Jurors excused amid warning on Patel publicity glare

A JUDGE has excused 11 jurors from sitting in a case involving former Bundaberg surgeon Dr Jayant Patel after warning them about remaining impartial despite the "extraordinary publicity".

Judge Terry Martin said it was important jurors could set aside anything they had heard about "what might or might not have occurred at the Bundaberg Hospital".

Dr Patel has pleaded not guilty in Brisbane District Court to grievously harming a patient at the Bundaberg Base Hospital.

The negligence allegedly occurred when he removed Ian Rodney Vowles' colon during surgery in 2004.

Six women and five selected jurors were discharged, some after the judge asked questions from the bench and others after filling out a questionnaire about their knowledge of the case.

The final jury is made up of seven men and seven women.

Two are reserve jurors who will step in if someone must leave their post during the trial.

"It is essential that every member of the jury ... is completely impartial, completely unbiased," Judge Martin said to the whole jury panel.

"This case is about alleged criminal medical negligence at the Bundaberg Hospital.

"There has been extraordinary publicity about alleged happenings at that hospital in 2004-05.

"The publicity has come in varied forms including media reports, a published book, internet content and general discussions from members of the public."

Judge Martin warned the final jury against discussing the case with anyone or looking up the case on the internet.

The Crown will open its case on Tuesday.



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