Lethbridge Alberta, June 2016
The David and Collet Stephan case may be the most controversial case Southern Alberta has ever seen. Claims of censored evidence, illegally obtained evidence, withheld evidence, illegal oath swearing and just about any other trick that could be used to manipulate a jury and secure a verdict were abundant. For all intents and purposes it appeared those who witnessed the trial that there was a common consensus and collusion between the Trial Judge, Crown Prosecutors and the Medical Examiner.
Within the first week of trial key evidence was challenged based on its merit and legality. Statements taken after the parents had been awake for over 42 hours, traumatized, and highly influenced in their conclusions about what happened to their son were admitted into court. This was in-spite of the fact that the parents were never read their rights, told that they should seek legal advice before making a statement or arrested and charged by the investigating officer.
Screen shot of preliminary transcript
For the next almost 4 weeks, a string of doctors were paraded in front of the Jury and were asked to describe what the hypothetical state of Ezekiel must have been, based on the Autopsy report.
Falsified Autopsy report was a key piece of evidence used to prosecute the Stephans
Other issues arose over oath swearing, an illegal practice of having multiple people parade in front of the court and enter the same evidence over and over again. Then there was a falsified statement by an attending physician who contradicted not only his own report but also all of the other medical professionals who had attended to Ezekiel. These were especially damaging given the fact that a Jury does not know how to recognize game play in the court room.
It was during the one week break in the trial that things began to unravel for the prosecution. A commentor on the Prayers for Ezekiel facebook page mentioned an article on the CBC website where a medical examiner had been fired for blowing the whistle on Alberta Justice for repeatedly requesting that she alter Autopsy reports where officers or Alberta Health Services were involved in situations that could leave them liable. Read about it here -> http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/anny-sauvageau-makes-more-allegations-of-wrongdoing-in-medical-examiner-s-office-1.2986998
Within days, contact was made and the Stephans had arranged for Dr. Sauvageau to look through the file. It only took hours before Dr. Sauvageau began to find discrepancies between the medical evidence and the report. One of the most glaring of which was an Xray that had not been released in disclosure. Sure enough when the Xray was examined it became apparent as to the reason for holding it back. The X-ray directly contradicted the entire premise of the Autopsy report findings.
The Autopsy claimed Ezekiel had died from pneumonia that developed into a Right plural Empyema that morphed into bacterial meningitis. There was no pneumonia or Empyema when Ezekiel entered the hospital. Further to this there was a complete lack of hemorrhaging on his brain which could not be the case if he had died from brain swelling.
The crowns woes began to pile up when the medical report ignored the fact that the attending paramedic testified of a lack of life saving equipment in his ambulance as a result of government cut backs. He testified that Ezekiel was as a result without oxygen for 8.5 minutes. This amount of time would likely cause brain death.
Whats worse is the fact that information on the 911 call would lead us to believe that if David and Collet had skipped the ambulance and gone directly to the hospital Ezekiel would have lived and likely experienced 100% recovery.
911 call transcripts showing that Ezekiel was asphyxiating and that air from his mothers CPR was getting through
Further evidence showed that a slap on the back had resulted in Ezekiel coughing up mucus and breathing again.
These new facts would deal a devastating blow to the crowns case if they didn't act fast.
ScreenShot of three paragraphs of the second medical examiners report which pointed out evidence that directly contradicted the autopsy report
In light of this the crown prosecutor determined to have Dr. Sauvageau censored and disallowed her to speak on certain topics that she is considered to be an expert on. Dr. Sauvageau has testified in over 300 cases for Alberta Justice and was always allowed to access her notes. In this trial she was denied access to her notes and was censored in what she could say and what questions she was allowed to answer. Dr. Sauvageau was not allowed to take copies of evidence and was only allowed to testify on what she saw.
At the end of the trial the jury was not able to see the exonerating evidence and the Stephans were found guilty.Only after the guilty verdict were the Stephans able to acquire copies of the xray report and other evidence that should have been included in the disclosure.