BILLY CALDWELL RETURNS TO NORTHERN IRELAND - AND "PUT UNDER HOSPITAL ARREST"

July 5, 2018, 1915hrs.

Press conference statement from Charlotte Caldwell upon return to Northern Ireland.

"Billy's meds have been delivered to Belfast Trust, but their arrival is far from victory for Billy - or common sense.

"Billy has effectively been placed under hospital arrest.

"Over the course of the past three weeks, Billy has had exemplary treatment from the doctors and nurses at the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital.

"When Billy had his last dose of medicinal cannabis from his senior paediatric consultant the C&W, he said that he was urging and recommending the Home Office and Department of Health in Northern Ireland to let Billy go home. The home Office endorsed this recommendation.

"The contrast between the speed and compassion shown by the Home Secretary and health professionals in London, and the silence and inaction of the health authorities in Northern Ireland is deeply troubling.

"Tonight I'm asking those responsible here in Belfast to endorse the recommendation of the Home Office and let Billy go home.

"We've thought carefully about all this, and there are many practical ways that this could happen. For instance, his meds could be administered by a district nurse at home.

"I urge everyone responsible to consider all options available.

"The alternative is to enact a policy that amounts to child abuse and child cruelty at the highest level.

"There are hundreds of families in Northern Ireland and thousands across the UK in the same situation as me and Billy - including little Jorja here in Belfast.

"Meanwhile Billy's story continues: We have been told by the Belfast Trust that Billy can only be administered his anti-epileptic seizure medicine by doctors in the hospital.

"Billy needs his meds at 10am and 8pm each day. It takes a few seconds to administer.

"I know far more about administering his meds than the hospital - I've been doing it for years. It's utterly crazy that Billy is being subjected to this sort of child abuse. He's autistic; he needs the familiar, he needs his own bed, his toys, his garden. We just want to be home.

"As it stands, we have to either move to Belfast, or make two four-hour round trips a day from home in Castlederg.

"But we've been into battle once before - and won. We're ready for the next round."

BASIA ZIENIEWICZ