Patel gets seven years

Former surgeon Jayant Patel has been sentenced to seven years over the deaths of three patients.


Reaction at the length of the sentencing has been mixed.

He was convicted on Tuesday of the manslaughter of Mervyn Morris, Gerardus Kemps and James Phillips, and of causing grievous bodily harm to Ian Vowles.

A former patient says a seven-year jail term for the killer surgeon is the icing on the cake.

Beryl Crosby, who is also an advocate for patients who suffered at the hands of the former Bundaberg surgeon, said she was thrilled to know he had been sentenced to seven years in jail for his crimes.

“I’m glad he got something. I’m glad he got at least seven years,” Ms Crosby told AAP.

“When we got the guilty verdict it was enough for a lot of people. The fact that he’s going to do time, that will help a lot.” In sentencing Patel, Justice John Byrne said he took into account the “overall criminality involved in all the offending”.

The judge sentenced Patel to seven years’ jail for each of the manslaughter charges, and three years for grievous bodily harm.

The charges all relate to Patel’s time as director of surgery at Bundaberg Base Hospital in Queensland between 2003 and 2005.

The sentences are to be served concurrently, and Patel will be eligible for parole after serving three-and-a-half years.

Victims dismayed

But Ian Vowles, who lost a healthy bowel and a normal life when he went under Jayant Patel’s scalpel in 2004, can’t fathom that the man responsible might walk free from jail in as little as three and a half years.

“I would have liked to have seen him put away for life,” he told AAP.

“The amount of pain he has caused to the people. These four cases that were in court were only a fraction of the people that he’s affected here in Bundaberg.”


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