NRL News

A peek behind the curtain: see who the attorney is for Charlie Gard’s legal guardian

by | Jul 17, 2017

She is chairman of “Compassion in Dying

By Dave Andrusko

Victoria Butler‑Cole

Victoria Butler‑Cole

As of a few  hours ago, the July digital edition of National Right to Life News has been posted for all to see. We have included a number of stories about little Charlie Gard which I trust you will read and share.

We’ve already posted an update on Charlie’s condition at National Right to Life News Today. (The situation keeps changing by the hour.)

Something we didn’t have a chance to address was a very thoughtful, very provocative piece about the attorney who is representing Charlie’s guardian, written by Gia Behnamian on the Fox News website.

Quick clarification. Several stories misidentified Victoria Butler-Cole as Charlie’s legal guardian. She is not. She is the attorney representing his guardian who is, in theory, looking out for Charlie’s “best interests.”

In other words, Butler-Cole is the one who in is court making the case what is in Charlie’s “best interests.” So far everyone at London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) believes the nearly one-year-old son of Connie Yates and Chris Gard would be better off dead.

So who Butler-Cole is, and what her ideological affiliation are, are very important.

The Daily Telegraph reported today

A source close to the parents told The Daily Telegraph: “The family find it astonishing that the quango [Quasi-Autonomous Non-Governmental Organisation] that appointed the barrister to act in the interests of Charlie Gard is the chairman of Compassion in Dying, the sister body of Dignity in Dying, formerly known as the Voluntary Euthanasia Society. The implication is obvious. It looks like a profound conflict of interest.”

Pardon? Butler-Cole is Charlie’s “de facto lawyer” (as Behnamian put it) who is (according to the Daily Telegraph)

chairman of Compassion in Dying, a sister organisation to Dignity in Dying which campaigns for a change in the law to make assisted dying legal in the UK. Dignity in Dying used to be called the Voluntary Euthanasia Society.

The two charities share the same chief executive and media team and trustees – such as Mrs. Butler-Cole – can only sit on one charity if they support the aims of the other. Mrs Butler-Cole was appointed to the role by the publicly-funded state body Cafcass which acts in the best interests of children in court cases.

To be clear, as Wesley Smith pointed out, Compassion in Dying “does not directly promote assisted suicide.” However, “CiD’s-proclaimed ‘sister organization,’ Dignity in Dying, most certainly does.”

But it’s worse than that. As Behnamian noted, Butler-Cole

once represented Lindsey Briggs in the High Court, who argued that her husband would have preferred to be taken off life support. Paul Briggs had not written a do-not-resuscitate (DNR) order. The court ruled to give Briggs palliative care only, and it was the first time that a court ruled to withdraw food and water from a clinically stable patient.

Among the links in Behnamian’s op-ed is one to ”Lawyer of the week: Victoria Butler‑Cole,” a gushy, in-the-tank Q &A conducted by Linda Tsang for the Times of London.

It’s about the Briggs case. For our purposes, the most important exchange was the following. Tsang asks, “What law would you enact?” The “Lawyer of the Week” responds

When the Court of Protection decides that it is not in a person’s best interests to continue to receive artificial nutrition and hydration, it is withdrawn and the person dies slowly of dehydration. The court cannot authorise a fatal dose of medication instead. To me, that is obviously wrong.

Having decided it’s okay to “slowly” starve and dehydrate someone to death, the “merciful” thing to do is to authorize “a fatal dose of medication instead.”

I wonder what the worldwide response (already virtually 100% against the hospital’s position) would be if instead of disconnecting Charlie’s ventilator (so he suffocates), it was Charlie’s food and water that was being “disconnected” and Butler‑Cole said let’s get this over by lethally injecting him.

Categories: Infants