Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Patel on way back to Australia

The US Marshal Service in Oregon has confirmed it has been ordered to return former Bundaberg surgeon Dr Jayant Patel to Australia by Monday.

The US Marshal Service collected Patel from prison in Portland in Oregon, where he has been held since his arrest in March, before dawn on Tuesday (local time).

A spokesman for the US Marshal Service has confirmed that Patel is no longer in the state of Oregon, but would not confirm if he was now boarded a flight for Australia.

Spokesman Dale Ortma says the US Marshal Service must deliver Patel to Australian authorities by July 21.

"The US Marshal Service Portland office has begun the extradition process to meet the court order deadline," he said.

"The movement transport and specifics of Mr Patel will not be released. He is still in our custody.

"We've just been given a deadline to transfer him to the Australian authority's custody."

The Indian-born doctor is facing 14 charges in Australia, all relating to his time as head of surgery at the Bundaberg Base Hospital in central Queensland.

The charges are three counts of unlawfully causing the death of a patient, two counts of causing grievous bodily harm, one count of a negligent act causing harm, seven counts of fraud and one count of attempted fraud.

The 58-year-old last month dropped his legal battle against his extradition.

President of the Bundaberg Hospital Patients Support Group, Beryl Crosby, says Patel's impending return will be a relief for his former patients.

"This is the milestone I guess before justice takes its role I guess, yes - so this is very, very important to us," she said.


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