Christian group hits back at 'unfair' criticism over Alfie Evans case
A Christian group representing the parents of terminally-ill child Alfie Evans has hit back at "unfair" and "detrimental" criticism.
The Christian Legal Centre (CLC) has represented Alfie's parents, Tom Evans and Kate James, since the beginning of April as they have continued with legal battles to prevent his life support treatment being withdrawn at Alder Hey Children's Hospital in Liverpool.
Since treatment was withdrawn on Monday evening, Mr Evans, 21, and Ms James, 20, have had bids to take the child to Italy rejected by the High Court and the Court of Appeal and have since agreed to work with doctors in the hope of taking Alfie, aged 23 months, home.
High Court judge Mr Justice Hayden criticised the "malign hand" of law student Pavel Stroilov, linked to the CLC, after the court heard he had been party to Mr Evans lodging a private prosecution of hospital doctors, allegedly for murder.
But CLC chief executive Andrea Williams said the organisation did not support the criminal prosecution of doctors involved in Alfie's care.
In a statement released on Friday, she said: "In recent days, in addition to significant support we have endured some media and judicial criticism.
"We consider this unfair and detrimental.
"We reject the prejudicial and inflammatory comments made by Mr Justice Hayden.
"We also reject the portrayal by the Court of Appeal of our role in this case and the assistance that we have offered to Mr Evans."
Ms Williams, who said the CLC had acted pro bono for the family, said she believed the family's lack of legal representation at hearings in February had "major repercussions" for the rest of the case.
She added: "Again, we underline that our driving concern throughout our short involvement in this case has been to contend for little Alfie's best interests and to serve his parents.
"We continue to believe that Alfie is not best served by holding him, against his parents' wishes, in a hospital where he will be allowed to die, when another hospital is willing to offer him ongoing medical care, with minimal risk.
"At this difficult time, we ask everyone to respect the privacy of Mr Evans, Ms James and Alfie Evans.
"We entrust Alfie to the kindness of the Lord Jesus Christ, and remain steadfast in our commitment to protecting the gift of life and the freedom of parents."
On Thursday, Mr Evans pledged to work with Alder Hey on a plan to provide Alfie with the "dignity and comfort he needs".
In a statement on behalf of himself and Ms James, he asked supporters who had gathered outside the hospital to "return back to your everyday lives and allow myself, Kate and Alder Hey to form a relationship, build a bridge and walk across it".
Police have been stationed at the hospital this week as staff are said to have experienced "unprecedented personal abuse".