he was also found guilty of the grievous bodily harm of Ian Vowles.
Patel was sentenced to seven years’ jail.
However his convictions were overturned by the High Court in August last year, and separate retrials were ordered.
The manslaughter trial for Mr Morris was the first to be held, with others likely to take place later this year.
Prosecutor David Meredith told the court that despite the acquittal, the Director of Public Prosecutions Tony Moynihan had made the decision that the other trials will still proceed.
Patel, whose bail has been continued, will return to court this Friday for a mention, where it is expected the crown will reveal which matter will proceed next.
Meanwhile, a statement from Attorney General Jarrod Bleijie’s office said: “Following today’s decision in the Brisbane Supreme Court, the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions will determine its next course of action in relation to outstanding charges. The Attorney-General will not be making further comment on this matter.”
Premier Campbell Newman said: “It’s now up to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions to determine the next course of action on outstanding charges, so public comment needs to be limited. But my heart does go out to those who have been affected personally by this case, and tonight my thoughts are with them.”