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Parents to appeal conviction

A father convicted in the meningitis death of his toddler says he and his wife will stay out on bail while they take their appeal to Canada's top court.

David Stephan and his wife, Collet, were both found guilty last year of failing to provide the necessaries of life in their son Ezekiel's 2012 death.

Their trial in Lethbridge, Alta., heard they treated the 19-month-old boy with garlic, onion and horseradish rather than taking him to a doctor. The Stephans eventually called 911 but the little boy died in hospital.

The three-member Alberta Court of Appeal upheld the conviction last week but because the ruling wasn't unanimous, the couple has an automatic right to have the Supreme Court hear arguments in the case.

"I would also love to thank our lawyers for initiating conversation with the Crown prosecution to have me stay out of jail while we are filing a Supreme Court application," Stephan said in a recent Facebook post from his home in Nelson, B.C.

"And oddly enough I would like to thank the Crown prosecution, who in times past have been excessively cruel and inhumane towards us, but yet in this situation have fully consented to extending our bail that we have been out on for nearly the past year and a half as we went through the appeal process."

David Stephan was sentenced to four months in jail and his wife was ordered to spend three months under house arrest — the only exceptions being trips to church and medical appointments. The Crown has indicated it plans to appeal the sentences, saying they are too lenient.

Witnesses at the trial said the little boy's body was so stiff he couldn't sit in his car seat, so the toddler had to lie on a mattress when his mother drove him from their rural Alberta home to a naturopathic clinic in Lethbridge, where she bought an echinacea mixture.

The Stephans never called for medical assistance until Ezekiel stopped breathing. He was rushed to a local hospital and died after being transported to Calgary's Children's Hospital.



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