As the tragic case of Alfie Evans drags on, Tracey Morris and her sidekick Linda Byrne O’Riordan have inserted themselves into the “Alfie’s Army” group of protesters outside Liverpool’s Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, and various other Hoaxtead pushers have jumped into the fray to stir things up even further.
Alfie’s parents, Tom Evans and Kate James, launched another emergency appeal yesterday, in hopes of taking their son to a hospital in Rome, where he would be offered palliative care. The Italian government had apparently offered Alfie Italian citizenship in order to facilitate his transfer to Rome, and a “military grade” air ambulance was on stand-by during the court hearing. As the legal argument got under way at the Royal Courts of Justice, two people believed to be from a German air ambulance crew were escorted from the hospital.
Following arguments, the three-judge appeals tribunal ruled against the parents on all grounds, backing Tuesday’s High Court decision. Yesterday’s claim by the parents included the threat that medical staff involved in Alfie’s treatment could face criminal charges in Italy if he dies.
According to The Guardian,
The high court ruled on Tuesday that Alfie may be allowed home from Alder Hey, where his life support has been withdrawn following a long legal fight, but barred the parents from taking their son to the hospital in Vatican City. Mr Justice Hayden said that although Alfie had been a “fighter” since his life support had removed, his undiagnosed degenerative condition had “almost entirely wiped out” his brain matter and he stood no chance of recovery.
It is worth noting that physicians from Italy had previously agreed with Alfie’s UK doctors that the child stands absolutely no hope of recovery; if he had been transported to Italy, it would have been to receive palliative care, not some miracle cure.
Tuesday’s High Court decision also stated that Alfie could be allowed to go home with his parents for palliative care, but this option seems to have been ignored. It seems clear that the courts are attempting to find a middle ground which will allow Alfie to die with dignity, while respecting the wishes of his parents; however, things have reached such a fever pitch that it’s unlikely a reasonable accommodation will be made.
While the case itself is emotionally gripping, we believe that the current tensions around the fate of little Alfie have been exacerbated a hundred-fold by people like Tracey, Linda, Wesley Hall, and their ilk.
Tracey and Linda got their three seconds of fame (yes, it was originally to have been 15 minutes, but they got the discounted version), appearing very briefly on BBC:
Sadly, Tracey’s name was not shown, but at least she was wearing an appropriately tragic t-shirt.
For her part, Tracey not only posted a record-breaking 11 live-streamed videos on Facebook yesterday (which we are not going to publish here because they’re basically just Tracey screaming at the top of her very capacious lungs), but managed to post a number of inflammatory comments as well. Here’s a small selection:
…and so on and so forth, ad infinitum.
Wesley Hall leapt in with an attempt to smear Mr Justice Hayden, who handed down the High Court judgment in February, and heard the parents’ appeal on Tuesday: Wesley’s claim that Judge Hayden “ridiculed Alfie Evans legal advisors” is a reference to the judge’s expressed disapproval of some of Tom Evans’ lawyer’s tactics, which could have earned him a citation for contempt of court.
And yes, Wesley, Rochdale Borough Council had a legal representative in the 2005 case, which was not, as you claim, the “uncovering of Satanic ritual abuse”.
It’s customary for both sides in a legal dispute to have legal representation, which we’re sure Wesley knows from bitter experience.
And the case in question was not, as Wesley seems to think, the Rochdale SRA fiasco, but rather involved an application by the BBC for an order permitting them to disclose the identity of two social workers involved in the original Rochdale ‘satanic abuse’ investigations. It took us all of five seconds to Google this, just in case Wesley ever decides to ever bother, you know, fact-checking anything.
Oh, but he’s not only claiming that Mr Anthony Haydon QC, as he then was, had had the unmitigated gall to represent Rochdale MBC…he’s also slamming him for writing a legal handbook about the issue of children and same-sex families. Homophobic much, Weaselly?
He also tries to smear Alder Hey Hospital, bringing up the 2001 retained organs scandal, in which Alder Hey and other hospitals within the NHS were retaining patients’ organs without family consent.
Hospital staff affected
As you might expect, all of this attention has made life very difficult for those who work at the hospital, attempting to deliver the best possible care to their patients. According to a BBC story,
Over the past fortnight, hospital chair Sir David Henshaw said, staff had endured a “barrage” of abuse. …
In an open letter, Sir David and chief executive Louise Shepherd said staff had been “deeply affected” by Alfie’s “desperate” story.
“We share the heartbreak that occurs when a child cannot be cured and when a child dies,” they wrote.
“All of us feel deeply for Alfie and his whole family and we continue to do everything we can to support them as best we can, just as we have for the last 17 months”.
But, they said, staff had recently been the subject of “unprecedented personal abuse that has been hard to bear”.
The hospital has seen several protests in recent weeks, and police have investigated claims patients and staff were intimidated.
Sir David and Ms Shepherd said the previous fortnight had been “a very difficult time.”
“As an organisation, we have endured attacks upon our motivation, our professionalism and our ethics,” they said.
Charges may be brought for abuse of judges
Meanwhile, The Telegraph reports that judges who are subject to verbal abuse in the courts and online might have to bring prosecutions against their abusers.
Lord Burnett of Maldon said the possibility of prosecuting online trolls was “should be looked at” but warned that it was often too difficult to find the identity of the person involved.
His comments come in the wake of abuse online of judges involved in the Alfie Evans case, in particular Mr Justice Hayden, the High Court judge who ruled in February that the terminally ill child’s life support could be withdrawn.
A petition calling for the judge to step down and describing him as a “disgrace to our legal system” had received more than 14,000 signatures by Wednesday afternoon.
Lord Burnett told the Lords Constitution Committee that abuse “hurled at judges in the courtroom” was often shrugged off but in persistent cases “the contempt jurisdiction should be explored more fully”. …
He said the abuse was “capable of undermining the rule of law because it erodes confidence in an institution which doesn’t deserve to have its confidence eroded”.
Police watching social media trolls
Some relief could be on the way for those who’ve been attacked by online trolls using the Alfie Evans case as a springboard, however: Merseyside Police issued a statement yesterday, pointing out that some trolls had already been pointed out, and that they would be keeping an eye on social media discussions regarding the case. Obviously people are allowed their opinions, but threats of violence, or egging people on to “storm that hospital” (just as an example, naming no names) should not be tolerated.
Edited to add:
This synopsis of Alfie Evans’ medical history, current condition, and the “treatment” options offered by the hospital in Italy is basic required reading for anyone wishing to understand what’s happening. We’re reprinting it from Dr Dominic Pimenta’s Twitter feed.