David and Collet Stephan presented three applications in Lethbridge Court of Queen’s Bench on Friday (May 31), all of which were denied.
The couple was granted a new trial by the Supreme Court of Canada last year, following the successful appeal of their failing to provide the necessaries of life convictions. The Stephan’s will be representing themselves, stating previously that they have been denied by Legal Aid and cannot afford a lawyer on their own.
The original trial in 2016 heard that the Stephan’s toddler son Ezekial died from bacterial meningitis after being treated with natural remedies, rather than being taken to see a doctor.
The first application on Friday (May 31) was to have a different judge hear the applications, with David saying that Justice John Rook holds a biased view of the Stephan’s personal beliefs and that he was not thorough in reviewing previous disclosure. Justice Rook noted that he denied the application because there was no proper basis or evidence of bias presented, and his disagreement with the Stephan’s interpretation of the law does not mean he is biased against them.
Collet argued in the second application that the new trial, which begins Monday morning (June 3), should be adjourned for six months in order for her to retain counsel. While she stated that she feels unprepared to proceed with the new trial on her own and David’s father has now offered to pay for her lawyer, Justice Rook again denied the application, noting that Collet is intelligent, she should have been more diligent in seeking Legal Aid or other funding and believes it will still be a fair trial without her having legal counsel.
The Stephan’s then asked for a stay of proceedings in the final application, arguing that Alberta Health Services (AHS) has told them several times that they do not have a set of records from when Ezekial was in their medical care. While Justice Rook agreed that it does appear that some information is missing from the Stephan’s disclosure, he also noted that it does not appear that it is intentionally abuse by AHS, and therefore denied the stay.
The Stephan’s judge alone re-trial is scheduled to take place over the next month in Lethbridge Court of Queen’s Bench.