David Stephan and his wife Collet Stephan arrive at court on Thursday, March 10, 2016 in Lethbridge, Alta. The Stephans will be appealing their conviction for failing to provide the necessaries of life to the Supreme Court of Canada. THE CANADIAN PRESS / David Rossiter

Update: High court orders new trial for parents convicted in toddler’s meningitis death

The parents will be appealing their conviction for failing to provide the necessaries of life to the Supreme Court of Canada

UPDATE: 9 a.m.

The Supreme Court of Canada has ordered a new trial for a couple who used homemade remedies instead of seeking medical attention for their son who died of bacterial meningitis.

David Stephan and his wife, Collet, were found guilty in 2016 of failing to provide the necessaries of life to 19-month-old Ezekiel in 2012.

Their trial in Lethbridge, Alta., heard that they treated the boy with garlic, onion and horseradish rather than take him to a doctor. The Stephans eventually called 911 but the little boy died in hospital.

The Supreme Court heard arguments from the couple’s lawyer and the Crown this morning before making the decision.

The Alberta Court of Appeal upheld the conviction last November, but because the ruling wasn’t unanimous, the couple had an automatic right to take their case to the Supreme Court.

David Stephan was sentenced to four months in jail and his wife was ordered to spend three months under house arrest — the only exceptions being for trips to church and medical appointments.

—-

ORIGNAL: 7 a.m.

The Supreme Court of Canada is to hear an appeal today by a couple convicted after they used homemade remedies instead of seeking medical attention for their son who died of bacterial meningitis.

David Stephan and his wife, Collet, were found guilty in 2016 of failing to provide the necessaries of life to 19-month-old Ezekiel in 2012.

Their trial in Lethbridge, Alta., heard that they treated the boy with garlic, onion and horseradish rather than take him to a doctor. The Stephans eventually called 911 but the little boy died in hospital.

The Alberta Court of Appeal upheld the conviction last November, but because the ruling wasn’t unanimous, the couple had an automatic right to take their case to the Supreme Court.

David Stephan was sentenced to four months in jail and his wife was ordered to spend three months under house arrest — the only exceptions being for trips to church and medical appointments.

The Crown has indicated it plans to appeal the sentences as too lenient.

Related: Alberta Court of Appeal to hear arguments in toddler meningitis death

Related: Dead boy’s father posts Facebook response after Appeal Court upholds conviction

David Stephan posted on Facebook last week that the hearing is an important one for parental rights.

“Our Supreme Court hearing…will not only effect the future of our family, but the future of all Canadians as this landmark, precedent-setting case is being used to deprive parental rights and health freedoms in Canada,” he wrote.

“Our prayer is that the Supreme Court of Canada reverses this newly set precedent and sends our case back to trial so that the whole truth can finally come out, and that the real criminals involved in our case will be brought to light and held accountable.”

Witnesses at the trial said the toddler’s body was so stiff he couldn’t sit in his car seat, so he had to lie on a mattress when his mother drove him from their rural Alberta home to a naturopathic clinic in Lethbridge, where she bought an echinacea mixture.

The Stephans never called for medical assistance until Ezekiel stopped breathing. He was taken to a local hospital and died after being transported to Calgary’s Children’s Hospital.

Lawyers for the Stephans argued before the Alberta Appeal Court that the trial judge allowed the jury to be overwhelmed by medical evidence, which unfairly distracted from the real question of whether the Stephans acted differently than any other reasonable parent.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

HandyDART proposal in View Royal met with pushback

Both council and the community expressed concerns about the industrial facility

Belmont students show off acting chops in new play

A Streetcar Named Desire hits the stage next week

Land purchased for new elementary school in north Langford

John Horgan and Rob Fleming make announcement

Humpback Rd. has reopened

Car nearly drove off a cliff

Reporter gets serious with Tour de Victoria’s 140km ride

Travis Paterson’s training blog for Ryder Hesjedal’s Tour de Victoria on Aug. 18, Volume 1

VIDEO: Canadian Forces help flood-ravaged Grand Forks residents heal

Sgt. Bradley Lowes says the military is used to dealing with traumatic times

Couple survives being buried in mudslide on B.C. highway

The couple, from Saskatchewan, were en route to Nelson when a tree fell in their path

Man helps pull unconscious surfer from water near Tofino

Good Samaritan says lifeguards are needed at Long Beach and along the Pacific Rim park

PHOTOS: Floodwaters rise and fall in Grand Forks

The flood-ravaged Kootenay-Boundary region begins to heal

Martin Mars waterbombers’ firefighting days are done

Wayne Coulson said his company still hopes to find a new home for the vintage aircraft

NHL playoffs weekly roundup

Vegas Golden Knights have done the impossible and have a chance at hoisting the Stanley Cup

Changes needed for ‘Alert Ready’ mass emergency system

‘You need to strike this careful balance between alerting people to lots of problems — and doing it too often’

Las Vegas Golden Knights move on to Stanley Cup final

Improbable run continues for NHL’s newest expansion team

Oregon’s flooded recreational pot market a cautionary tale to Canada

‘In a broader sense, we are adding legal production to an already robust illegal production’

Most Read