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Extradited surgeon granted Aussie bail

BRISBANE, Australia, July 21 (UPI) -- U.S. surgeon Jayant Patel, accused of manslaughter in the deaths of his patients, was granted bail Monday upon his extradition to Australia, prosecutors said.

Queensland Magistrate Brian Hine agreed to release Patel, 58, on $19,500 bail, persuaded by the doctor's attorneys he wasn't a flight risk, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.

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Patel has been charged with 14 counts, including manslaughter and grievous bodily harm, in connection with botched surgeries and the deaths of at least 87 patients from 2003-05 at Bundaberg Base Hospital.

Attorney Michael Byrne argued that Patel had no previous criminal convictions and no history of skipping bail, pointing out that a trial could be as long as a year away.

Patel's arrival in Brisbane on a flight from the United States triggered a media frenzy Monday, with a huge pack of reporters following him to the city jail. There he was also met by the Bundaberg Patients Support Group, a support organization for victims' family members, the Australian Broadcasting Corp. reported.

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