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Families must be supported, not disempowered, if our courts want to win back public confidence



Belfast Telegraph letters to the Editor

Belfast Telegraph letters to the Editor

Belfast Telegraph letters to the Editor

During the last week of baby Charlie Gard's tragically short life, it was deeply deplorable that members of staff at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London were subjected to threats and abuse.

No blame can possibly be attached to the doctors, nurses and technicians responsible for baby Charlie's care.

There is, however, legitimate cause for public concern over the way baby Charlie's case has been handled by the executive and legal powers-that-be.

Many people have come to identify very strongly with Connie Yates and Chris Gard in their uphill struggle against the courts to find help for their critically ill baby.

Claims by hospital administrators and lawyers that they were acting impartially in baby Charlie's best interests were significantly undermined when the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (Cafcass) appointed pro-euthanasia activist Victoria Butler-Cole to serve as Charlie's "guardian".

It makes a travesty of justice when a non-elected public body exploits its authority to reinforce the position of the Establishment and advance an ideological agenda by no means universally accepted by the general population.

Supporters of Yates and Gard are within their rights to question the trustworthiness of a system which does not recognise the rights of parents to be the primary teachers and protectors of their children.

If confidence is going to be restored, there must be a reorientation of the law in favour of supporting families, rather than disempowering them.


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Belfast Telegraph