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Parents of Charlie Gard have 48 hours to present new evidence

By Brian Farmer

The parents of terminally ill baby Charlie Gard are preparing for another round in their fight to be allowed to take him abroad for treatment.

Chris Gard and Connie Yates, who are in their 30s and come from west London, want a judge to rule that 11-month-old Charlie, who suffers from a rare genetic condition and has brain damage, should be allowed to undergo a therapy trial in the US.

Specialists at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, where Charlie is being cared for, have said therapy proposed by a doctor in America is experimental and would not help.

Great Ormond Street doctors say life-support treatment should stop.

Charlie's parents asked European Court judges to consider their claims after losing battles in the High Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court in London. But Strasbourg judges refused to intervene.

The couple have now asked a High Court judge in London to carry out a fresh analysis of their case.

Mr Justice Francis, who in April ruled in favour of Great Ormond Street doctors and decided Charlie should be allowed to "die with dignity", oversaw a preliminary hearing in the latest round of litigation yesterday.

He told the couple that he had already analysed the case at a trial and would not rake over old facts.

But he said he would consider any new evidence and would examine the couple's arguments "calmly and fairly".

The judge, based in the Family Division of the High Court, said Charlie's parents should outline any new evidence they had.

He said he would reconsider their arguments on Thursday. Lawyers representing Great Ormond Street bosses and a guardian appointed to independently represent Charlie's interests told Mr Justice Francis they were struggling to find any new evidence.

Charlie's parents interrupted the hearing at one point.

Mr Gard yelled at a barrister representing Great Ormond Street bosses, saying: "When are you going to start telling the truth?"

Ms Yates told the judge: "He is our son. Please listen to us."

Barrister Grant Armstrong, who led Charlie's parents' legal team, told the judge that hospitals in the US and Italy had offered treatment. He said seven international experts had supported the treatment the couple wanted Charlie to have.

Mr Armstrong said there was "encouraging" evidence.

Katie Gollop QC, representing hospital bosses, told Mr Justice Francis there had been suggestions in the media that Great Ormond Street specialists did not have expert knowledge of Charlie's condition.

She said it had also been suggested that the hospital did not have the medicine a specialist in the United States was proposing to use. Ms Gollop told the judge: "All of that is simply untrue."

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