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

Nelson honours veterans 100 years after end of WWI

Several hundred people gathered at the cenotaph on Sunday

B.C. Legions in need of young members to continue aiding veterans into the future

Lest we forget what thousands of men and women did to fight for Canada’s freedoms – but without new membership, many Legion chapters face dwindling numbers

Nine-vehicle pileup closes Highway 3 near Castlegar

Two separate incidents on slushy highway; reports of injuries

UPDATE: Police seek witnesses in Castlegar road rampage

Lake Country man faces 13 charges, including robbery, dangerous driving, flight from police, assault with a weapon, theft, and drug charges.

RDCK removes conditions from Kalesnikoff office project

Kalesnikoff says it is still planning to move ahead with new office building project

VIDEO: Marvel Comics’ Stan Lee dies

Marvel co-creator was well-known for making cameo apperances in superhero movies

Lack of public response threatens B.C. referendum credibility

Of the few who have voted, poll finds most rejected proportional representation

Tentative deal reached in NHL concussion lawsuit

More than 100 former players accused the league of failing to better prevent head trauma

Grim search for more fire victims; 31 dead across California

More than 8,000 firefighters battled wildfires that scorched at least 1,040 square kilometres

Politicians need to do better on social media, Trudeau says

Prime minister suggests at conference in Paris some are trying to use technology to polarize voters

Wally Buono exits CFL, stinging from painful playoff loss

B.C. Lions lost the Eastern semifinal to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Sunday, 48-8

Pot company hopes to replace jobs lost in mill closure in B.C. town

About 200 workers lost their jobs when the Tolko sawmill in Merritt shuttered in 2016

Funding announcement promises to drive business innovation in B.C.

Minister is scheduled to make the announcement at the Penticton campus of Okanagan College

Ticats destroy Lions 48-8 in CFL East Division semifinal

Wally Buono’s last game as B.C. coach ends in disappointment

Most Read