Stephans to seek nearly $4 million in court costs and stay of proceedings

By Lethbridge News Now (Lara Fominoff)
December 7, 2018 - 10:31am

LETHBRIDGE - David and Collet Stephan will not be seeking court ordered legal aid (Rowbotham and Fisher applications) after all, but instead will file an application to recover nearly $1 million dollars in court costs from Alberta Justice, and $3 million to be put into a trust account for their defence, if a trial expected to take place in June 2019, goes ahead.

Making their 70th court appearance Thursday, Dec. 6 via CCTV in Lethbridge from Grande Prairie, David and Collet told Madame Justice E.A. Hughes, who also appeared via CCTV in Calgary, that they are also seeking a stay of proceedings.

Justice Hughes asked the couple what they planned to do if their applications aren't successful.

"And have you thought - do you intend to go to trial on your own without counsel? I guess it's just important to always think about what might happen - that you may be successful - but you may not be successful. And so, if you're not successful have you got another plan?"

David told the judge that their plans "drastically changed" after they received their disclosure and the information contained in it.

"If the application is not successful, we will also be in the works on an application for dismissal of the entirety of the trial, regarding the fact that our 719 pages, our defense file, has been released to the Crown, which, we are now, I take the position that there is no way possible that we can have a fair trial regardless of the financial revenues that are brought forward."

Once again, Justice Hughes asked the couple whether they intend to represent themselves should their applications not be successful.

Stephan told the judge the family would have to assess their financial situation at that point and figure out where to go from there.

Justice Hughes told the couple it was not possible to proceed in that manner.

"I appreciate that you're acting on your own at the moment, but we can't just have one application and then that's not successful, so you file another application. And we just can't keep going on. We have trial dates set for June...but we have to find out if you're going to have counsel or not."

The Stephans were also directed by the judge to file a civil statement of claim for the money they are both seeking.

The couple must file any affidavits regarding their application for a stay of proceedings by Dec. 13 and the Crown must do so by Dec. 20. Any legal arguments will have to be filed by Jan.4 while the Crown will do so by Jan. 11.

David Stephan is expected to appear for the hearing on a potential stay of proceedings in Court of Queens Bench in Lethbridge Jan. 18, 2019.

A new trial was set for the couple after the couple successfully appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada last May.

The couple was found guilty following their original trial in 2016 of failing to provide the necessaries of life for their 19-month-old son Ezekiel, who died of meningitis in 2012.

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