5 Jan 2011

Paramedics 'not told' Jackson given powerful drug

10:14 pm on 5 January 2011

A preliminary hearing has begun in Los Angeles to determine whether the doctor who treated Michael Jackson in his final days should stand trial for manslaughter.

Prosecutors say Conrad Murray's negligence in treating the singer for insomnia led to his death in June 2009.

Dr Murray has pleaded not guilty to involuntary manslaughter, arguing that he did not cause the 50-year-old's death.

Jackson died from an overdose of a powerful anaesthetic, combined with other drugs and the death was determined by the Los Angeles coroner to be a homicide, the BBC reports.

In his opening statement on Tuesday, prosecutor David Walgren said Jackson was already dead when his doctor summoned help.

Mr Walgren said Dr Murray did not mention to paramedics that he had given Jackson propofol, a powerful surgical anaesthetic which is normally only used in hospitals.

The singer's personal assistant described what he called chaotic scenes at the Jackson family home the day he died, telling the hearing it was "a horrible, crazy experience".

The judge is to decide whether prosecutors have enough evidence to try the cardiologist. The hearing is expected to last several days.

Dr Murray faces up to four years in prison if convicted.