A Canadian couple convicted of medical neglect for letting their toddler son die of meningitis have been sentenced to a few months in jail each. David and Collet Stephan were convicted in April of “failing to provide the necessaries of life” to their son Ezekiel, who was 19 months old when he died in 2012. The prosecution had requested a three to four-and-a-half year sentence for each of them. Collet was sentenced to three months house arrest, while David received four months in jail.
The Stephans chose not to take Ezekiel to a traditional doctor when he got sick, instead treating him with a variety of herbs and remedies that do not treat meningitis as well as, say, antibiotics, including a mixture of apple cider vinegar, horse radish root, hot peppers, mashed onion, garlic and ginger root.
Collet Stephan told the court that she’s spent the last four years second-guessing her decisions: “If I could turn back time and do something different so he would still be here, I definitely would.”
But earlier this week, in an interview with one of the filmmakers of anti-vaccination movie Vaxxed, her husband David blamed the ambulance they finally called for not being properly equipped and insisted Ezekiel wasn’t all that sick: “We were treating our child with different homeopathic remedies, different herbal remedies like tens of thousands of people do. Nothing out of the ordinary and he wasn’t severely ill.”
The video was played in court during the first part of the Stephan’s sentencing hearing Thursday, where the prosecution argued that it showed they didn’t accept responsibility for their crime:
But Justice R.A. Jerke ruled that the sentence requested by the prosecution was “far too harsh,” according to reporters in the courtroom:
He also placed greater blame on David Stephan, and said the interview showed “a complete lack of remorse.”
Correction: An earlier version of this post failed to specify that Collet Stephan will serve her sentence on house arrest.
David and Collet Stephan. Screenshot via YouTube/Reasonable Hank