Patel patients won't give up

THE patients of former Bundaberg Hospital surgeon Jayant Patel and their families don't want to go through another trial, but they will if that is what it takes.

Dr Patel was freed from jail last week after the High Court set aside his conviction for manslaughter after it found he had suffered a miscarriage of justice.

He had been convicted of the manslaughter of three of his patients and the grievous bodily harm of a fourth and was serving seven years in jail.

The Director of Public Prosecutions is considering whether he will pursue a retrial, which could be longer and more costly than the first 58-day trial in 2010.

The first trial and two inquiries into his actions cost taxpayers about $9 million.

Victim and patient advocate Beryl Crosby yesterday said people would have no choice but to give evidence again if there was a retrial, even though they would be feeling stressed and vulnerable.

"It's going to take an emotional toll," she said.

"I don't know how the people who gave evidence and the patients are going to cope with another trial."

Ms Crosby said it was up to the Director of Public Prosecutions to decide whether he could get a conviction this time.

"They've also got to find space in the court calendar for another long case," she said.

Ms Crosby said she agreed with Health Minister Lawrence Springborg that the cost was not a factor when it came to retrying Dr Patel.

"I think there is a significant chapter in the history of Queensland with a question mark over it and no effective closure," Mr Springborg said.

"It's a matter of making sure justice is gained - that is the most important thing.

"That is not an expense arguable in my mind.

"It is about justice being done if there is a case that can be prosecuted."

Mr Springborg said the former attorney-general Cameron Dick had questions to answer over why the trial was "bungled".

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