British justice had set today – first at 2pm and then at 4pm local time (5pm in Italy) – the deadline to disconnect the machines that keep Indi Gregory alive, the 8-month-old English baby affected by a serious mitochondrial pathology that doctors and British judges consider it irremediable and ended up at the center of a legal case between Italy and the United Kingdom. Then the deadline was extended: the appeal on the possibility of transferring the jurisdiction of the case to the Italian judge will be discussed tomorrow starting from 12pm English time (1pm in Italy) and consequently the deadline for the detachment of life supports is extended until following the outcome of this hearing. The Gregory family’s lawyers made this known. And the hypothesis of a “jurisdiction conflict” between Rome and London arises as an extreme weapon to try to bring the little girl to our country. “There are hours of frenetic work against time to obtain a regulation of jurisdiction between Italy and the United Kingdom, as provided for by the 1996 Hague Convention. The best interest of the minor is to live and not to die, which is why we still hope for a agreement”, say the lawyers of the Gregory family. The news of the extension came from Jacopo Coghe, spokesperson for Pro Vita & Famiglia onlus, and from the lawyer Simone Pillon, who are following the developments of the Italian side of the matter in contact with the English lawyers and the family. The procedures pursuant to articles 9 and 32 of the Hague Convention have been “activated by Italy. Indi’s parents still thank Italy from the bottom of their hearts for what she is doing. Hope burns brightly”, added Pillon.
The English judge’s decision and then the extension
Despite the offer of the Bambino Gesù hospital in Rome to continue to assist her, yesterday Judge Robert Peel, of the High Court of London, had set today as the deadline for interrupting Indi’s life support and had denied the family the right to take her home to Derbyshire, indicating a hospice as the most appropriate place to say goodbye, unless her parents prefer to leave her in the Nottingham hospital where she is hospitalized. Today there was an extension. This, the lawyers of the Gregory family explained, was possible because the Article 9 procedure was activated, i.e. the competent Italian judge got in touch with the competent English judge and the documents were transmitted to the Court of Appeal . Furthermore, the lawyers explained, the Presidency of the Council of Ministers of Italy wrote to the British Ministry of Justice as required by Article 32 of the 1996 Hague Convention.
Then Gregory, judge orders life support from Thursday
The conflict of jurisdiction
The granting of Italian citizenship, formalized on Monday as a matter of urgency for “humanitarian reasons” by Giorgia Meloni’s government, has not yet been enough to modify the British ruling according to which doctors had been given the green light to start a modification of the palliative therapy protocol to accompany the little girl towards the end: in the name of the supposed “best interest of Indi”, of the fears of prolonging hypothetical suffering, of an epilogue considered in any case marked. An outcome on which, however, still hangs, as a sort of last chance, the intervention formalized yesterday at the request of the parents Dean Gregory and Claire Staniforth by the Italian consul in Manchester, Matteo Corradini, who – assuming on behalf of Italy the function of guardianship judge – “issued an emergency provision, declaring the competence of the Italian judge and authorizing the adoption of the therapeutic plan proposed by the Bambino Gesù hospital and the transfer of the minor to Rome”. The consul “has also appointed a special curator” and is committed to now attempting mediation in the hope of “fostering the desirable collaboration between the health authorities of the two countries and avoiding a conflict of jurisdiction”.
Indi Gregory, Italian citizenship for the “incurable” English girl
The search for a diplomatic solution
The objective appears to be to seek some leverage to try to unblock the situation at the last minute through diplomatic channels, and perhaps with some shared intervention by the two governments, taking into account the excellent relations between Giorgia Meloni and the British Tory Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak. Judge Peel, endorsing the diagnosis of the Nottingham medical staff, ruled out in recent days that a transfer to Rome could benefit the newborn and contribute to modifying “her prognosis in any way”. Prognosis linked to a condition judged across the Channel to be not only incurable, but “terminal”. As in the precedent of Alfie Evans, protagonist 5 years ago of an almost identical affair which ended on the island with the execution of the measure to interrupt the life support of the machines despite the rapid granting of Italian citizenship, guaranteed at the time by Paolo’s government Gentiloni, and the interventions of Pope Francis. Interventions that Indi’s parents are calling for again now, denouncing “the silence” of the Anglican Church and an attitude of the justice system of the Kingdom defined as rigid and “inhuman”.
Indi’s father: “He wants to live, thanks to Italy”
“We think it is in Indi’s best interest to come to Italy to receive treatments that could help her breathe, by opening a valve through the implantation of a stent, so we can then focus on her mitochondrial disease which can be treated with these therapies. We know that Indi is a fighter, she wants to live, and doesn’t deserve to die. Thank you”, said the little girl’s father, Dean Gregory, in a video broadcast by La7, thanking Italy for its commitment. “Claire and I – he added – are devastated and heartbroken by the decision made by the judge. The National Health System is trying to prevent us from going to Italy, and has also prevented us from bringing Indi home for end-of-life palliative care. We are very worried for Indi’s life.” “Our lawyers are working hard and have submitted an urgent request because we will appeal – he continued – But I want to thank the Italian consulate in Manchester for their help and I want to thank the government, the President and the Italian people, Italy she was incredible, like a guardian angel to Indi, we are so lucky to have your passion and courage on our side in trying to save Indi’s life.”
Indi Gregory case, the father: “We need an Italy-UK agreement”