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

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

Just Posted

Waneta Manor is located on Laburnum Drive in Trail. Photo: Sheri Regnier
New elevator coming to Trail manor this summer, says head manager

The elevator in Waneta Manor has been out of commission since February

Greater Trail barrel racer Hunter Weishaupt will race for a coveted spot in the Calgary Stampede
West Kootenay barrel racer takes run at Stampede

Hunter Weishaupt is inviting sponsors to get on board in her quest to compete in Calgary Stampede

Refusals to wear masks had Trail police called to two separate scenes on Saturday. Photo: Waldemar Brandt on Unsplash
Trail police called to mask confrontations

The Province of BC has masks being mandatory indoors

L-R: Patients of Dr. Sarah Tucker, Dr. Trevor Aiken and Dr. Stephanie Cameron must call Columbia Primary Care Clinic at 250.368.9394 to make appointments after July 1. Photo: Submitted
Three doctors at Trail clinic on the move

Drs Tucker, Aiken, and Cameron move to Columbia Primary Care Clinic effective July 1

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

Children walk with their parents to Sherwood Park Elementary in North Vancouver for the first day back to school on Sept. 10, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Study reassures parents, teachers that COVID-19 infrequently shared at school

Federally funded study in Vancouver finds risk at school and in the community was identical

Conservative MP Kevin Waugh rises during Question Period in the House of Commons Tuesday April 13, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Single-game sports betting about to become legal in Canada

Senate passes bill to take sports gambling away from overseas agencies

Point Roberts is part of the mainland United States but not physically connected to it, to reach the community by land one must pass through Canada. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Closed Canadian border leaves Point Roberts’ only grocery store on verge of closure

‘We’re Americans but we’re not attached to America. It’s easy to forget we’re here,’ says owner Ali Hayton

Robin Sanford and her fiance Simon Park were married in an impromptu ceremony at Abbotsford Regional Hospital on June 16. (Submitted photo)
Mom dies day after witnessing daughter’s hospital wedding in Abbotsford

Nurses help arrange impromptu ceremony in 3 hours for bride and groom

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson with Premier John Horgan after the budget speech Tuesday, April 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. home owner grant won’t be altered, despite expert advice

Tax break for residences worth up to $1.6 million too popular

B.C. conservation officer Sgt. Todd Hunter said a black bear is believed to have killed local livestock. (THE NEWS/files)
Black bear believed to have killed miniature donkey in Maple Ridge

Trap set for predator that has been killing livestock

Penticton mayor John Vassilaki and Minister of Housing David Eby have been battling over the Victory Church shelter and BC Housing projects in the city. (File photos)
Penticton heads to court over homeless shelter as BC Housing audit begins

The city was not satisfied with the response from Minister David Eby regarding the ongoing situation

People enjoy the sun at Woodbine Beach on June 19, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Tijana Martin
BC Hydro assures customers it has ‘more than enough’ power to weather the heatwave

Despite an increase of pressure on the Western grid, blackouts are not expected like in some U.S. states

Most Read