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Hepatitis C criminal trial to be delayed?

In previous posts we have written about the many individuals throughout the nation who contracted hepatitis C, allegedly due to the actions of a lab technician who worked at a series of hospitals around the country, including Exeter. The infection was reportedly spread when the man diverted narcotics meant for those patients using an infected syringe. As a result of contracting the disease, some individuals have filed a civil medical malpractice lawsuit.

Perhaps not surprisingly the former hospital tech is also facing criminal charges related to the matter. Currently his trial in connection with the 32 former Exeter patients who are infected with hepatitis C is slated to begin at some point in October. Because of the complexity of the case and the extensive amount of paperwork tied to it, recently the man's defense attorneys requested that the trial be delayed. They sought a six month delay, which would push it out until April of next year.

The prosecution does not support a delay of that long of a period of time. It countered the request with three months rather than six. The reason behind not wanting to wait too long is fairly straightforward. According to the prosecution, several of the people who contracted the disease are either old or in very poor health. There is a fear that if the case takes too long to get started, those individuals will either become too ill to testify or possibly die.

The judge assigned to the matter indicated that it is up to the parties to reach a compromise on the matter. Should they ultimately decide on three months, it would then begin sometime after the first of the new year.

Source: Sea Coast Online, "Judge asks sides to compromise on Exeter hepatitis C trial date," Aaron Sanborn, April 12, 2013

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