The case of Ashya King the five year old cancer patient has led to a media frenzy with comment coming from everyone from Boris Johnson to Nick Clegg.
But what are the legal implications of the situation? It appears that upon Asyha’s removal from hospital by his parents Portsmouth City Council made an application for Ashya to be made a ward of court. Such an order would allow the local authority to share parental responsibility for Ashya which would include allowing them to seek medical treatment on his behalf.
Alongside this Hampshire police appear to have applied for an arrest warrant for an offence of cruelty to a person under the age of 16 years. The parents are now in custody in Spain whilst the Spanish court considers whether or not to extradite them to the UK.
Ashya meanwhile is in hospital in Spain. He is reported to be in a stable condition but is likely to be suffering emotionally as a result of the fact that he has not seen his parents or siblings for a number of days. They had previously been a constant presence at his bedside.
The issue at the centre of this case is: were the parents fight to remove him from hospital in the UK? They say that they took him to Spain to seek Proton Beam therapy which was not made available to them by the NHS. As his parents they felt that they have the right to make such a decision for 5 year old Ashya. The local authority and the police appear to be working on the basis that the parents’ actions placed Ashya in grave danger, something the family deny.