Trial to go ahead for southern Alberta parents charged with failing to provide the necessities of life

LETHBRIDGE — A  Glenwood couple will go to trial later this month after being charged with failing to provide the necessities of life to their 19-month-old son, Ezekiel.

David and Collet Stephan’s lawyer filed an application to stay their charges, stating they were denied the right to be tried within a reasonable time.

A judge denied the application and stated he found that under the circumstances, reasonable time was given.

Ezekiel died of meningitis in March 2012 at the Children’s Hospital in Calgary; his parents were charged 11 months later.

David Stephan says it’s not the decision they were hoping for, and the four-year court process has been a difficult one.

“It’s an extremely long time, and it’s an extremely long time as a family to not be able to heal. We’re going to be in court during the hardest time of the year, every year since it’s passed, the day that he passed in the Children’s Hospital,” he said. “We’re going to be spending that in court, going through evidence, reliving that situation over and over and over… and so it’s going to be tremendously hard moving forward.”

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The crown prosecutor declined to comment on the judge’s ruling.

The Stephans elected to have a trial by judge and jury. It is scheduled to last four weeks, starting Feb. 29.

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