'Dr Death' Patel's defence counsel may 'poll' prospective jury ahead of empanelment
Sydney, Jan 31 : Indian-origin doctor Jayant Patel's manslaughter trial will proceed as scheduled next week, but a prospective jury may first be 'polled' by the former surgeon's defence counsel before they can be empanelled, a report has said.
The former Bundaberg Hospital surgeon is due to stand trial on Wednesday for the alleged manslaughter of Mervyn Morris, 75, who died three weeks after Patel performed surgery on him in June, 2003.
Supreme Court Justice George Fryberg on Thursday upheld an application by Crown prosecutor Peter Davis SC seeking leave to deliver a further set of particulars outlining how the prosecution case would be run.
The application was opposed by Patel's legal counsel because of the absence of a ''causal link'' between what may have been pre-existing comorbidities and the subsequent death of Morris following surgery.
But Justice Fryberg ruled the disputed paragraphs sufficiently detailed the linkage to the extent it was ''implicit'' and would not result in a trial that was unfair to the accused.
According to News.com.au, Barrister Kenneth Fleming, for Patel, indicated the defence counsel could make an application for prospective jury members to be ''polled'' ahead of empanelment on Wednesday, February 6.
Justice Fryberg said any such application would have to be served and filed by this afternoon, the report said.
Davis said 'polling'of a jury to determine what they knew about a case ahead of trial had never been done before in Queensland, it added.