A jury convicted David and Collet Stephan in 2016 for failing to provide the necessaries of life. The charges were laid against the couple following the death of their 19-month old son, Ezekiel, who died of meningitis. The Alberta Court of Appeal upheld the jury’s decision, but the Supreme Court of Canada ruled the original judge gave unclear and confusing instructions to the jury.
Terrie Fay-Shaw was the Crown’s first witness. Fay-Shaw is a registered midwife and nurse who knew the Stephans in 2012, and had helped them with the home births of their children, including Ezekiel. She testified that on March 12, 2012 she received a call from Collet, telling her that Ezekiel was sick with a cough. Upon arrival at the home, Shaw said Ezekiel was sleeping but noticed noticed no signs of illness. When she checked the toddler with her stethoscope, she noted he was “breathing peacefully, easily."
Outside of the courtroom, David Stephan spoke with the media. He said the crown did not anticipate Fay-Shaw’s testimony wold be favourable towards the family.
The trial is set to last four weeks.
Last year, Bridge City News produced a 5-part special, Fighting for Ezekiel. We spoke with medical and legal experts, as well as witnesses and had an exclusive interview with the Stephans. You can view it online here.