David and Collet Stephan are charged with failing to provide the necessaries of life to 19-month-old Ezekiel who died in March 2012. (File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Judge finds Alberta couple not guilty in toddler son’s death

It was the second trial for the Stephans, who were found guilty by a jury in 2016

An Alberta couple who treated their son with herbal remedies rather than seek medical attention have been found not guilty in the boy’s death.

David and Collet Stephan were charged with failing to provide the necessaries of life to 19-month-old Ezekiel, who died in March 2012.

The official cause of death was bacterial meningitis, but a pathologist called by the defence said the child died from a lack of oxygen to the brain when he was in an ambulance.

Justice Terry Clackson spoke to the court in Lethbridge, Alta., for only four minutes before releasing his written decision.

“While it may seem odd that a parent who does nothing with a terminally ill child may not be culpable, it must be remembered that this case is about endangering life, not … any of the other offences which such callous behaviour might substantiate,” Clackson wrote.

Supporters in the courtroom cheered and Collet Stephan cried as she hugged her husband.

It was the second trial for the Stephans, who were found guilty by a jury in 2016. The Supreme Court of Canada set aside the conviction and ordered a new trial.

Bill Graveland, The Canadian Press

READ MORE: Alberta couple charged in toddler son’s death to learn fate from judge

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

City of Red Deer down to one confirmed active case of COVID-19

18 new cases were confirmed across the province Saturday

Lacombe’s museums change summer operations due to COVID-19

Lacombe & District Historical Society hoping for pre-booked, members of the same household tours

Lacombe’s Midway Centre looking to attract tenants

Albertan economy, COVID-19 leading to difficulty finding suitors

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The Lacombe Express covers the stories that matter to you and to our community

Wetaskiwin RCMP arrest impaired driver following police car ramming

The suspect vehicle purposefully crashed into a parked police vehicle, pushing it into the ditch.

N.S. fire crews continue battling ‘out-of-control’ Porters Lake blaze

Word of the fire first emerged early Saturday afternoon

Technology, representation butt heads amid debate over resuming Parliament

The Liberals are now proposing four meetings a week until June 17

Procession for Snowbirds crash victim makes its way through Halifax

The 35-year-old military public affairs officer and Halifax native died in the crash

Most Read