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Parents of boy, 12, at centre of treatment fight set for appeal hearing

Undated family handout file photo of Archie Battersbee. Relatives of the 12-year-old boy at the centre of a life-support treatment dispute are preparing for a Court of Appeal fight (Hollie Dance/PA)
Undated family handout file photo of Archie Battersbee. Relatives of the 12-year-old boy at the centre of a life-support treatment dispute are preparing for a Court of Appeal fight (Hollie Dance/PA)

The parents of a 12-year-old boy at the centre of a life-support treatment dispute are preparing for a Court of Appeal hearing after a High Court judge concluded that the youngster was dead.

Mrs Justice Arbuthnot recently ruled that doctors could lawfully stop providing treatment to Archie Battersbee, after considering evidence at a trial in the Family Division of the High Court in London.

Court of Appeal judges are due to consider the case at a hearing in London on Wednesday.

Doctors treating Archie at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, east London, have told Mrs Justice Arbuthnot they think he is “brain-stem dead”.

Hollie Dance, Archie’s mother, outside the High Court (James Manning/PA)

They said treatment should end and Archie should be disconnected from a ventilator.

Archie’s parents, Hollie Dance and Paul Battersbee, of Southend, Essex, say his heart is still beating and want treatment to continue.

Lawyers representing the Royal London Hospital’s governing trust, Barts Health NHS Trust, asked Mrs Justice Arbuthnot to decide what moves were in Archie’s best interests

Mrs Justice Arbuthnot concluded Archie was dead, and said treatment should end.

But she said there was a “compelling reason” why appeal judges should consider the case.

Archie Battersbee court case
Archie’s father Paul Battersbee (James Manning/PA)

A barrister leading Archie’s parents’ legal team had argued evidence has not shown “beyond reasonable doubt” that he is dead.

Edward Devereux QC said the decision had been made on a balance of probabilities.

He argued a decision of such “gravity” should have been made on a “beyond reasonable doubt” basis.

Mrs Justice Arbuthnot decided appeal judges should consider that standard of proof issue.

Archie suffered brain damage in an incident at home in early April.

Ms Dance said she found her son unconscious with a ligature over his head on April 7 and thinks he might have been taking part in an online challenge.

He has not regained consciousness.