I start with the assumption that the following sentence is correct.
John told me that his father had been ill since Christmas.
My question is whether the above sentence can also accommodate the present perfect, depending on the context.
John told me that his father has been ill since Christmas.
Here’s the context I believe would permit the present perfect. If the telling occurred very recently and it’s May, it means that John’s father has been ill for several months, and thus one can infer that he is still ill now, therefore the use of present perfect is appropriate.
[I saw John yesterday at the farmers’ market.] He told me that his father has been ill since Christmas.
Is my grammatical hunch (and its justification) correct? TIA