Statements made by David and Collet Stephan admissible in court, judge rules
Couple are facing a new trial in June for the 2012 death of their 19-month-old son
Statements made by David and Collet Stephan to an RCMP officer and child abuse consultant in 2012 were done voluntarily and will be admissible at their upcoming trial later this year, a Court of Queen's Bench judge ruled Thursday.
The pair were found guilty in 2016 of failing to provide the necessaries of life to their 19-month-old son, Ezekiel, however the convictions were later overturned by the Supreme Court and a new trial is scheduled for June.
Justice John Rooke said Thursday the RCMP officer who took statements from both David and Collet in 2012 was "nothing but compassionate," asked open ended questions and made it clear he did not know a criminal act may have been committed.
David spoke to reporters following Thursday's hearing and said he wasn't surprised by the ruling.
"Our reaction to Justice Rooke dismissing our applications? He's basically picked them all apart piece by piece, taken major issue over any of the controversial ones that would expose the RCMP corruption and hospital corruption in engineering the case against us," he said.
"So we're not surprised at all, actually, that he's done what he's done."
In February, Rooke rejected a request by the Stephans for $4 million to pay for past and future legal bills, saying at the time the request belongs in civil court.
He also said the upcoming trial will not be an inquiry into the death of his son, but will decide on the couple's guilt or innocence.
Stephan has earlier alleged collusion and perjury by the Crown and some witnesses.
The couple's original trial in Lethbridge, Alta., heard evidence that they treated the boy with natural remedies and smoothies made with garlic, onion and horseradish rather than take him to a doctor when he became sick.
Ezekiel 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 eventually called 911 but he died in hospital in Calgary in 2012.
Last year, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled the original judge did not properly instruct jurors and ordered a new trial.
With files from Lara Fominoff, Lethbridge News Now