Court slams channel for show on Indian-origin doctor

Sydney–An Australian court slammed a television channel for airing a programme on unethical medical practices when a high-profile case of an Indian-origin doctor, charged with causing grievous bodily harm to a patient, is currently underway.

Brisbane District Court judge Terence Martin slammed Channel 7 for airing current affairs programme ‘Today Tonight’ Monday night on unethical practices of doctors while referring to India-born doctor Jayant Patel whose case is up for hearing, media reported.

Describing the programme as “totally irresponsible”, the judge told jurors to ignore the programme.

Patel, who worked in the Bundaberg Base Hospital in the Australian state of Queensland, has been charged with causing grievous bodily harm to a 65-year-old patient, Ian Rodney Vowles, by unnecessarily removing his colon in 2004.

He has pleaded not guilty to the charge.

Jury selection took all day to combat previous “extraordinary publicity” about the case.

The judge told jurors that they shouldn’t pay heed to such irresponsible media reports and must only consider evidence that raised in the court.

The trial in the case was delayed as lawyers for the prosecution and Patel’s defence told the judge of the programme about alleged problems with doctors that aired on Channel 7.

“Its content in my view was totally irresponsible in view of the fact this trial was getting underway today,” The Australian quoted judge Martin as saying.

The Jamnagar, Gujarat-born Patel had a controversial tenure in the hospital from 2003 to early 2005, during which over 80 deaths were linked to him and 30 patients died in his care.

After that, he left for Portland, Oregon, in the US.

He was, however, extradited to Australia in 2008 to face trial.—IANS