Judge deciding seriously-ill child’s future appeals to lawyers ahead of hearings

A High Court judge preparing to decide whether a seriously-ill child should be allowed to die has told lawyers that he wants the “temperature” of exchanges kept down during hearings.

Mr Justice MacDonald is due to make decisions about the future of five-year-old Tafida Raqeeb following a trial next week at the High Court in London.

He says he has been concerned about the “tenor” of written exchanges between lawyers representing hospital bosses, the youngster and her parents.

Tafida Raqeeb, who suffered a traumatic brain injury in February
Tafida Raqeeb suffered a traumatic brain injury in February (Family handout/PA)

Doctors treating Tafida, who turned five on June 10, at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel say there is no chance of recovery.

Hospital bosses want Mr Justice MacDonald to decide whether stopping “life-sustaining treatment” is in the youngster’s best interests.

Tafida’s mother, solicitor Shelina Begum, and father Mohammed Raqeeb, a construction consultant, want to move her to Gaslini children’s hospital in Genoa, Italy.

The couple, from Newham, east London, say Gaslini is the Italian equivalent of Great Ormond Street Hospital in London and specialists there are willing to treat their daughter.

Shelina Begum outside the Royal Courts of Justice in London
Shelina Begum outside the Royal Courts of Justice in London (Sian Harrison/PA)

“I am concerned with an issue of the utmost gravity,” Mr Justice MacDonald told lawyers at a preliminary hearing in London on Thursday.

“It is incumbent on advocates to keep the temperature down.”

He added: “I have been concerned about the tenor of some of the correspondence.”

The judge has been told that Tafida suffered a traumatic brain injury in February and is receiving life-support treatment.

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