MELBOURNE: The cost of prosecuting disgraced Indian-origin American surgeon Jayant Patel in Australia has crossed 3.3 million dollars since the trial began in 2008.
The data obtained through right to informationby the Sunshine Coast Daily newspaper show that Patel has clocked up 40,875 dollars in living costs, including 26,500 dollars on accommodation, this year alone. That is more than the 37,200 dollars Patel spent on living costs in 2010.
The jurors entrusted with the task of trying 63-year-old Patel have racked up almost 200,000 dollars in expenses during his two trials, the newspaper reported.
Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie said the Australian government had an obligation under Commonwealth law to accommodate Patel, who was extradited from the US to face criminal charges.
“Under section 146 of the Commonwealth Migration Act 1958, we are required to ensure satisfactory arrangements have been made for keeping a person in Australia for the purposes of criminal justice administration,” he said.
Patel, who was born in Jamnagar in Gujarat, was jailed in 2010 after a jury convicted him of unlawfully killing three patients and causing grievous bodily harm to another while a surgeon at Bundaberg hospital in southern Queensland.
The high court quashed his conviction last year and Patel was released.
He faced a re-trial in February for the manslaughter of 75-year-old patient Mervyn Morris in 2004 and was found not guilty. He will face trial next month for causing grievous bodily harm to another patient.
The report said, the cost of prosecuting Patel is set to rise with the director of public prosecutionspushing ahead with Patel’s outstanding charges despite losing his manslaughter trial in February.