The retrial for David and Collet Stephan, accused of failing to provide the necessaries of life to their 18-month-old son Ezekiel, is one step closer to a verdict as closing arguments began on Wednesday.
The retrial began in June, originally scheduled to take four weeks. Several breaks have taken place over the last few months, extending the trial well beyond its slated time.
Shawn Buckely, a lawyer assisting the Stephans, began his closing arguments with a recap of the evidence presented in the trial. He highlighted what he called the importance of doctor Dr. Anny Sauvageau’s testimony.
Sauvageau was Alberta’s Chief Medical Examiner from 2011 to 2014. Ezekiel Stephan died in 2012.
Sauvageau is responsible for hiring Dr. Bamidele Adeagbo, the medical examiner who performed the autopsy on Ezekiel.
Sauvageau disputes the cause of death Adeagbo concluded and said bacterial meningitis was not the cause, rather a hypoxic brain injury after a medical misadventure — referring to when he was without oxygen for about nine minutes while being transported to the hospital in an ambulance.
David Stephen also began his closing statements. He reminded judge of hundreds of pages of medical history that was not given to Dr. Adeagbo. He said the missing pages include radiology reports referring to brain swelling related to hypoxic injury. David said the medical examiner’s cause of death could have been different if he had those documents.
“Having a lot more of the truth available, a lot more of the evidence that we didn’t have in the previous trial, having all of that come out, we expect to be vindicated through all of this and we expect that there will be a much different outcome this time around,” David told Global News before he began his closing remarks.
It’s expected David Stephan will conclude his closing remarks Thursday, followed by lawyer Jason Demers, who’s assisting Collet, then it will be the Crown’s turn.
Arguments are scheduled to be complete by Friday, then the judge is expected to reserve his decision to review all of the evidence.