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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Adam May

Archie Battersbee's life support set to end on Saturday after final court bid fails

Archie Battersbee’s family has been told his life support will be turned off at 10am on Saturday as a campaign group admits "all legal routes have been exhausted".

Christian Concern announced the family had been told tonight that the 12-year-old's life-supporting treatment would end before the European Court of Human Rights then said it will not intervene in the case after a request from his family.

It comes after Archie's family lost their latest legal bid to have him transferred from hospital to a hospice to die before announcing they intended to continue their efforts at the ECHR.

A spokesman with Christian Concern, which is supporting Archie Battersbee's family, said: "All legal routes have been exhausted. The family are devastated and are spending precious time with Archie."

Parents Hollie Dance and Paul Battersbee, who are separated but both live in Southend, Essex, applied to the Court of Appeal today after losing a High Court bid to have him moved to a hospice before his life-sustaining treatment is withdrawn.

The Court of Appeal confirmed shortly after 6.30pm today that permission to appeal had been refused.

Archie's family have been told his life-sustaining treatment will be withdrawn from 10am on Saturday, campaign group Christian Concern said (PA)

Christian Concern then announced the boy’s family had been told his life-sustaining treatment will be withdrawn from 10am on Saturday.

In response, Barts Health NHS Trust said its position remained the same in that no changes will be made to Archie’s care “until the outstanding legal issues are resolved”.

His parents had fought a long-running legal battle over the withdrawal of treatment, which ultimately failed on Wednesday when the European Court of Human Rights refused to intervene in that initial battle.

Their focus then shifted to trying to get their son moved to a hospice but, in a ruling at the High Court this morning, Mrs Justice Theis concluded it was not in Archie’s best interests to be moved.

And the ECHR has now refused to intervene in that fight, too.

Archie's family have been told the European Court of Human Rights won't intervene in the case (Jonathan Buckmaster)

In an interview with Sky News, recorded on Friday, Archie's mother Hollie Dance, of Southend, Essex, said she is "pretty broken" and that the day had been "absolutely awful".

Breaking down, she said: "The last however many weeks since 7th April, I don't think there's been a day that hasn't been awful really."

Ms Dance added: "It's been really hard. Despite the hard strong face and appearance obviously in front of the cameras up until now, I've been pretty broken."

She said the hospital had made it clear there were no more options and that life support would be withdrawn at 10am on Saturday.
Asked if there was anything more she can do, Ms Dance said: "No. I've done everything that I promised my little boy I'd do. And I've done it."

A spokesman for the European Court of Human Rights said it had received a request from representatives of Archie's parents under Rule 39 which allow it to apply "interim measures" in "exceptional" cases where it "considers that the applicant faces a real risk of serious, irreversible harm if the measure is not applied".

But, the spokesman said: "The submissions did not appear to contain an explicit request for the Court to take a specific action under Rule 39 of the Rules of Court.

"In relation to the Convention complaints under Articles 6 and 8, as they related to the request to transfer of Archie Battersbee into hospice care for his withdrawal of treatment, the President of the Court decided that these complaints fell outside the scope of Rule 39."

Hollie Dance has fought for her son through a number of legal challenges (PA)

Earlier on Friday, High Court judge Mrs Justice Theis said the lad's best interests "must remain at the core of any conclusions reached by this court".

She went on: “When considering the wishes of the family, why those wishes are held, the facilities at the hospice, what Archie is likely to have wanted … the risks involved in a transfer … and the increasing fragility of his medical condition, I am satisfied that when looking at the balancing exercise again his best interests remain as set out (in the ruling of July 15), that he should remain at the hospital when treatment is withdrawn.

“The circumstances outlined by Dr F of the physical arrangements at the hospital and the arrangements that can be made will ensure that Archie’s best interest will remain the focus of the final arrangements to enable him peacefully and privately to die in the embrace of the family he loved.

“The parents in the email from their solicitors on August 2 confirmed, in principle, their willingness to co-operate in these arrangements.”

Archie has been in a coma since he was found unconscious at his home in Essex on April 7 (PA)
Archie Battersbee's brother kisses Archie on the head in hospital (PA)

Mrs Justice Theis concluded her judgment by saying: “I return to where I started, recognising the enormity of what lays ahead for Archie’s parents and the family.

“Their unconditional love and dedication to Archie is a golden thread that runs through this case.

“I hope now Archie can be afforded the opportunity for him to die in peaceful circumstances, with the family who meant so much to him as he clearly does to them.”

Following the ruling, Ms Dance, who feels a hospice would allow for Archie to have a more private and dignified death, said: “All our wishes as a family have been denied by the authorities.

“We are broken, but we are keeping going, because we love Archie and refuse to give up on him.”

Paul Battersbee, Archie's dad, outside the Royal London hospital (PA)

The judge refused permission to appeal against her High Court ruling, after lawyers for the family requested it.

Later, a spokesperson for the judiciary confirmed that the Court of Appeal had received an application from Archie’s family for permission to appeal.

Mrs Justice Theis granted a stay on the withdrawal of treatment until 2pm today to allow time for an appeal to be lodged.

But the Court of Appeal confirmed shortly after 6.30pm this evening that permission to appeal had been refused.

The boy has been in a coma since he was found unconscious by his mother in April and is being kept alive by a combination of medical interventions, including ventilation and drug treatments, at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, east London.

Archie's parents won't be able to take their son to a hospice for his final moments (PA)

After the update from the Court of Appeal this evening, Christian Concern – which is supporting the family – said Archie’s legal team had applied to the European court again.

This time, they were challenging the High Court ruling made this morning, arguing that there had been a violation of articles six and eight of the European Convention on Human Rights, the group said.

Article six is the right to a fair trial and article eight is the right to respect for private and family life.

The family had sought permission in the UK to challenge Mrs Justice Theis’s ruling but the Court of Appeal judges considering the application concluded the High Court judge had dealt “comprehensively with each of the points raised on behalf of the parents”.

Hollie Dance speaks to the media outside the Royal London hospital in Whitechapel (PA)

The Court of Appeal judges said they had “reached the clear conclusion that each of her decisions was right for the reasons she gave”.

They added: “It follows that the proposed appeal has no prospect of success and there is no other compelling reason for the Court of Appeal to hear an appeal.”

The Court of Appeal judges also said one of the arguments presented by Archie’s parents was “flawed legally”, adding: “It is also not easy to understand as it seeks to argue that Archie’s best interests have ceased to be relevant.”

Hollie Dance has previously said a hospice agreed to take Archie (PA)

Doctors treating the schoolboy for the last four months declared Archie to be “brain-stem dead”, prompting a lengthy but ultimately failed legal battle by his family to continue his life support treatment in the hope he would recover.

Archie has been in a coma since he was found unconscious at his home in Essex on April 7.

Ms Dance believes he was taking part in an online challenge at the time he became ill. He has not regained consciousness since.

A High Court order made in July requires that Archie remains at the Royal London Hospital while his treatment is withdrawn.

A family spokeswoman said a hospice had agreed to take him.

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