A stressful chapter for an Alberta couple has come to an end. The Crown has dropped charges against David and Collet Stephan. Shortly after the death of their 19-month-old son Ezekiel in 2012, years of battling in court to prove their innocence ensued when they were charged with failing to provide the necessaries of life for their child. During their trials, the couple said they initially thought Ezekiel had croup and treated him with natural remedies. They called paramedics when Ezekiel stopped breathing and sadly the boy died a short time later. A jury convicted the couple in 2016 but the Supreme Court overturned the verdict and ordered a new trial. A judge found them not guilty in 2019. But the Alberta Court of Appeal granted a request by the Crown to overturn the acquittal and order a third trial. The Crown recently dropped the charges and no reason was given for the decision, and Alberta Justice did not respond to a request to explain why. David Stephan says the reason may have to do with the credentials of the forensic pathologist that performed the autopsy.
According to Stephan, his battle is far from over. He says he is returning to the Supreme Court to defend parental rights and parent’s choice of care.
Stephan reports that over the last nine years. the ordeal has cost them well over $1.5 million to defend their case, but estimates the Crown used approximately $10 million in taxpayers’ money in pursuit of convicting the couple.