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.

Just Posted

Let the Games begin!

Team Alberta takes home gold and silver in speed skating on day one

WATCH: Historic night in Red Deer as 2019 Canada Winter Games kicks off

Star-studded Opening Ceremony features athletes from across Canada

Athletes’ medals unveiled at the official kick-off of 2019 Canada Winter Games

Medals depict Central Alberta landscape and pay tribute to First Nations

Alix resident captures beams of light near Lacombe

Lacombe, Blackfalds, Red Deer photos have since gone viral around the world

WATCH: Canada Winter Games are finally here

Final leg of torch relay kicked off at Fort Normandeau

Trudeau’s principal secretary, Gerald Butts, resigns amid SNC-Lavalin furor

Butts categorically denies the accusation that he or anyone else in the PMO improperly pressured former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh calls for public inquiry over SNC-Lavalin questions

Vancouver member of Parliament Jody Wilson-Raybould resigned from cabinet last week

Body found after apparent house explosion in Calgary, police investigating

Sgt. Dwayne Lepchuk declined to say whose remains were found

Canadian airlines waiting for guidance from Ottawa over X gender option

Major U.S. airlines said they will change their process so passengers can identify themselves along non-binary lines

Deported B.C. man who came to Canada as a baby granted chance at return

Len Van Heest was deported to the Netherlands in 2017

Sex abuse survivors to meet with Vatican summit organizers

Pope Francis has urged participants to meet with abuse victims before they came to Rome

Ex-FBI official: ‘Crime may have been committed’ by Trump

Andrew McCabe said FBI had good reason to open a counterintelligence investigation into whether Trump was in league with Russia

Most Read