The parents of 23-months-old Alfie Evans, currently on life support at Alder Hey Hospital in Liverpool, engaged the support of Christian Legal Centre for the last-ditch stand to prevent their son's death in hospital.
On 9th April, the hospital applied to the High Court for permission to switch off Alfie's life support on Thursday, 12 April.
The boy's parents, Thomas Evans and Kate James, instructed Paul Diamond, a leading human rights barrister and the Christian Legal Centre's Standing Counsel, to represent them at a hearing, which took place before Mr Justice Hayden on 11th April.
Judge Hayden ruled that Alfie's life support should be withdrawn.
See: Roger Kiska, CLC Legal Counsel, speaks to Sky News about the outcome of the High Court hearing for 23-months-old Alfie Evans. Alfie's parents engaged the support of Christian Legal Centre for a last-ditch stand to prevent their son's death in hospital.
Alfie was born healthy, but after being admitted to Alder Hey in December 2016 with a chest infection, he developed a serious illness which the doctors have been unable to diagnose. This February, Mr Justice Hayden ruled that whatever were its causes, the damage to Alfie's brain was so severe that it was "in the best interests of Alfie" for the life support to be withdrawn. The parents' successive appeals were rejected by the Court of Appeal, the Supreme Court, and the European Court of Human Rights.
With the new legal team in charge, the parents are expected to file further applications and evidence in a last-minute attempt to persuade the courts to allow them to transport Alfie to an Italian hospital which has agreed to admit him for a diagnostic examination and to see if any treatment is possible.
Three foreign hospitals - in Rome, Milan and Munich - have offered to admit Alfie and help to diagnose him. However, the judge ruled in February that transportation to a foreign hospital by an air ambulance would be "futile" and not in Alfie's best interests.
Mr Diamond will now argue that Alfie's parents have seen their toddler son's condition improve significantly since the evidence was considered by the judge in February, and will rely on videos made in hospital to demonstrate that Alfie responds to being touched. Mr Diamond will seek the court's permission for an independent neurologist to examine Alfie and provide an up-to-date opinion on his condition.
Andrea Williams, Chief Executive of Christian Legal Centre, said: "Thomas and Kate never leave Alfie's side. They witness to his increasing responsiveness. The state cannot override their desire to seek further treatment for their son especially when such help is being offered by three different hospitals. The state must not pass and enforce a death sentence. Even at this eleventh hour, with heavy odds against us, we will fight to the end alongside Tom and Kate for their son's life."
12 APRIL UPDATE 1:
Today, the CLC issued a statement saying that Alfie Evans' parents are urgently appealing against the end of life order - they want to take him abroad for treatment. Responding to yesterday's (11 Apr) High Court ruling setting a time and date for the removal of Alfie Evans' life support, Tom Evans and Kate James, Alfie's parents, have today appealed the decision, asking the court to release their son into their care in order to access treatment abroad.
In yesterday's hearing, Paul Diamond, standing counsel to the Christian Legal Centre, argued the ancient right of habeas corpus, which requires a court to show a valid reason for a person's detention. He argued on behalf of Tom Evans and Kate James that, as Alfie's parents, they have "primary responsibility for their son and full parental rights" which should not be undermined by the state.
Tom and Kate argue that they should be able to remove him from Alder Hey Hospital in Liverpool, where he is being treated, without interference.
In his decision yesterday, Mr Justice Hayden refused to rule specifically on the issue of parental rights, saying that his 'only remit' was to set an end of life plan for Alfie.
The parents have instructed Paul Diamond, standing counsel to the Christian Legal Centre to make the urgent appeal and hope the court will hear from him before measures are taken that will end Alfie's life. There is currently a court order prohibiting publication of when and where Alfie will have his life support removed.
New video evidence of Alfie was submitted showing what looked like improved cognitive engagement as he was being weaned off some of his stronger medications.
Alfie was born healthy, but after being admitted to Alder Hey in December 2016 with a chest infection, he developed a serious illness which the doctors have been unable to diagnose. Experts acting on behalf of the hospital testified in earlier court proceedings that they saw no chance of recovery of brain activity and that it was in Alfie's "best interests" for his life sustaining treatment to be withdrawn. Tom and Kate have been fighting to have their son released to hospitals in either Italy or Germany who have agreed to provide a second opinion and continue treatment.
Yesterday, Mr Justice Hayden, more than six weeks since his original ruling to remove life support, agreed to view the new video evidence as a "kindness" towards Alfie's parents. The judge admitted that he was "not medically capable of determining what he was actually seeing in the video" but refused to postpone his ruling on end of life measures so that an independent paediatric neurologist could view the videos to determine if, in fact, Alfie was showing signs of improvement.
The parents hope their appeal will be heard this afternoon and in the meantime, any action to end their son's life will be delayed.
12 APRIL UPDATE 2 - Liverpool: Police block parents from taking Alfie Evans from hospital www.indcatholicnews.com/news/34699
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