Bid to overturn surgeon’s conviction over NI patient’s death

David Sellu in October 2013
David Sellu in October 2013

A surgeon who served a jail sentence over the death of a patient at a private hospital is asking leading judges to overturn his “unsafe” conviction.

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

He challenged his conviction over the death of 66-year-old father-of-six James Hughes, from Armagh at London’s Court of Appeal on Wednesday.

Retired builder Mr Hughes died at the Clementine Churchill Hospital in London after falling ill following knee surgery in 2010.

After surgery, he had developed abdominal pain and was put in Sellu’s care.

Mark Ellison, the barrister for Sellu, said the “essence” of the prosecution case was that the doctor should have operated to repair a perforated bowel “much earlier”.

He told the judges that there was now new evidence “undermining the prosecution case as to Mr Hughes’s increasing risk of mortality and the need for an earlier operation to have been carried out”.

He said new evidence “casts serious doubt upon the accuracy and reliability” of the prosecution evidence.

It is also argued on Sellu’s behalf that the trial judge “misdirected” the jury in certain respects, including a claim that he “failed adequately” to explain to the jury the meaning of gross negligence.

The appeal is being contested by the prosecution.

The hearing continues on Thursday.