When David and Collet Stephan’s son Ezekiel started to get sick, the Canadian couple decided to treat him with natural remedies including onion, garlic and water mixed with maple syrup, even taking him to a naturopathic clinic while the toddler couldn’t sit in a car seat because he was so stiff, a court heard.
It wasn’t until their 19-month-old child stopped breathing a couple weeks into his illness — determined to be meningitis — that David and Collet Stephan called an ambulance, according to CBC.
But by then, it was too late, the National Post reported, as little Ezekiel would later die at a hospital in Calgary on March 13, 2012 after he was taken off life support.
The parents argued they have a right to treat their children as they wish, CBC reported, but a Canadian court convicted them last April of failing to “provide the necessaries of life” for their child.
Never miss a local story.
David was given four months in jail, while his wife received three months of house arrest, the Calgary Sun reported.
Now, David Stephan is speaking out on Facebook, saying a Court of Appeals decision handed down last Wednesday that upheld his 2016 guilty verdict by a 2-1 margin proves “there is no room for justice and truth.”
Instead, he wrote, we need more love.
“During the court case it was well recognized that we were extremely loving and attentive parents to Ezekiel,” he wrote. “As such, upon the jury coming out with the guilty verdict, one of the crown prosecutors made the statement that ‘sometimes love just isn’t enough.’ With all of the corruption, deception, murdering, and greed that I see plaguing humanity and finding its way into the highest levels of government, I argue that it isn’t that ‘love just isn’t enough’ but rather that there just isn’t enough love.”
Stephan alleges that the prosecution “withheld and falsified evidence,” arguing that his son went without oxygen for eight minutes in an ambulance and that he was profiled as a “political dissident” in order to influence his son’s autopsy report.
And in March, defense lawyer Karen Molle said the Stephan family were not given a fair trial after the court heard a “week-long barrage of inflammatory emotional evidence” from doctors who gave Ezekiel treatment in the hospital, the National Post reported.
“The trial judge did not adequately exercise his gatekeeper function,” she said.
But Justice Bruce McDonald, in his writing for the majority decision in Wednesday’s ruling, said that Collet Stephan knew her son had meningitis but failed to get him treatment in time, the Toronto Star wrote. The prosecution played a tape in court of the mother talking to a police officer after calling an ambulance for her son, CBC reported, and she could be heard telling the officer that a friend who is a nurse said her son likely had meningitis.
“If they were only to take the child to a doctor,” McDonald wrote, “this evidence supports the conclusion that they actively failed to do what a reasonably prudent and ordinary parent would do.”
Because the decision was split 2-1, it allows the Stephan family to appeal the decision to the country’s Supreme Court, Global News reported. The prosecution, too, is appealing the ruling, as it seeks a harsher punishment for the couple.
Many on Twitter have heated opinions about the case.
While others posted on David Stephan’s Facebook to voice support.
“The system is so wrong and corrupt keep fighting all the way anything we can do to help we will,” one commenter wrote.
“I feel your strength,” another person commented. “God has you on a journey. The Allopathic model of medicine is a travesty and they know it!!!”
David Stephan — who wrote the court decision means says he can’t be there to support his pregnant wife when she gives birth — hopes his fight against the court decision can inspire others.
“One last matter on truth… I have seen so many who have awoken to the truth who have been overcome with anger and hatred as their entire world is shaken as reality begins to set in,” he wrote. “If I had but one thing of value that I could share it would be this… If you truly want to be a force for change, start with Love!”
“May God - the very author of Love - bless you all and may truth prevail!”