Alfie Evans’ parents returned to court Wednesday to request that their son be allowed treatment, as both Germans and Italians stand ready to transport him.
Tom Evans and Kate James appeared before the U.K. Court of Appeals at 2:15 local time on Wednesday, seeking to overturn U.K. High Court Justice Anthony Hayden’s Tuesday ruling that prevented their young son from being transported to Italy for treatment, according to the Mirror. Both German and Italian medical teams are standing by ready to transport Evans to their respective hospitals should the appeals court justices finally rule in Tom and Kate’s favor. Alfie has continued to breathe on his own for over 36 hours, defying the expectations of doctors at Alder Hey Hospital since they removed his life support at 9:17 p.m. local time on Monday night.
The judges, Lord Justice McFarlane, Lady Justice King and Lord Justice Coulson, delayed the hearing for half an hour to allow for the arrival of the barristers, or lawyers. The three appeals court judges then raised concerns over a new development — that the mother and father were being represented separately and that their child was, according to some reports, struggling.
James is now being represented by Jason Coppel who, after a short adjournment, informed the judges that she relayed to him over the phone that Evans was in need of immediate medical intervention if he was to survive.
“I have spoken to her directly,” Coppel told the court. “The purpose of the phone call was to say that Alfie was struggling and needed immediate intervention to ensure that he survives at least for the purposes of today and she asked me if I would pass that on to the court and ask that the court invite the hospital to take the appropriate steps.”
The justices also noted that the father sought to begin private prosecution on Tuesday over alleged conspiracy to murder against three doctors involved in the child’s treatment.
Paul Diamond of the Christian Legal Centre, formerly the family’s lawyer and now representing only Tom, argued the father held no hostility toward the National Health System (NHS) but that their were “tensions.” Lord Justice Coulson disagreed.
“Your client purported to take out a private prosecution to have three named doctors charged with the criminal offence of conspiracy to murder. Those summonses were served on the doctors and I hear you say that there is no hostility to the NHS,” Coulson said, according to the Mirror.
“There are rather more than tensions … That simply doesn’t square with there being no hostility to the NHS. As my children would say ‘end of,’” he added.
Diamond also informed the court that an Italian military air ambulance was on standby to transport Evans to Gesu Bambino Pediatric Hospital by request of Pope Francis. Lord Justice McFarlane replied, however, that Italy and the Vatican have “no jurisdiction” over legal decisions concerning Evans. Police reportedly escorted a German air ambulance crew from Alder Hey earlier on Wednesday. The German medical crew had arrived with a ventilator and was speaking with the family when hospital staff asked them to leave and had them escorted from the building.
Tom remained resolute in his quest to have his son treated, Diamond told the court. The father would “leave no stone unturned” to “save my boy,” according to Diamond.
Lady Justice King, however, argued that “there is an acceptance that Alfie is dying.” Diamond replied that Alfie’s continued breathing since the removal of his life support signified a “significant change of circumstances” and that there were alternatives to letting him die. The child could be “kept prisoner” at Alder Hey despite the offer of “alternative, fantastic care available for him,” according to Diamond.
The possibility exists that Evans could have some pleasure in life, Diamond argued and that whether or not that happens is beyond anyone’s knowledge.
Justice King remained unmoved.
“The evidence is that he is unlikely to have pain, but that tragically everything that would allow him to have some appreciation of life, or even the mere touch of his mother, has been destroyed irrevocably,” King said.
The hearing is ongoing.
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