David and Collet Stephan apply for stay of charges and millions of dollars from Alberta Justice
A former southern Alberta couple facing a second trial in connection with the death of their 19-month old son in 2012 are calling for the charges against them to be dropped and are asking for an estimated $4 million from Alberta Justice.
David and Collet Stephan were convicted of failing to provide the necessaries of life in 2016 in connection with the death of their son Ezekiel. His death was determined to be the result of meningitis, an illness the parents had elected to treat with natural remedies instead of medical intervention.
A new trial was ordered for the Stephens by the Supreme Court as it was determined that the original trial judge did not properly instruct jurors in a way the members of the jury could understand.
The couple has since relocated to an area outside of Grand Prairie. They made an appearance on Thursday, via a scheduled conference call with the courts in Calgary and Lethbridge, that was expected to centre on legal aid funding. Instead, the Stephans filed an application for a stay of the proceedings as well as an order directing Alberta Justice to compensate the couple an estimated $1 million to cover the costs they incurred during previous proceedings. They are also requesting that Alberta Justice place $3 million in trust to be used by the defence for their retrial scheduled for June 2019.
David Stephan told the court that the applications are the result of recently released disclosure evidence that suggests 719 pages of the defence material was released to the Crown by RCMP.
The Stephans’ applications are scheduled to be heard at the Lethbridge Courthouse on January 18.
With files from CTV’s Terry Vogt