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

Bella Coola RCMP appeal for public’s help in wake of suspicious fires

Four suspicious fires in the span of four months prompted local RCMP to bring in fire specialist

UBCM passes historic resolution brought forth by CCRD

If the resolution is successfully realized, it will mean groundbreaking change for local governments

Municipal spending outpaces population growth 4-fold in B.C.: report

Canadian Federation of Independent Business has released its annual operational spending report

Series of suspicious fires prompt Bella Coola RCMP to bring in special investigator

Police investigate four fires set between June and Sept. in 4-Mile

B.C. parents leery of HPV cervical cancer vaccine

Provincial registration uptake among lowest in Canada

VIDEO: Messages of hope, encouragement line bars of B.C. bridge

WARNING: This story contains references to suicide and may not be appropriate for all audiences.

Fresh-faced Flames fend off Canucks 4-1

Vancouver drops second straight NHL exhibition contest

VIDEO: B.C. deer struggles with life-preserver caught in antlers

Campbell River resident captures entangled deer on camera

Scheer pushes Trudeau to re-start Energy East pipeline talks

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer questioned the Prime Minister over Trans Mountain project

Mistaken identity: Missing dog claimed in Moose Jaw belongs to another family

Brennen Duncan was reunited with a white Kuvasz that was found in Saskatchewan

Abandoned kitten safe and sound thanks to B.C. homeless man

‘Jay’ found little black-and-white kitten in a carrier next to a dumpster by a Chilliwack pet store

Police chief defends controversial marijuana seizure

Advocates said cannabis was part of an opioid-substitution program in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside

Trans Mountain completes Burrard Inlet spill exercise

Training required, some work continues on pipeline expansion

Supporters of B.C. man accused of murdering Belgian tourist pack courtoom

Family and friends of Sean McKenzie, 27, filled the gallery for brief court appearance in Chilliwack

Most Read