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

“We have to make a call out to address this now so our people don’t have to feel fearful,” said Tribal Chief Mina Holmes. (Carrier Sekani Tribal Council Facebook photo)
Carrier Sekani Tribal Council seeks Indigenous-led task force in northern B.C. hospitals

Request made in an open letter to federal minister Carolyn Bennett

NDP headquarters on election night, Oct. 24, 2020. (Katya Slepian/Black Press Media)
ELECTION 2020: Live blog from B.C. party headquarters

BC NDP projected to win majority government – but celebrations will look different this election

Participants earlier this year in March for Lakes Loppet at the ski club. (Lakes District News file photo)
How is Omineca Ski Club prepping for this ski season?

Covid restrictions, social distancing but ski season to continue

Tonye Aganaba, the Vancouver-based hip-hop artist will be featured in the next virtual event. (Submitted photo/Lakes District News)
The third LDAC concert and Off the Wall art show is out

The council’s preliminary survey results shows high levels of satisfaction

B.C. Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau outlines her party's climate action platform at Nanaimo's Vancouver Island Conference Centre earlier this month. (News Bulletin file photo)
Green leader Furstenau declared victor in her home riding on Vancouver Island

Cowichan Valley voters elect freshly minted party leader for her second term

FILE – Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides the latest update on the COVID-19 pandemic in the province during a press conference in the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, October 22, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. shatters COVID-19 records with 817 weekend cases; masks now expected indoors

Three people have died over the past three reporting periods

FILE – A woman smokes a marijuana joint at a “Wake and Bake” legalized marijuana event in Toronto on October 17, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Christopher Katsarov
Home nurse visits could play big role in reducing cannabis use, smoking in young mothers

The program, dubbed the BC Healthy Connections Project, involves public health nursing home visits

The ‘new normal’ for hockey parents in Chilliwack and elsewhere in B.C., watching their kids from outside of the arena due to COVID-19 protocols. (Submitted photo)
Chilliwack hockey parents petition to be let back in the arena

Refused access due to pandemic protocols, parents are now applying pressure to loosen the rules

Aaliyah Rosa. File photo
Crown says murder of B.C. girl, 7, by accused mother was planned, deliberate

The trial of KerryAnn Lewis began Monday in New Westminster

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Commissioner Austin Cullen listens to introductions before opening statements at the Cullen Commission of Inquiry into Money Laundering in British Columbia, in Vancouver, on February 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. money laundering inquiry hears of $800,000 and more in bags, luggage, backpacks

The lottery corporation has said it consistently reported suspicious transactions to Fintrac

Some of the characters in the League of Legends video game. (Photo: na.leagueoflegends.com)
E-sports trial at B.C. high schools to start with ‘League of Legends’ team game

For fall launch, Vancouver’s GameSeta company partners with BC School Sports

Most Read