David’s case was heard in the Royal Courts of Justice on 9 December 2015 and we are pleased to announce that he has been granted leave to appeal his conviction. The hearing was in front of three Lady Justices led by the Vice President of the Criminal Appeal Court Division, Lady Justice Dame Hallett. David was represented by Mark Ellison QC and some of his family and supporters were present at the hearing, which lasted about an hour and a half.
The Lady Justices accepted the arguments of Counsel, Mr Ellison, that there was new evidence that casts doubt on Mr Sellu’s conviction rendering it unsafe, and that his claims of jury misdirection by the trial judge should be heard. The main clinical points were that the prosecution’s assertion that Mr Hughes had only a 2.6% risk of mortality had David operated on him on the night of their first contact was a gross underestimate and failed to take a number of key risk factors into account. In short Mr Hughes was much sicker and less able to tolerate a major operation than the jury had been led to believe.
Moreover, the patient had been prescribed a powerful new anticoagulant or blood thinning tablet, Dabigatran which increased his risk of death from bleeding for as long as 48 hours after it was last administered. Unfortunately this drug was given without David’s knowledge and against his specific request that the patient be given nothing by mouth. We argue that some of the risks were caused by others looking after the patient.
As you can imagine, this marks what we hope is a key turning point in this case and we are clearly going to continue to work as hard as we have over the last year or so to clear this top surgeon’s name and the blight on his otherwise unblemished career. We thought you would like to be updated and we thank you for your continuing support. There is no timetable set yet for further hearings but please continue to check the website www.davidsellu.org.uk for further information. It is worth pointing out that leave to appeal involves another session in the court of appeal where we will be given a fuller chance to elaborate on the issues we raised at this first hearing. We expect this will be in the spring of next year.
We have nearly 2,000 signatures on the petition but we need more to give this issue greater impact. Please persuade your family, friends and work colleagues to visit the website and sign the petition.
David sends his best regards to you all and would like you to know that he and his family are hugely comforted by the many messages of support from his friends, colleagues and former patients.