The medical examiner who performed the autopsy on a young Alberta boy who died of bacterial meningitis returned to the stand as the retrial of David and Collet Stephan resumed on Monday.
The couple is charged with failing to provide the necessaries of life to their 18-month-old son, Ezekiel, who died in March 2012.
In 2016, a jury found the couple guilty, but the Supreme Court of Canada ordered a second trial last year.
The case is being heard by a judge alone in the retrial, with the Crown arguing the Stephans should have sought medical treatment for the boy sooner. The couple opted instead to treat him with natural remedies before he stopped breathing.
Earlier in the retrial, Crown witness Dr. Bamidele Adeagbo testified it was clear Ezekiel had died from bacterial meningitis.
During cross-examination on Monday, defence lawyer Jason Demers referred to a report by former chief medical examiner Dr. Anny Sauvageau on Ezekiel’s cause of death.
In the report, Sauvageau concluded the child died from hypoxic brain injury after a medical misadventure — referring to when Ezekiel was without oxygen for some time while being transported to the hospital in an ambulance.
Court heard earlier in the trial that the ambulance had lacked proper equipment.
Adeagbo told court that while hypoxic injury could have been a possibility, there was no evidence showing that. Adeagbo also testified earlier in the trial that when he tested Ezekiel’s brain tissue, he found no sign that Ezekiel had been without oxygen.
Demers suggested that Adeagbo didn’t consider the possibility of viral meningitis, noting that Sauvageau concluded Ezekiel had suffered from viral meningitis as a complication of croup.
Adeagbo responded that he disagreed with Sauvageau, telling court several times that her report had statements that were correct but taken out of the larger context.
Adeagbo’s comments have not yet been admitted into evidence as his qualifications as an expert on forensic pathology continue to be questioned.