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Parents of Charlie Gard walk out of High Court hearing

13 July 2017 12:14
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Parents of Charlie Gard walk out of High Court hearing

Parents of Charlie Gard walk out of High Court hearing

Update 1.08pm: The parents of terminally-ill baby Charlie Gard have walked out of a High Court hearing where a judge has been asked to review treatment decisions.

The couple walked out about two hours into today's hearing. Mr Gard stood up and said: "I thought this was supposed to be independent."

Chris Gard and Connie Yates want Mr Justice Francis 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 United States.

Specialists at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, where Charlie is being cared for, say the therapy is experimental and will not help.

The couple, who are in their 30s and come from Bedfont, west London, are mounting the latest stage of their fight at a hearing in the Family Division of the High Court.

Charlie's parents have already lost battles in the High Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court in London.

They have also failed to persuade European Court of Human Rights judges to intervene.

The couple now want Mr Justice Francis to carry out a fresh analysis of their case.

Mr Justice Francis had earlier told the hearing: "If there is important evidence which suggests that I should change my decision then I will change it."

Barrister Grant Armstrong, who is leading Charlie's parents' legal team, indicated the couple thought they had evidence which was new.

He said the plan was for a specialist in the US who was offering therapy to give evidence at the hearing via a link from America.

And he said there was evidence to suggest the proposed therapy would not be futile.

Mr Armstrong said the American doctor offering treatment was a "world authority".

Mr Armstrong said: "The parents seek to re-open the case in relation to the chances of success of treatment."

He said Great Ormond Street doctors had agreed to keep providing life-support treatment pending the outcome of the latest stage of litigation.

Mr Armstrong said Charlie's parents' unease at decisions made by judges is shared by members of the public.

Mr Justice Francis said he was unlikely to make a "final determination" on Thursday.

Earlier: The judge who ruled that terminally-ill baby Charlie Gard should be allowed to die with dignity says he will change his decision if presented with important new evidence.

Chris Gard and Connie Yates want Mr Justice Francis 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 United States.

Specialists at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, where Charlie is being cared for, say the therapy is experimental and will not help. They say life-support treatment should stop.

The couple, who are in their 30s and come from Bedfont, west London, are mounting the latest stage of their fight at a hearing in the Family Division of the High Court.

Charlie's parents have already lost battles in the High Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court in London.

They have also failed to persuade European Court of Human Rights judges to intervene. The couple now want Mr Justice Francis to carry out a fresh analysis of their case.

The judge, who in April ruled in favour of Great Ormond Street doctors and decided that Charlie should be allowed to ''die with dignity'', has told the couple that he had already analysed the case at a trial and would not rake over old facts.

But he said: "If there is important evidence which suggests that I should change my decision then I will change it."

Barrister Grant Armstrong, who is leading Charlie's parents' legal team, indicated that the couple thought they had evidence which was new.

He said the plan was for a specialist in the US who was offering therapy to give evidence at the hearing via a link from America. Mr Armstrong said a hospital in Rome had also made an offer.

And he said there was evidence to suggest that the proposed therapy would not be futile.

Mr Armstrong said the American doctor offering treatment was a "world authority".

"There is a respectable body of authoritative opinion," he said. "There are treatments available."

Mr Armstrong said: "The parents seek to re-open the case in relation to the chances of success of treatment."

He said Great Ormond Street doctors had agreed to keep providing life-support treatment pending the outcome of the latest stage of litigation.

:: August 4 2016 - Charlie Gard is born a ''perfectly healthy'' baby at full term and at a ''healthy weight''.

:: September 2016 - Charlie's parents notice that he is less able to lift his head and support himself than other babies of a similar age. Doctors discover that he has a rare inherited disease - infantile onset encephalomyopathy mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome (MDDS).

:: October 2016 - Charlie has become lethargic and his breathing is shallow and he is transferred to the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children in London on October 11.

:: December 2016 - Charlie spends his first Christmas in hospital with his parents putting a festive bib on the youngster and sharing a picture captioned ''our little elf''.

:: January 2017 - A crowdfunding page is set up to help finance trial therapy in the United States.

:: March 3 2017 - Great Ormond Street bosses ask Mr Justice Francis to rule that life-support treatment should stop.

:: April 11 - Mr Justice Francis says doctors can stop providing life-support treatment after analysing the case at a hearing in the Family Division of the High Court in London.

:: May 3 - Charlie's parents ask Court of Appeal judges to consider the case.

:: May 23 - Three Court of Appeal judges analyse the case and dismiss the couple's appeal two days later.

:: June 8 - Charlie's parents lose fight in the Supreme Court - his mother screams as justices announce their decision.

:: June 20 - Judges in the European Court of Human Rights start to analyse the case after lawyers representing Charlie's parents make written submissions.

:: June 27 - European court judges refuse to intervene. A Great Ormond Street spokeswoman says the European Court decision marks ''the end'' of a ''difficult process''. She says there will be ''no rush'' to change Charlie's care and says there will be ''careful planning and discussion''.

:: June 29 - Charlie's parents say his life-support will be switched off on Friday June 30.

:: June 30 - They say GOSH has agreed to ''give us a little bit more time'' with Charlie. They ask for privacy ''while we prepare to say the final goodbye".

:: July 2 - Pope Francis calls for the couple to be allowed to ''accompany and treat their child until the end'', saying he has followed the case with ''affection and sadness''.

:: July 4 - Bambino Gesu, the Vatican's children's hospital in Rome, offers to take Charlie in.

:: July 10 - Charlie's parents return to the High Court and ask Mr Justice Francis to carry out a fresh analysis of the case. Mr Justice Francis said he will consider any new evidence.

Source: breakingnews.ie

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