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Surgeon Sellu cleared over death of patient won't face retrial

By Cathy Gordon

Published 17/11/2016

David Sellu
David Sellu
Co Armagh man James Hughes, who died in 2010

A surgeon who served a jail sentence over the death of a patient at a private hospital will not face a retrial following a successful appeal against his conviction.

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

On Tuesday, three Court of Appeal judges in London allowed his challenge against the conviction relating to the death of father-of-six James Hughes, from Co Armagh.

Yesterday a Crown Prosecution Service spokesman said: "We respect the judgment and note that there is no suggestion that this case should not have been brought.

"Mr Sellu has served the full sentence imposed upon him following his conviction, and taking this and other factors into account, including the views of Mr Hughes' family, the CPS does not believe it would be in the public interest to seek a retrial."

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 while recovering he developed abdominal pain and was transferred to Mr Sellu's care.

The standard of the doctor's care of Mr Hughes over about 25 hours formed the basis of the case against him.

At a recent hearing, the Court of 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 Mr Sellu, who served 15 months before being released in February last year, that his conviction for gross negligence manslaughter was unsafe.

Mr Sellu, from Hillingdon, was in court on Tuesday when it was announced that the conviction should be quashed.

In a statement, the family of Mr Hughes said that "given that Mr Sellu has served his sentence, we will not be seeking a retrial".

They added: "Our father's suffering was not prioritised as the emergency it so clearly was. The truth is our father was a fit and healthy man who lived a busy and active life.

"We have no doubt that Dad would have wanted the truth of his untimely death to be exposed.

"However, we do not want to remember him for how he died, but rather how he lived, with love for friends and family and a zest for life."

Mr Sellu said in a statement: "This has been a long and painful ordeal for me and my family and a difficult case for all parties."

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