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

Four air ambulance flights out of Terrace delayed or cancelled

Pandemic precautions caused nighttime closure of service station providing weather data to pilots

Skeena Resources, Tahltan prez excited by purchase of Eskay Creek

Skeena gets full control of mine, Barrick gets 12 per cent of Skeena and a one per cent royalty

UPDATE: missing 12-year-old Terrace boy found safe

Was reported missing on Southside around 10 p.m. July 9

Terrace conservation officers relocate Spirit bear

Bear roamed Kitsumkalum Valley north of Terrace for many years

Seabridge Gold starts drilling along proposed tunnel route north of Stewart

Twin tunnels will connect the KSM mine to its mill and tailings site

B.C. sees 25 new COVID-19 cases, community exposure tracked

One death, outbreaks remain in two long-term care facilities

VIDEO: Vancouver Island cat missing 18 months reunited with family

Blue the cat found at Victoria museum 17 kilometres from home

VIDEO: Alberta man rescues baby eagle believed to be drowning in East Kootenay lake

Brett Bacon was boating on a lake in Windermere when he spotted the baby eagle struggling in the water

Conservationists raise concerns over state of care for grizzly cubs transferred to B.C. zoo

‘Let them be assessed now before their fate is sealed,’ urges B.C. conservationist Barb Murray

B.C.’s COVID-19 job recovery led by tourism, finance minister says

Okanagan a bright spot for in-province visitor economy

National Kitten Day aka the ‘purrfect’ day to foster a new friend

July 10 marks National Kitten Day, a special day to celebrate all things kittens

Lower Mainland YouTubers claim to be Kelowna display toilet ‘poopers’

RCMP can not speak to legitimacy of video, will be investigating

Haida matriarchs occupy ancient villages as fishing lodges reopen to visitors

‘Daughters of the rivers’ say occupation follows two fishing lodges reopening without Haida consent

RCMP confirm homicide investigation underway near Quesnel

Police releasing few details four days after homicide occurred Monday, July 6

Most Read