A High Court judge was yesterday asked to have sympathy for a woman who went into hiding with her sick seven-year-old son because of concerns about treatment doctors were planning.
Lawyers representing Sally Roberts told Mr Justice Bodey she did not want her son Neon to have radiotherapy treatment for a brain tumour.
A barrister outlined Ms Roberts's position in written arguments at the start of a High Court hearing in London expected to rule on his treatment.
"Much sympathy, it is hoped, will be felt for her overall position," said Robin Tolson QC. "The mother's position in this litigation ... is principled, reasonable and in the best interests of Neon."
Ms Roberts, of Tiverton, was in court for the start of the hearing. A judge ordered a nationwide search for Ms Roberts and Neon after they vanished earlier this week. Both were found safe.
Ms Roberts, a New Zealander who is separated from Neon's father Ben, told Mr Justice Bodey that she was sorry for going into hiding.
"I very much apologise," she told the court. "I only want the best for my son."
But she said she was not a "bonkers mother" and feared that radiotherapy could do long-term harm to Neon.
The judge is being asked to decide whether it is in Neon's best interests to undergo radiotherapy and chemotherapy – or only chemotherapy – following surgery on a brain tumour.
Doctors say it is "clearly" in Neon's best interests to have radiotherapy and chemotherapy. A lawyer representing health authorities treating Neon told the court that the "alternative is death".