x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 24 September 2017

Parents of Charlie Gard given two days to prove their case

London high court asks for fresh evidence why 11-month-old should not be taken off life support

Chris Gard and Connie Yates, parents of critically ill 11-month-old Charlie Gard, arrive at the High Court in London on July 10, 2017. Andy Rain / EPA
Chris Gard and Connie Yates, parents of critically ill 11-month-old Charlie Gard, arrive at the High Court in London on July 10, 2017. Andy Rain / EPA

The parents of Charlie Gard, the critically ill 11-month-old whose case has become a global cause celebre, attracting interventions from Donald Trump and the Pope, were given fresh hope on Monday when a court in London gave them two days to present new evidence as to why their son should receive experimental treatment for his rare genetic condition.

Chris Gard and Connie Yates were told by judge Nicholas Francis to present fresh evidence by Wednesday afternoon to the High Court, with a final decision to be made at a hearing on Thursday. Their son is being treated at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, but the institution wants to turn off his life support systems because they feel he is untreatable.

During a day of high, raw emotion, the boy’s parents wept in court and shouted at legal representatives of the hospital. "When are you going to start telling the truth?" Mr Gard demanded of a barrister. They also attempted to have another judge hear the case, a move that Mr Francis rejected, saying "I did my job… I will continue to do my job."

But the judge said that there had to be "new and powerful" evidence to convince him that earlier rulings barring the family from travelling abroad for treatment could be overturned. "There is not a person alive who would not want to save Charlie," Mr Francis said. "If there is new evidence I will hear it." Previous rulings from British and European courts have said that Charlie could not receive the treatment for mitochondrial depletion syndrome, a condition that has left him with brain damage and unable to breathe unaided. Great Ormond Street Hospital applied for the court hearing because of "new evidence relating to potential treatment for his condition". Researchers working at a children’s hospital run by the Vatican had provided Great Ormond Street with more evidence regarding an experimental therapy, which hospitals in Rome and the US have offered to provide for Charlie. British doctors still believe that the treatment will not work and will only prolong the baby’s suffering.