Charges stayed against Alberta parents who faced trial in death of toddler, says Crown

Crown prosecutors have stayed charges against parents who were facing a third trial in the death of their toddler in southern Alberta.

A lawyer for David and Collet Stephan, Shawn Buckley, says he received a letter from the Crown about the decision.

A copy of the letter directs the Lethbridge court to stay charges against the Stephans of failing to provide the necessaries of life.

Alberta Justice could not immediately be reached for comment.

The Stephans were accused of not seeking medical attention sooner for their 18-month-old son before he died in 2012.

They testified that they were treating the boy with natural remedies for what they thought was croup.

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The Stephans have previously testified they initially believed Ezekiel had croup, an upper airway infection, and treated him with natural remedies, including a smoothie containing garlic, onion and horseradish.

Despite being advised to take the sick boy to a doctor, it was only when he stopped breathing that they sought medical attention.

The Stephans have a years-long history with various levels of the courts. 

In 2016, a Lethbridge jury convicted David and Collet following their first trial. 

Ezekiel Stephan died in 2012 from meningitis. (Prayers for Ezekiel/Facebook)

But the supreme court ruled there were errors in how the judge instructed the jury and sent the case to a second trial.

In 2019, following a second trial, the couple was acquitted but the Alberta Court of Appeal unanimously ruled the trial judge had shown a “reasonable apprehension of bias” when he described the Crown witness — a Nigerian-born doctor who speaks with an accent — as having given testimony that was “garbled” and “incomprehensible.”

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