Archie’s parents lose appeal
But their case could have been handled better by two High Court judges
The family of Archie Battersbee deserve our deepest sympathy.
On 7 April, his mother, Holly Dance, found the 12-year-old suspended by his neck from the banisters in the family home. He had been out of her sight for about 10 minutes. It’s thought he had had a tragic accident while messing around with the cord of his dressing gown. Though the ambulance arrived quickly, Archie’s brain had been starved of oxygen. He will never recover.
Archie’s mother and her former partner Paul Battersbee went to the Court of Appeal yesterday to hear the result of their latest legal challenge. Archie’s father, who has a history of heart disease, was taken ill on the way to the courtroom. He was not present to hear the senior family judge of England and Wales explain why the couple were not being given permission to appeal against an earlier ruling.
Sir Andrew McFarlane was courteous, patient and sympathetic. He was also clear, firm and decisive. And his ruling, supported by Lady Justice King and Lord Justice Peter Jackson, was undoubtedly correct.
But what emerged in court was that this case had not been handled quite as it should have been by judges in two separate High Court hearings. Although the outcome was never in doubt, it cannot have been in Archie’s best interests for the case to have taken so long to resolve.