'People are angry that we are not guilty': Stephans reflect on Alberta court decision
Published Friday, September 20, 2019 4:23PM MDT
Last Updated Friday, September 20, 2019 6:18PM MDT
A day after David Stephan and his wife Collet were acquitted in a southern Alberta courtroom, they say it's a "beautiful thing" for parental rights in Canada.
The pair were accused of failing to provide the necessaries of life for their toddler son Ezekiel, who died in 2012 at the Alberta Children's Hospital in Calgary.
After a lengthy court battle that first ended up with them being convicted only to have that decision overturned by the Supreme Court of Canada, the Alberta husband and wife were found not guilty on Thursday.
"It's a beautiful thing for the freedom of all Canadians, a beautiful thing in establishing parental rights, or at least maintain parental rights that are coming under fire here in Canada," David said in a post on his Facebook page.
He added there are still plenty of people on both sides of the argument as well.
"Many people are angry that we are not guilty, and many people are overjoyed that we're not guilty, and it all comes down to what is the truth."
In Thursday's ruling, Justice Terry Clackson said Ezekiel was stricken with meningitis, but his case was caused by a virus and the evidence indicated the illness didn't lead to his death.
"He did not die from meningitis, but from the lack of oxygen," he wrote.
The decision fell into line with David's story of events, which contended the ambulance sent to the Stephans' home was not properly equipped to handle the care of such a young patient.
A paramedic who testified during the retrial told the court Ezekiel went nine minutes without oxygen as a result of the issue.
Now, the couple said they would be seeking court costs but they haven't figured out if they plan to launch a civil lawsuit.
David, in the seven years it's taken for the case to be fought in court, says he is still looking for truth.
"We still don't have all the evidence today," he told the media gathered outside the courtroom on Thursday. "We feel that, based on what the judge had before him for evidence, that he made the right decision. But there is still outstanding evidence that we have never received in regard with what took place with Ezekiel that would likely shed light on his cause of death and all the factors that led up to that."
The Crown says it hasn't decided whether or not to appeal the court's decision.
In a statement to CTV News, it said it would review Justice Clackson's decision to determine the next steps.
David Stephan is planning to speak at a protest on Parliament Hill next month.
(With files from CTV Lethbridge's Terry Vogt)