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Doctor's conviction over NI patient's death quashed

By Cathy Gordon

Published 16/11/2016

The death of James Hughes resulted in the jailing of David Sellu (pictured), whose conviction was quashed yesterday
The death of James Hughes resulted in the jailing of David Sellu (pictured), whose conviction was quashed yesterday
The death of James Hughes (pictured) resulted in the jailing of David Sellu, whose conviction was quashed yesterday

A surgeon who served a jail sentence over the death of a patient from Northern Ireland at a private hospital has won an appeal against his conviction.

David Sellu, now 69, was convicted of gross negligence manslaughter in November 2013 and handed a two-and-a-half-year prison term at the Old Bailey.

Yesterday, three Court of Appeal judges in London allowed his challenge against the conviction relating to the death of father-of-six James Hughes.

Armagh man Mr Hughes (66) died at the Clementine Churchill Hospital in Harrow, north west London, after falling unexpectedly ill following knee surgery.

The retired builder had a planned left knee replacement on February 5, 2010. The operation went well but in recovery he developed abdominal pain and was transferred to Sellu's care.

It was the standard of the doctor's care of Mr Hughes over a period of approximately 25 hours which formed the basis of the case against him.

At a recent hearing the appeal judges heard that the "essence" of the prosecution case was that the doctor, a "respected consultant colorectal surgeon", should have performed an operation to repair a perforated bowel "at a much earlier time".

But a QC argued on behalf of Sellu, of Hillingdon, who served 15 months in jail, that his conviction for gross negligence manslaughter was "unsafe" on a number of grounds.

Sellu was in court to hear Sir Brian Leveson announce the conviction should be quashed.

Sir Brian gave the prosecution 24 hours to make an application if they wish to seek a re-trial.

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