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'Dr Death's' extradition delay irks Oz
June, 04th 2008

The hearing of Indian-born American doctor Jayant Patel's extradition to Australia, where he faces manslaughter charges, has been delayed by three weeks in a US court even as his former patients in Australia are frustrated with the deferment.

United States district court judge Dennis Hubel ordered the hearing to now take place on July 16 in Portland, Oregon, instead of the original date set for June 26. Dr Patel's lawyer Marc Blackman had requested for postponement last week on the plea that Queensland police had failed to produce requested documents, nor given a valid reason for the same.

There was no mention during Monday's hearing of Dr Patel making a fresh bid for bail ahead of the July 16 extradition proceedings. The hearing was held via teleconference, with Dr Patel listening in from jail. He was denied bail by the court April after his arrest March 11.

Dr Patel, the 58-year-old Indian American surgeon dubbed as 'Dr Death' by the Australian media, has been held at the high-security Multnomah County Detention Centre in Portland, since his arrest by the FBI over two months ago on a request by the Australian government.

Queensland Premier Anna Bligh Tuesday rejected claims that the state authorities had bungled the extradition of the former Bundaberg doctor.

Bligh told reporters: ''I share the genuine concerns of all Queenslanders, and particularly those in the Bundaberg area, to bring Dr Patel back to face the Australian courts and I would certainly hope the extradition proceedings are successful.''

Australian authorities hope to bring Patel to Queensland to face charges for 16 offences, including manslaughter, grievous bodily harm and fraud, relating to his employment as director of surgery at regional Bundaberg Base Hospital between 2003 and 2005.

Bundaberg Hospital Patients Support Group convenor Beryl Crosby told the local media: ''We are disappointed, but what's important is bail was not a consideration. At the end of the day, we want to see justice and, I guess, this is part of the process. He is entitled to what his lawyer is doing for him.''

Patel, 58, has been in Portland's Multnomah County Detention Centre since his arrest in the United States March 11.

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