David and Collet Stephan leave for a break during their appeals trial in Calgary on March 9, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol

Judge denies requests from Calgary couple charged in son’s death

David and Collet Stephan wanted $4 million to pay for past and future legal bills

A judge on Friday refused requests from an Alberta couple charged in the meningitis death of their son to have their legal fees covered and a retrial delayed.

David and Collet Stephan wanted $4 million to pay for past and future legal bills.

“You don’t have any resources. That’s what you’re telling me and you’re not getting any here,” Justice John Rooke told David Stephan, who was acting on behalf of himself and his wife in a Calgary courtroom.

“The application is dismissed and … I am not making any findings on the merits,” Rooke said.

In 2016, the Stephans were found guilty for failing to provide the necessaries of life to their 19-month-old son Ezekiel.

The conviction was overturned by the Supreme Court of Canada and a new trial is scheduled for June.

READ MORE: Jury finds Calgary couple guilty in 2013 death of toddler son

The couple’s application for cash asked that they be granted $1 million to cover their past legal expenses and that another $3 million be placed in trust for any future defence fees.

The Stephans say they have liquidated their assets, are in debt to their previous lawyer and don’t have enough money to obtain the necessary assistance to receive a fair trial.

Rooke said the Stephans would be better off taking their request for legal fees to a civil court.

“You’re in the wrong procedure and the wrong place. That’s civil court. Another judge … another day,” Rooke said.

“It’s clear to me if you want to pursue those matters you can sue the attorney general, you can sue the hospital, you can sue the ambulance and you can sue everybody except the judge.”

Stephan has alleged collusion between the Crown and police in the first trial and has also accused some witnesses of perjuring themselves.

He said outside court he and his wife wanted a delay as well as the cash for lawyers to guarantee a fair trial.

“We were hoping for a stay of proceedings until we got legal representation. It’s kind of bittersweet. It would sure be nice to have this case turfed like it should be,” Stephan said.

“As heart-wrenching as it’s going to be for myself and my wife, it would sure be nice to have the truth come out.”

Rooke noted that the Stephans had not filed an application for legal aid.

“You don’t have to justify why you’re not applying for it. Some people may say you’re a fool for not doing it, but that’s your business. You have the right to represent yourself,” the justice said.

Stephan said one or even two lawyers appointed by legal aid wouldn’t be sufficient. He said civil action isn’t possible now either.

“If we had the money we would have already been before the civil courts to have all of these facts tried,” he said.

At this point, he said, they might have to continue to represent themselves.

The original trial in Lethbridge, Alta., heard evidence that the couple treated the boy with natural remedies and smoothies made of garlic, onion and horseradish rather than take him to a doctor. He had been ill for several days and at one point became so stiff he couldn’t sit in his car seat.

Once the boy stopped breathing, the Stephans called 911 but he died in hospital in Calgary in 2012.

The Stephans now live in Grande Prairie, Alta.

Bill Graveland, The Canadian Press

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

Town selling the airport to Ponoka Flying Club

Agreement is for 25 years with option to buy back

RCMP on hunt for man who has skipped court

Public urged to call 911 if they spot him

Update: Local bull riders help Canada to fourth at PBR Global Cup

Lambert, Hansen manage to earn two of Canadian team’s good rides

Ponoka County wants more information prior to approving permit

Council not satisfied, wants better details about work site and other issues

Blair says RCMP have met Wet’suwet’en conditions, so barricades should come down

The Wet’suwet’en’s hereditary chiefs oppose the Coastal GasLink project

Federal minister pledges to meet Wet’suwet’en chiefs in B.C. over natural gas pipeline

The Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs say they are visiting Mohawk territory

Pipeline dispute: Tories put no-confidence motion on House of Commons agenda

Conservatives say they have no confidence in the Trudeau government to end the rail blockades

Blockade on CN rail line in Edmonton removed, injunction granted

The blockade consisted of wooden pallets on the tracks and signs that say ‘No Consent’

Canadians aboard coronavirus-ridden cruise ship to return home tonight

Among the infected are 47 Canadians who will have to remain in Japan for treatment

Carbon risk for Alberta’s public pension manager questioned

AIMCo says nearly $115 billion invested in carbon-intensive industries is on par with other funds

Worker, shocked at future Amazon warehouse in Nisku, has died: family

Colton Quast, 25, was taken to hospital and put in a medically induced coma

Blockade supporting Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs on rail line in Edmonton

‘Cuzzins for Wet’suwet’en’ post pics of wooden crates on line, signs saying ‘No Pipelines on Stolen Land’

Higher costs should kill Trans Mountain pipeline, federal opposition says

Most recent total was $12.6 billion, much higher than a previous $7.4-billion estimate

Most Read