A High Court judge has harangued ‘pro-life’ campaigners advising Alfie Evans’ parents especially the ‘malign hand’ of a Russian-born law student he branded ‘fanatical and deluded’.
Mr Justice Hayden slammed Pavel Stroilov, who works for the Christian Legal Centre (CLC) and believes Alfie’s doctors should be prosecuted for murder if he dies at Alder Hey in Liverpool.
CLC is part of a Christian campaign group called Christian Concern known for its opposition to abortion, homosexuality and ‘gender identity’ issues, which its supporters claimed has been ‘promoted globally by influential child abusers’.
Mr Stroilov, who is not a practicising lawyer but has been advising Alfie’s father Tom Evans, was accused of giving him ‘false hope’ by the High Court judge.
On Monday Mr Stroilov filed a private prosecution accusing doctors treating Alfie of murder and yesterday the judge described him as a ‘fanatical and deluded man’ whose advice had come ‘perilously close’ to contempt of court.
The family’s former lawyer Mary Holmes, who took their fight to the High Court and Strasbourg, has also said the pro-life lobby are exploiting the little boy and his ‘desperate’ parents.
She said: ‘These people I don’t believe are in it because they love Alfie – when this case is over they’ll move on to the next’.
Mr Justice Hayden slammed Pavel Stroilov, pictured outside Alder Hey, who was accused of not having the best interests of Alfie or his parents Tim and Kate at heart
The family of terminally ill toddler Alfie Evans have released pictures of the little boy clinging to life in his mother Kate’s arms
Mr Justice Hayden expressed worry that people like Mr Stroilov were trying to ‘peck away at the good advice’ given to Tom Evans and Kate James.
Stroilov had also helped Alfie’s father write a witness statement trying to convince the judge to let his son go to Italy.
Justice Hayden said the statement did ‘far more harm [to Alfie’s parents] than it does them good’, adding: ‘The statement is littered with bile, critical of those who have done so much to help Alfie’.
He also accused Stroilov of trying to ‘undermine the relationship between the parents and their official legal advisers and seriously distorted their views about their legal rights’ because Alder Hey was offering ‘world class’ care to Alfie and other children.
Referring to a statement which the parents’ representative Paul Diamond believed had been posted to the supporters’ Facebook group by Mr Stroilov and another supporter, the judge said he hoped it did not reflect Kate and Tom’s position.
The judge said: ‘This document does Mr Evans and Miss James far more harm than it does them good.
‘It is peppered with language that is inappropriate and obviously injudicious to their own cause. If it really reflects [the parents’] position, if they are wholly unreceptive to proper advice, then I suppose it has validity.
‘I would like to think they are receptive to good advice.’
He judge added: ‘I told [Tom} when he was here that not everyone in the Army [supporters’ group] has Tom’s back.
‘I hope this message can get to him.’
Mr Stroilov is the author of a 2011 book called ‘Behind the Desert Storm’ about Russian and American involvement in the Middle East.
It was described as being ‘devoid of any scholarly analysis’, ‘full of nonsense’ and ideas ‘borrowed from popular conspiracy theories’.
Alfie’s parents’ barrister, Paul Diamond (left), was told by the judge that he must avoid ’emotive nonsense’. The Christian Legal Centre, whose director is Andrea Minichiello Williams (right), believes Alfie’s doctors should be prosecuted for murder if he dies at Alder Hey
CLC is part of Christian Concern, a religious campaign group, and handles religious discrimination cases in the UK.
It says its purpose is ‘to defend Christians in the public sphere and to protect the freedom of Christians to live their lives in accordance with their Christian beliefs.’
Alfie’s parents’ barrister, Paul Diamond, had asked the judge to lift a court order stopping him leaving Alder Hey so he can travel to the Vatican’s Bambino Gesu Pediatric Hospital for care because he is still breathing without a ventilator.
At the start of the ongoing hearing, Mr Diamond said: ‘It’s really an application for common humanity and common sense.’
Mr Justice Hayden expressed worry that people like Mr Stroilov were trying to ‘peck away at the good advice’ given to the parents
But the judge interjected and told the lawyer to ‘confine himself to the law’ and avoid ’emotive nonsense’, later adding: ‘I don’t need to be reminded we have a human being. You do not have the moral high ground in this court. It is treacherous terrain.’
The lawyer who previously represented the family, Mary Holmes from MSB Solicitors in Liverpool, claims that the family are being exploited by the pro-life movement in Britain and abroad.
She told The Times: ‘These people I don’t believe are in it because they love Alfie. When this case is over they’ll move on to the next. Or they’ll find some other cause they can ride on the back of. I just think they pick on the vulnerable and they are easy prey’, adding they would ‘keep this child alive at any cost and not for the right reasons’.
She added: ‘It’s getting them in the public eye — it’s like, we’ve got involved, look what we’ve done, we’ve got an audience with the Pope.’
She said Tom Evans is a ‘desperate young man, and Kate’s [James] this desperate young woman’ who would do anything and turn to anyone if they thought it could save Alfie.
CLC’s executive director is Andrea Minichiello Williams, who reportedly has said it was a ‘big lie’ people are born gay and blamed the ‘lack of the father’ and ‘sometimes a level of abuse’ for it.
According to Buzzfeed she used British diving hero Tom Daley as an example of this saying he was ‘loved by all the girls and had girlfriends’ but had ‘lost his father to cancer just a few years ago’.
CLC’s top lawyer Roger Kiska said a friend of the family suggested that Tom Evans and Kate James contact them about supporting their son’s case.
Their intervention was followed by a campaign from within the Catholic Church and high profile support by Pope Francis.
Mr Kiska, who also spoke out during the tragic case of Charlie Gard, has denied they are exploiting Alfie’s case.
He told The Times: ‘We believe that Alfie deserves a fighting chance. The parents have every reason to believe he can get treatment abroad’, adding that Alfie’s parents were ‘fully aware’ of CLC’s views on various matters.
Andrea Minichiello Williams said: ‘Alfie continues to fight for his life in an extraordinary way, as do his parents and our lawyers.’
How Alfie Evans is being backed by a Christian legal group with strong views on homosexuality & abortion
Christian Concern and its sister organisation the Christian Legal Centre have been involved in various high profile campaigns since being founded in 2004.
Among the issues they campaign on are abortion, adoption, marriage, education, end of life, free speech and issues relating to sexual orientation.
The Christian Legal Centre also spoke out following the case of seriously ill child Charlie Gard, saying that if the courts respected the rights of his parents Chris Gard and Connie Yates, it ‘wouldn’t have been too late to do the therapy’.
The group is currently representing the parents of seriously ill child Alfie Evans. Here are three of the recent cases in which they have been involved:
The devout Christian was expelled from a social work course at Sheffield University after being accused of posting ‘derogatory’ comments about gay people on Facebook.
Mr Ngole, 39, of Barnsley, South Yorkshire, said he was lawfully expressing a traditional Christian view and complained that university bosses unfairly stopped him completing a postgraduate degree.
He took his case to the High Court, saying his rights to freedom of speech and thought, enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights, had been breached.
But lawyers for the university said he showed ‘no insight’ and argued that the decision to remove him from the course was fair and proportionate.
The High Court ruled against Mr Ngole, but officials at the Christian Legal Centre said this would have a ‘chilling’ effect.
An NHS director was fired for speaking out against gay adoption when he claimed it was better for a child to be brought up by both a man and a woman.
The 71-year-old Christian magistrate sued after he was suspended by the NHS Trust Development Authority.
Mr Page rejected a claim in a social worker’s report that homosexual couples made better adoptive parents than straight couples.
An employment tribunal ruled Kent and Medway NHS Trust was justified in refusing to reinstate him after he had spoken out on TV last year.
Andrea Williams, head the Christian Legal Centre, slammed the judgment as ‘a perverse attempt to silence Christian beliefs’.
The Christian health worker accused the NHS of making her look like a ‘religious nutcase’ after she was branded a bully for praying for a Muslim colleague.
The 37-year-old was disciplined for alleged bullying and harassment after Enya Nawaz, 25, told managers that the senior occupational health therapist had tried to convert her to Christianity.
It was claimed that Ms Wasteney had asked the woman to pray and had given her a book about a Muslim woman converting to Christianity.
Wasteney lost the case when she took the trust to an employment tribunal, and lost an appeal thereafter.