David And Collet Stephan Face Unusual Facebook Order

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COLLET STEPHAN
Collet and David Stephan were found guilty for failing to provide the necessities of life for their son Ezekiel. | THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
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One week after their sentencing, two Alberta parents have yet to comply with a judge's unusual order.

The two were convicted of failing to provide the necessities of life for their toddler, Ezekiel, who died from viral meningitis in 2012.

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Nineteen-month-old Ezekiel Stephen died in 2012 after contracting meningitis. (Photo: PrayersForEzekiel/Facebook)

Last month, David Stephan was sentenced to four months in jail, while his wife Collet faces three months of house arrest.

The judge ordered Collet to "post an unedited accurate copy" of the verdict to both her personal Facebook page, and to one dedicated to documenting the trial from the Stephans' perspective.

They were ordered to take their remaining three children to a doctor once a year. They're also obligated to provide the doctor with a copy of their sentencing.

Anti-medicine advocates

Ezekiel's parents, who treated their son with natural remedies and refused to take him to a doctor, have become prominent faces in the anti-vaccine movement.

Justice Rodney Jerke noted that the discrepancy in time served between the two parents is due to the lack of remorse shown by Ezekiel's father public comments about the case.

The Stephan family and those close to them have documented their trial on social media, mostly on a Facebook page called "Prayers for Ezekiel" and the "Stand 4 Truth" blog.

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David and Collette Stephan leave the courthouse in Lethbridge, Alta. on April 26, 2016. (Photo: David Rossiter/The Canadian Press)

The pages post pleas to support the Stephans, both financially and emotionally, amid claims mainstream media corruption and the government manipulated their case.

In a video interview by the producers of an anti-vaccine documentary, David Stephan alleges the ambulance's improper equipment caused their son's death.

Evidence presented at the trial that Ezekiel was already blue by the time emergency responders arrived. Stephan also wrote a letter lashing out at the justice system and posted it to Facebook shortly after a jury found him and his wife guilty.

Critical of the courts

Criminal defence lawyer Adriano Iovinelli said Stephan's decision to post publicly about the case was risky.

"This individual is still before the courts and is criticizing both the Crown prosecutor and essentially the trial process itself, and that never bodes well for someone who is appearing before the courts for sentencing," Iovinelli told CBC News weeks before the sentencing.

However, the social media posts have won the parents an ardent community of thousands of supporters, some of whom attended the parents' last court date in Lethbridge clad in white T-shirts and jeans to show their endorsement of the Stephans.


The Calgary Police Service's counsel said the judge likely made the decision to uphold respect for the law.

“In this scenario, their community is this cyber community that is so anti-first world medicine that (the justice) is suggesting that they need to inform their community that, in fact, they did have a hand in this kid’s death and they have to take responsibility for it," Donna Spaner told The National Post.

As of Tuesday, the "Prayers for Ezekiel" page has yet to post the ruling. Collet Stephan may have posted the ruling privately, but it is not visible to public visitors to her page.

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