19 Dec 2012

UK judge rules boy must have cancer operation

9:09 am on 19 December 2012

A British judge has ruled that a seven-year-old boy with cancer should undergo more surgery despite his mother's opposition.

New Zealander Sally Roberts, who now lives in Britain, ran away with her son Neon earlier this month to try to prevent him having radiotherapy.

High Court judge David Bodey ruled that Neon, who has already had surgery on a brain tumour, should have another operation after hearing from doctors that he would very likely die soon without treatment, AFP reports.

A doctor treating the seven-year-old said a scan showed more surgery needed to be carried out "urgently", saying there was a residual tumour left behind from the first operation. He said a second doctor agreed with his analysis.

The judge had been due to decide whether Neon should undergo radiotherapy following surgery but that issue was put on hold pending a ruling on the operation.

Mrs Roberts has been locked in a legal dispute with her estranged husband Ben over the boy's condition and treatment, and earlier this month she went on the run with Neon in what she later said was a panicked move to protect him.

The New Zealander says she fears radiotherapy would cause her son long-term harm.

The pair were found safe after a judge ordered a search and Mrs Roberts apologised for her actions.

Radio New Zealand's correspondent in London said the court may decide later this week on whether to also order radiotherapy following the surgery.