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Plea from parents of terminally-ill baby Charlie Gard ‘inadmissible’, judges say

Specialists at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London said the therapy proposed by a doctor in the US is experimental.

Judges in the European Court of Human Rights have rejected a plea from the parents of terminally-ill baby Charlie Gard to intervene in the case.

Chris Gard and Connie Yates, who are in their 30s and come from Bedfont, west London, wanted 10-month-old Charlie Gard, who suffers from a rare genetic condition and has brain damage, to undergo a therapy trial in America.

But specialists at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, where Charlie is being cared for, say the therapy proposed by a doctor in the US is experimental and will not help the child.

After losing legal battles in the UK courts the couple then took their fight to the Strasbourg judges.

On Tuesday the ECHR announced the application to the court by the parents was “inadmissible” and said their decision was “final”.

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In a statement, the European Court announced that it had by a majority “endorsed in substance” the approach by the UK courts “and thus declared the application inadmissible”.

It added that “consequently”, the court “also considered that it was appropriate to lift the interim measure” which had required doctors to continue providing life support treatment to Charlie.

The statement said, in the proceedings before the European Court, Charlie’s parents had argued on their own behalf and that of their son that he was being “unlawfully deprived” of his liberty contrary to human rights legislation.

It said the parents had further alleged the UK court decisions “amounted to an unfair and disproportionate interference in their parental rights”.

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But the European court said the domestic courts “had been meticulous, thorough and reviewed at three levels of jurisdiction with clear and extensive reasoning giving relevant and sufficient support for their conclusions”.

It said the UK courts had concluded, “on the basis of extensive, high-quality expert evidence, that it was most likely Charlie was being exposed to continued pain, suffering and distress and that undergoing experimental treatment with no prospects of success would offer no benefit, and continue to cause him significant harm”.

A spokeswoman for Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Foundation Trust said: “Our thoughts are with Charlie’s parents on receipt of this news that we know will be very distressing for them.

“Today’s decision by the European Court of Human Rights marks the end of what has been a very difficult process and our priority is to provide every possible support to Charlie’s parents as we prepare for the next steps.

“There will be no rush by Great Ormond Street Hospital to change Charlie’s care and any future treatment plans will involve careful planning and discussion.”

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