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

Rimbey RCMP respond to 42 calls for service

Files include: 2 impaired driving investigations, 3 thefts of vehicles and 2 assault complaints

Trudeau to seek 10 days of paid sick leave for all Canadian workers

Paid sick leave is key to keeping COVID-19 spread under control, prime minister says

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The Rimbey Review covers the stories that matter to you and to our community

Canada Pension fund manager posts 3.1 per cent annual return for 2019-20

Canada Pension Plan Investment Board releases report

Salmon expected to begin arriving soon at Fraser River landslide: DFO

Salmon expected to begin arriving soon at Fraser River landslide: DFO

Canadian Judicial Council won’t appeal harsh ruling of its investigation of judge

Canadian Judicial Council won’t appeal harsh ruling of its investigation of judge

Guy Laliberte wants to buy back Cirque du soleil, keep headquarters in Montreal

Guy Laliberte wants to buy back Cirque du soleil, keep headquarters in Montreal

Liberals, NDP work on sick leave to secure deal on future of Parliament

Liberals, NDP work on sick leave to secure deal on future of Parliament

Most Read