Source: The Courier Mail
THE Queensland Government has set aside $60,000 for the “initial” living expenses of accused Bundaberg surgeon Jayant Patel, but the final tab could well be higher. More than a week after Patel, a US citizen, was extradited and charged with 14 Queensland crimes, including manslaughter, police are still negotiating the expenses with his lawyers.
Police Minister Judy Spence said $60,000 has been placed in an independent account pending an agreement. Ms Spence said details of covered expenses will be revealed to the public. Patel, 58, who owns a million-dollar home in Portland, Oregon, and substantial other financial holdings, is out on bail after posting a $20,000 cash bond. His whereabouts are known to authorities but the media has been barred from disclosing them. Under the federal Migration Act of 1958, foreigners extradited for trial in Australia must have their travel and living expenses paid by the police.
An Immigration Department spokesman said 46 people were extradited to Australia in 2006-07 and received criminal justice entry visas, but most were kept in jail. Opposition justice spokesman Mark McArdle has urged the full disclosure of Patel’s expenses, a move supported by Patel adversaries in Bundaberg.
Nurse Toni Hoffman said she saw no reason for withholding the information. Also favouring disclosure was Beryl Crosby, president of the Bundaberg Hospital patients’ support group, which includes alleged victims of Patel’s surgical procedures.
Mr McArdle, who anticipates the state will have to provide health care to Patel, raised questions in Parliament about his living expenses, without success. Patel faces eight counts of fraud relating to his employment at Bundaberg Hospital from 2003-2005, three counts of manslaughter, two counts of grievous bodily harm and one count of negligent acts causing bodily harm.
His next court appearance is scheduled for September 1.