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Stephans choose judge alone for new Alberta trial into son’s meningitis death

Ezekiel Stephan was 18 months old when he died of meningitis. Prayers for Ezekiel/Facebook

A judge alone will hear the case against a couple charged in connection with their son’s death in southern Alberta.

David Stephan and his wife, Collet, have re-elected to have their case retried by a judge alone, after being found guilty by a jury two years ago in Lethbridge, Alta.

The couple was found guilty in 2016 of failing to provide the necesseties of life in 2012 to 18-month-old Ezekiel, who died of bacterial meningitis.

David Stephan and his wife Collet Stephan arrive at court in Lethbridge, Alta., on March 10, 2016.
David Stephan and his wife Collet Stephan arrive at court in Lethbridge, Alta., on March 10, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/David Rossiter

Their trial heard that they treated the boy with homemade remedies such as garlic, onion and horseradish, rather than take him to a doctor. The Stephans eventually called 911 but the little boy died in hospital.

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READ MORE: Father says ‘no room for justice and truth’ after Alberta court upholds convictions in son’s meningitis death

The Stephans appealed their conviction and the Supreme Court of Canada ordered a new trial, after the Alberta Court of Appeal upheld the conviction.

The ruling wasn’t unanimous, so the couple had an automatic right to take their case to the Supreme Court.

The Stephans used to live in southern Alberta, but later moved to Nelson, B.C.

Their four-week trial is set to begin on June 3, 2019.