A lawyer for a doctor charged with killing a Midlands patient with a lethal injection of adrenalin a decade ago said he will fight her extradition to the UK.
Priya Ramnath, 39, was arrested at the Woodland Hills Hospital in Lufkin, Texas, where she was working as a licensed anaesthetist, on November 30 - almost 10 years after she fled the UK.
US Magistrate Judge Earl Hine said on Tuesday he needed to hear more testimony at a separate hearing on a later date before deciding whether Ramnath, who is in federal custody, should be granted bail.
The doctor moved to the US in 1998 just days after allegedly injecting Patricia Leighton, 51, from Burntwood, Staffordshire, with adrenalin against her colleagues’ advice.
She was charged with manslaughter but escaped prosecution because the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) missed a five-year deadline to apply for her extradition by three days.
It is thought Ramnath’s recent arrest follows the ratification of measures allowing extradition of British citizens from the US even if the usual time limit has expired.
After the hearing in the US district court in Lufkin, Texas, Ramnath’s lawyer Al Charanza told local news channel KTRE-TV: "Obviously they’re trying to push her to the UK.
They just want her to go back and face the trial there, but there’s a legal process that they go through to make sure that they actually have a legal warrant and the legal basis to take her back and that’s what we’re trying to fight."
He said he told the judge Ramnath would be willing to surrender her passport and volunteer for house arrest if he would grant her bail.
"Considering the circumstances and the possibility that she may, at some point, be taken to the United Kingdom to face charges, I think it’s extremely important that she be with her family here for that time that she is here," he said.
Llita Mistry, a family friend of mother-of-two Ramnath, told the news channel: "We are kind of disappointed. We were hoping that she would be out on bail today."
But she added: "We have faith and hopefully it’s going to work out for her. Mainly for her parents who are really, really upset about her being in jail and for her children’s sake."
The court heard Ramnath was applying to become a permanent resident of the US.
US prosecutors have said that Ramnath has overstayed her US visa but Ramnath’s lawyer said that, according to the law, she is allowed to stay in the US until her permanent residency interview, which is set for February 1.