Monday, May 21

Alfie Evans’ father visited Pope Francis in Rome

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Alfie Evans’ father has met with the pope for 20 minutes, asking him to “save our son”. The 23-month-old boy is currently receiving life-support at Alder Hey hospital in Liverpool.

Tom Evans, the father aged 21, and his partner Kate James, aged 20, have filed an application to the supreme court to appeal the ruling that stated that Alfie is taken off life support. They are in the midst of fighting to take their child to Rome for further treatment.

Tom posted a photo on Facebook of him kissing Pope Francis’ hand, with a caption:

“Alfie, we will do everything for you … We won’t allow your life to be taken. Your holiness, save our son.”

The most recent Sunday blessing in St Peter’s Square given by the pope was dedicated to Alfie. He said he hoped that Alfie would “always be respected in dignity and cared for in a way suitable to [his]conditions, with the agreement of family members, doctors and health workers”. The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales also stated that its members were praying for Alfie and his parents.

The couple previously lost in the high court, court of appeal, and European Court of Human Rights, where the judges concluded that further treatment would be futile in the child’s semi-vegetative state. Evans and James’ latest appeal is based on the Habeas Corpus Act 1679, to examine the legality of a detention, and that their son is being wrongly detained by the hospital. The Supreme Court refused to consider the case in March as it was the same legal argument, although with a different legal term, and that moving Alfie to Italy would be “contrary to his best interest”. The judges also said that he was not being “detained” in hospital or “deprived of liberty… the doctrine of habeas corpus”.

An appeal court panel consisting of Lord Justice Davis, Lady Justice King, and Lord Justice Moylan upheld a ruling by the high court judge Mr Justice Hayden. This endorsed a detailed end-of-life care plan.

An Alder Hey hospital spokesperson said:

“The supreme court will consider the application for permission to appeal [against]the decision of the court of appeal. Our priority is to continue providing Alfie with the best care possible.”

Pope Francis intervened in Charlie Gard’s case last July, offering a Vatican passport to transfer him to an Italian hospital. Charlie was a British toddler who died of a rare genetic disease. His parents also fought a long court battle to take him abroad for treatment.

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About Author

Nadine is a hybrid British-Egyptian, working to complete the International and European law bachelor, with a public international law and human rights specialisation, in The Hague. Her interests also lie in family law, alternative dispute methods, and transnational issues. She joined Legal Loop in August 2017.

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