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Former southern Alberta couple to be tried for son’s death a third time

LETHBRIDGE, AB – A former southern Alberta couple, charged in the death of their toddler son, will be going to trial for the third time.

The court battle between the Crown and David and Collet Stephan has been ongoing since the death of 19 month old Ezekiel in 2012.

The boy had meningitis when he died and his parents are accused of not seeking medical attention for him sooner.

A jury found the Stephans guilty in 2016 of failing to provide the necessaries of life but the Supreme Court of Canada overturned that verdict and the judge in their second trial in 2019 found them not-guilty.

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Now, the Alberta Court of Appeal has ordered a third trial, granting the Crown’s request to overturn that acquittal based on comments made by Queen’s Bench Justice Terry Clackson in his decision.

He said Nigerian-born medical examiner, Dr. Bamidele Adeagbo, spoke with an accent and was difficult to understand, adding “his ability to articulate his thoughts in an understandable fashion was severely compromised by: his garbled enunciation; his failure to use appropriate endings for plurals and past tenses; his failure to use the appropriate definite and indefinite articles; his repeated emphasis of the wrong syllables; dropping his Hs; mispronouncing his vowels; and the speed of his responses.”

The Appeal Court judges have ruled these comments demonstrate “a reasonable apprehension of bias.”

No trial dates have been set as of yet.

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