Parents vow fight to ‘save life’ of Alfie Evans after losing latest legal battle
The UK’s highest court ruled there can be no further legal delay in the “desperately sad case”.
The parents of a baby boy at the centre of a life-support treatment battle have vowed to keep fighting to “save our son” after they lost the latest stage of their legal fight.
The UK’s highest court ruled on Friday that there can be no further legal delay in the “desperately sad case” of Alfie Evans.
But the 23-month-old’s father Tom described the decision as being based on “cruel bureaucracy” and pledged not to give up in their quest to keep him alive.
The parents failed to persuade Supreme Court justices to consider their case for a second time.
This is not justice. This is a cruel bureaucracy Tom Evans, Alfie's father
Mr Evans and Alfie’s mother Kate James, who are both aged in their early 20s, had made another application to the court after losing a second fight over their son at the Court of Appeal.
But on Friday a panel of three justices, headed by the court’s president Lady Hale, dismissed their application.
Despite the latest decision against them, the parents immediately vowed to carry on their fight.
In a statement released through Christian Concern, Mr Evans said: “We have asked them (judges) to watch the recent videos of Alfie, and their decision now admits that Alfie ‘looks like a normal boy’.
“However, their paperwork still says his brain no longer exists, his life is futile, he may not be allowed to go (to Rome, on the invitation of the Pope), but must be made to die – all in his own best interests. Only the paperwork matters to these people – the real child does not.
“This is not justice. This is a cruel bureaucracy.”
He added: “We will not give up. We will continue to fight, by all means available to us within the law, to save our son’s life.”
Lady Hale, Lord Kerr and Lord Wilson announced – after considering the parents’ application on paper – that Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool “must be free to do what has been determined to be in Alfie’s best interests”.
In their written decision, they said there was “no reason for further delay”.
They added: “There will be no further stay of the Court of Appeal’s order. The hospital must be free to do what has been determined to be in Alfie’s best interests.
“That is the law in this country. No application to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg can or should change that.”
Giving reasons for their decision, the justices said it was a “desperately sad case”.
They said: “It is sad principally, of course, for Alfie’s parents, for they love their little boy dearly and want to do all in their power to keep him alive.
“But it is also sad for the people who have been keeping Alfie alive for so long, the doctors and nurses who are treating him in Alder Hey Hospital.
“Those of us who have to deal with this case dispassionately as a point of law can feel for their sadness.”
The justices said: “Alfie looks like a normal baby, but the unanimous opinion of the doctors who have examined him and the scans of his brain is that almost all of his brain has been destroyed.
“No-one knows why. But that it has happened and is continuing to happen cannot be denied.
“It means that Alfie cannot breathe, or eat, or drink without sophisticated medical treatment.
“It also means that there is no hope of his ever getting better.”
In February, Mr Justice Hayden ruled that doctors at Alder Hey could stop treating Alfie against the wishes of his parents, after hearings in the Family Division of the High Court in London and Liverpool.
Specialists at Alder Hey said life-support treatment should stop and Mr Justice Hayden said he accepted medical evidence which showed that further treatment was futile.
Alfie’s parents wanted to move their son from Alder Hey to a hospital in Rome.
Mr Evans also said in his statement that they would launch another appeal.
He said: “We have instructed our lawyers to submit an urgent application to the European Court of Human Rights, and they have done so today.”