22 July 2022

Archie Battersbee’s parents want evidence considered for a third time

22 July 2022

The parents of a 12-year-old boy left in a “comatose state” after suffering “catastrophic” brain damage in an accident at home three months ago want a High Court judge to consider evidence for a third time.

Three Court of Appeal judges are overseeing  the latest stage of Archie Battersbee’s case at a hearing in London.

Archie’s parents, Hollie Dance and Paul Battersbee, of Southend, Essex, have mounted an appeal bid after a High Court judge ruled that doctors could lawfully stop treatment.

Mr Justice Hayden delivered a ruling last week after reviewing evidence at a hearing in the Family Division of the High Court in London.

Barrister Edward Devereux QC, who is leading Archie’s parents’ legal team, on  Friday told three appeal judges that the case should be remitted to a High Court judge for a further hearing

Appeal judges Sir Andrew McFarlane, the president of the Family Division of the High Court and the most senior family court judge in England and Wales, Lady Justice King and Lord Justice Peter Jackson are due to finish hearing arguments in the next few hours.

Sir Andrew said they aimed to deliver a ruling on the appeal on Monday.

Judges have heard how medical evidence showed that Archie was in a “comatose state”.

Mr Justice Hayden had described what happened  as a “tragedy of immeasurable dimensions”.

But he said medical evidence was “compelling and unanimous” and painted a “bleak” picture.

Hollie Dance (Brian Farmer/PA) (PA Wire)

Mr Devereux QC has argued that Mr Justice Hayden had not given “real or proper weight” to Archie’s previously expressed wishes and religious beliefs; not given “real or proper weight” to Archie’s family’s wishes; failed to carry out a “comprehensive evaluation” of the benefits and burdens of continuing life-support treatment; and had been wrong to conclude that treatment was burdensome and futile.

He told appeal judges: “The overall case of the parents is that Mr Justice Hayden’s decision was driven almost wholly by what is in Archie’s medical best interests and not careful, clear, understandable and comprehensive evaluation of Archie’s best interests in the wider sense.”

Archie Battersbee’s father, Paul Battersbee, outside the Royal Courts of Justice in London. (Kirsty O’Connor/PA) (PA Wire)

Judges have heard how Ms Dance found Archie unconscious with a ligature over his head on April 7.

She thinks he may have been taking part in an online challenge.

The youngster has not regained consciousness.

Doctors treating Archie at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, east London, think he is “brain-stem dead” and say continued life support treatment is not in his best interests, His parents disagree.

Bosses at the hospital’s governing trust, Barts Health NHS Trust, had asked for decisions on what medical moves are in Archie’s best interests.

Another High Court judge, Mrs Justice Arbuthnot, initially considered the case.

She concluded, after an earlier hearing, that Archie was dead.

But Court of Appeal judges upheld a challenge by Archie’s parents against decisions taken by Mrs Justice Arbuthnot and said the evidence should be reviewed by Mr Justice Hayden.

The best videos delivered daily

Watch the stories that matter, right from your inbox