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

David, Collet Stephan were found guilty in their son Ezekiel’s 2012 death from bacterial meningitis

A B.C. father whose conviction was upheld for failing to provide the necessaries of life to his son has posted a Facebook response critical of the judges and prosecutors on the case along with the entire justice system.

David Stephan and his wife, Collet, were found guilty last year in their son Ezekiel’s 2012 death from bacterial meningitis.

Their trial in Lethbridge, Alta., heard they treated the 19-month-old boy with garlic, onion and horseradish rather than taking him to a doctor.

“I have come to … realize that within the current system there is no room for justice and truth, there is no humanity and there definitely is no love,” David Stephan wrote from his home in Nelson, hours after the Alberta Court of Appeal decision on Wednesday.

In the post that included two photos of his three children and pregnant wife, Stephan said he described the appeal process as a “rollercoaster of emotions.”

Two of the three Appeal Court judges supported the conviction, but Justice Brian O’Ferrall offered a dissenting opinion. He said the Stephans should have been granted a new trial.

“I have been strongly cautioned to keep quiet as these types of posts could influence the outcome of court decisions, bail hearings etc … But this world needs more people that are willing to take a stand for truth … regardless of the cost,” Stephan said.

“People like Justice O’Ferrall, who was willing to go against the grain and judge righteously, in light of whatever political pressure that he was up against.”

Because of the split decision, the Stephans have automatic leave for the Supreme Court of Canada to hear their arguments, if they choose to take their appeal to that level.

Stephan didn’t directly indicate if they would do so, but he noted he and his wife are grateful they have finally paid off $500,000 in legal bills. He also gave thanks for $150,000 they received in donations.

“But on the other hand we are not excited about the fact that the legal fees are now going to start accumulating again,” he wrote.

Stephan, who said his wife is expecting another child soon, also wrote in the Facebook post about the “dismay” he felt no longer being able to be there to support his wife through the birthing process and meet the newest member of their family until he gets out of jail.

Stephan sentenced to four months behind bars

Stephan said the trial judge erred in his charge to jurors and gave them no choice but to find the couple guilty.

He also pointed to what he called a number of “glaring issues” in the case, including “withheld and falsified” evidence and an “elaborate coverup” of what he said was an ill-equipped ambulance. He said that led to Ezekiel going without oxygen for over eight minutes.

Witnesses at the trial said the little boy’s body was so stiff he couldn’t sit in his car seat, so the toddler had to lie on a mattress when his mother drove him from their rural 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 rushed to a local hospital and died after being transported to Calgary’s Children’s Hospital.

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 trips to church and to medical appointments.

During the jury’s decision of the guilty verdict, Stephan recalled that one of the crown prosecutors made the statement that “sometimes love just isn’t enough”.

“With all of the corruption, deception, murdering, and greed that I see plaguing humanity and finding its way into the highest levels of government, I argue that it isn’t that “love just isn’t enough” but rather that there just isn’t enough love,” he said.

The two were released early pending the outcome of the appeal.

The Crown has indicated it will appeal the sentences as being too lenient.

Stephan appeared to believe he will be forced to resume serving his sentence immediately.

He indicated he regrets not speaking out sooner.

“I offer my sincere apologies for remaining quiet over the past year as I valued my false sense of security more than the need to openly speak the truth by exposing the corruption,” he said.

“I have come to see that if I remain quiet today, someone else will needlessly suffer tomorrow.”

With files from Bill Graveland, The Canadian Press

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

MP Morrison touts non-partisan effort to provide relief amid COVID-19 pandemic

The federal government has announced a slew of economic initiatives for those impacted by the pandemic

Nelson and COVID-19: everything you need to know

Check this page for every local story related to the outbreak

B.C. COVID-19 contact restrictions working, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

’Not out of the woods yet’ as next two weeks are critical

Interior Health to host virtual town hall Friday, March 27

The Q&A forum begins at 6 p.m. PDT, link in story

West Kootenay octogenarian helping develop low-cost ventilator for COVID-19 patients

Peter Brockley is working with his doctor son, Graham, to develop the unit that could save lives

Trudeau announces 75% wage subsidy for small businesses amid COVID-19

This is up from the previously announced 10 per cent wage subsidy

World update, 9:30 p.m. March 27: Positive news in Korea as U.S. hits 100,000 cases

The United States now has the most coronavirus cases of any country in the world

VIDEO: Penguins roam empty halls of Vancouver Aquarium

COVID-19 has forced the Vancouver Aquarium to close access to guests – leaving room for its residents

Kids get back to learning in B.C., online

Ministry of Education rolls out new tool for school

67 more B.C. COVID-19 cases, two more deaths in Vancouver region

Positive tests found in Surrey, Langley long-term care facilities

‘Now is not the time to bag that peak’: BCSAR manager discourages risky outdoor adventures

Call volumes are not going down, even as the COVID-19 pandemic persists

Food Banks BC already seeing surge in demand due to COVID-19 pandemic

Executive director Laura Lansink said they expect applications will keep increasing

Nanaimo couple caught aboard cruise ship with four dead and COVID-19 present

Four ‘older guests’ have died on Holland America’s Zaandam; cruise line confirms two COVID-19 cases

Frontline workers receiving COVID-19 isolation exemptions prompt concerns

Provincial Health Authority staff exempt from self-isolation upon return from international travel

Most Read