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Michael Jackson case opens

In a courthouse in downtown Los Angeles, two years after Michael Jackson's death, lawyers for the prosecution and the defence laid out their opening statements yesterday -one asserting that Dr. Conrad Murray was guilty of involuntary manslaughter and the other blaming Jackson for his own death.David Walgren, representing the district attorney's office, stated that "The acts and omissions of Michael Jackson's personal doctor, Conrad Murray, directly led to his premature death at the age of 50"... "He … repeatedly acted with gross negligence, repeatedly denied appropriate care to his patient … it was Dr Murray's repeated incompetent and unskilled acts that led to Michael Jackson's death."Walgren stated that an incredible 15.5 litres of the surgical anaesthetic propofol was administered in the last two and half months of the singer's life.The Defence case is that just before he died, Jackson swallowed eight bottles of a drug called lorazepam. The Defence also allege that Jackson gave himself a dose of propofol on top of that, while Murray was out of the room, creating a "perfect storm in his body that killed him instantly".In response, the District Attorney stated that, "The evidence will reveal that much more than 25mg (of propofol) was given to put Michael Jackson to sleep."Strip away the hype and razzmatazz and the case can be summarised as follows;-1. Breach of duty - the DA needs to show that no doctor in their right mind would prescribe propofol outside of an operating theatre.2. Causation - the case will also hinge on the ability of the DA's expert toxicologist to persuade the jury that it was the propofol that killed MJ.I would have thought that the prosecution have a watertight case on both points and will be watching the case with interest over the next six weeks.James Bell is a Partner in the Russell Jones & Walker clinical negligence team. If you or a member of your family have a clinical negligence enquiry please call our expert clinical negligence solicitors on 0800 916 9049, fill in our short online claim form or email and one of our specialist clinical negligence team will be in touch.