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Alfie Evans’ parents urgently appeal against end of life order - parents want to take him abroad for treatment

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RESPONDING to yesterday’s 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of recovery of brain activity and that it was in Alfie’s “best interests” for his life sustaining treatment to be withdrawn.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 6 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.

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