Judge delays ruling on brain tumour boy
New developments in Neon's case lead judge to schedule return to court for later in the month
Sunday 09 December 2012
A High Court judge yesterday cancelled a ruling on whether a seven-year-old boy should undergo radiotherapy treatment following surgery on a brain tumour. Mr Justice Bodey had heard that Neon Roberts's mother, Sally, did not want doctors to begin radiotherapy treatment.
Ms Roberts, 37, had told a High Court hearing in London she feared that radiotherapy would cause Neon long-term harm. But doctors said Neon might die within months without radiotherapy treatment and urged the judge to give them the go-ahead.
Mr Justice Bodey had been due to rule on the dispute at the High Court in London yesterday but he said there had been "developments" and the issue would be kept under review.
Referring to Neon by the letter "N", the judge said: "It had been my intention to deliver a judgment this morning in relation to the issue of the treatment of N's cancer – if he should receive chemotherapy only or radiotherapy as well. Developments have now occurred regarding the state of N's ability to be treated with such therapies at such a time, which have changed the medical landscape. Nature is no respecter of court timetables."
Mr Justice Bodey told the hearing that the medical developments would be kept under review and scheduled a return to court on 18 December.
The legal wranglings over whether Neon is to receive radiotherapy were sparked when Ms Roberts, 37, went on the run with her son to prevent him having the treatment following surgery on a brain tumour.
On Friday, Ms Roberts, originally from New Zealand, apologised to the court, saying her actions were a mistake resulting from panic. She felt she had no choice because doctors were going to plough ahead with this medical treatment against her will. Ms Roberts, a music producer and DJ, said she had feared the radiotherapy could lower his IQ, shorten his life, put him at risk of having strokes and make him infertile. She explained she had told a cancer consultant that she wanted to explore alternative treatments.
She said she fled her home near Tiverton, Devon, with her son after learning that health officials applied for an emergency order to force her to allow Neon to undergo radiotherapy. Their disappearance sparked a nationwide police hunt and they were quickly traced to a friend's house in East Grinstead, West Sussex.
According to Ms Roberts, around 15 officers descended on the address and took them both to a nearby hospital so Neon could be examined.
The schoolboy, who has a twin sister called Elektra, was later taken to the home of his father, Ben Roberts, in Knightsbridge, London, and currently remains there in his care.
During the first hearing at the High Court on Friday the judge heard that Mr Roberts, who is separated from Ms Roberts, had agreed to radiotherapy but was "apprehensive".
A doctor involved in Neon's care told the court that Ms Roberts's comments were very sensible and accepted that there could be side effects, but he added that without radiotherapy the little boy could die within a few months. Mr Justice Bodey said Neon's illness was the "stuff of every parent's nightmare".
Speaking outside court yesterday, Ms Roberts confirmed she had been reunited with her son, saying of his condition: "He's good."
Mr Roberts also attended but refused to comment.
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