Archie Battersbee’s life support to be withdrawn on Saturday morning

·3 min read
Archie Battersbee’s family have been told his life-sustaining treatment will be withdrawn from 10am on Saturday, campaign group Christian Concern said (Hollie Dance/PA) (PA Media)
Archie Battersbee’s family have been told his life-sustaining treatment will be withdrawn from 10am on Saturday, campaign group Christian Concern said (Hollie Dance/PA) (PA Media)

The family of Archie Battersbee have been told his life support is due to be withdrawn on Saturday morning after their legal fight to move him from hospital to a hospice came to an end.

A last-ditch plea to the European Court of Human Rights to intervene in the case was rejected late on Friday, following a High Court ruling that he must remain at Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, east London.

His parents had fought a long-running legal battle over the withdrawal of treatment and in recent days made bids to the High Court, Court of Appeal and European Court of Human Rights to have him transferred to a hospice to die.

Paul Battersbee and Hollie Dance have fought a long-running legal battle over the withdrawal of treatment (Jonathan Brady/PA) (PA Wire)
Paul Battersbee and Hollie Dance have fought a long-running legal battle over the withdrawal of treatment (Jonathan Brady/PA) (PA Wire)

The 12-year-old 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.

His family have been told that treatment will be withdrawn at 10am on Saturday.

A spokesman with campaign group Christian Concern, which is supporting Archie’s family, told the PA news agency: “All legal routes have been exhausted.

“The family are devastated and are spending precious time with Archie.”

Barts Health NHS Trust did not immediately update its statement, instead referring to its previous position which said no changes will be made to Archie’s care “until the outstanding legal issues are resolved”.

In a High Court ruling on Friday morning Mrs Justice Theis concluded it was not in Archie’s best interests to be moved to a hospice, and the Court of Appeal rejected permission to appeal that decision.

Christian Concern said the family had wanted to challenge the High Court ruling by arguing there had been a violation of articles six and eight of the European Convention on Human Rights.

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

But a spokesman for the European court 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, and that the complaints “fell outside the scope” of that rule and so it would not intervene.

The Court of Appeal judges said Mrs Justice Theis’ ruling in the High Court dealt “comprehensively with each of the points raised on behalf of the parents”.

The judges 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.”

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.