It has made world news, and rightly so, revealing crass insensitivity and Orwellian double-speak on behalf of the authorities who have hounded the King family who only seek the best medical care they can for their terminally ill child, Ashya.
Now, the CPS backs down and withdraws the warrant for arrest of the family, in the light of recent events. Apparently, they ‘urgently reviewed the case and we consider there is insufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction for any criminal offence. We have therefore decided to stop the criminal proceedings.’ That was from a spokesman of the CPS. Big of them. This was announced last night, Tuesday. The CPS issued the European arrest warrant on Saturday. Shouldn’t they have considered the evidence put before them at the time of the request for the issue of the warrant? No, it was probably a knee-jerk reaction, not a measured or considered response.
Wednesday, July 23 – Ashya admitted to Southampton General Hospital and undergoes extensive surgery for a brain tumour.
Wednesday, August 20 – Family apparently told by doctors that Ashya’s life expectancy was about 4 months, nothing more could be done. The father asked if his son could be treated with proton beam therapy. The doctors said ‘no.’ They were adamant that the therapy would not help their son.
Thursday, August 28 – At 2pm Ashya is taken from the hospital by his parents, and all travel quite legally to France with other family members. They intend selling their Spanish property and obtaining the proton treatment for Ashya in the Czech Republic - £65,000 it costs and they have already been in touch with the relevant clinic. At 8.35pm the hospital alerts the police that Ashya is missing – some 6 hours after the absence; is this criminal neglect on the part of the hospital?
Friday, August 29 – Based on information (later proven to be suspect or even false) from the hospital, the police issue an urgent appeal for information on the family’s whereabouts. CCTV images are used, branding the parents as criminals to all intents and purposes. Portsmouth city council apply to the High Court for Ashya to be made a temporary ward of court on the grounds that he is in ‘serious danger’ – false grounds, in fact. If apprehended, he will be under the care of a juvenile court rather than his parents. Many children have been unfairly taken from loving parents in this manner in Britain – while other children are left by the social services to die at the hands of monstrous parents; and let’s not dwell on the appalling situation that has prevailed in Rotherham (and doubtless other cities) regarding child rape blatantly ignored by police and social services. Topsy-turvy Britain.
Saturday, August 30 – UK police confirm they’ve obtained a European warrant for arrest due to ‘neglect’ by Ashya’s parents. About six hours later Hampshire police reveal that Ashya and his family have been found in Spain and taken to a Malaga hospital. No great detective work, really, since they were not active fugitives. Following internationally agreed protocol, the Spanish authorities have to arrest the parents.
Sunday, August 31 – Hampshire police defend their decision to issue the arrest warrant. Yet to everyone directly concerned it is obvious that Ashya was not ‘in grave danger’ and was in fact stable and placed in the hospital’s low dependency unit. This unforgiveable hubris of the police is noted.
Monday, September 1 – Head of the Southampton hospital now casts doubt on whether Ashya had just months to live. The hospital ‘very much regrets’ the breakdown in communication with the family. No real apology. No explanation why the messages passed to the police were economical with the truth. This unforgiveable hubris of the medical fraternity is noted. It’s cover our backs time, clearly.
Tuesday, September 2 – After public outcry, newspaper comment, petitions, the rather belated comments from UK politicians jumping on the bandwagon, the hospital states it is ‘willing to support’ Ashya’s transfer to Prague for the proton treatment. Later, that evening, the CPS drops ‘criminal proceedings’, the parents are released from Spanish prison and make their way several hundred miles from Madrid to Malaga to see their son. This is a good result but four days overdue; and it was no thanks to any UK official but to the power of common sense voiced by the people and the media.
The British Health Secretary calls it ‘unfortunate’ and ‘there had been misunderstandings along the way.’ Don’t expect any recriminations any time soon. The upper strata of officialdom – in the NHS, the police and the social services – will never accept blame. Throughout, double-speak and obfuscation was employed by those guardians of health, safety and law.
George Orwell and Franz Kafka saw it long ago.