Caught in Corruption – Alberta Justice’s attempts to withhold evidence, censor witnesses and remove AHS liability
A wise man once said “Oh what a tangled web we weave… when we practice to deceive”
This statement accurately describes the feeling and attitude that people have after attending the Ezekiel Stephan court case in Lethbridge Alberta. As the crown does everything it can to censor and stifle the testimonies of anyone who speaks out against their “version” of the events leading up to little Zeke’s passing, small bits and pieces of a very contradictory story have escaped their grasp. It’s like a leaky ship with more holes in it than the crown has fingers to plug them.
It’s a six week trial that could be transcribed into volumes. In the interest of time let’s take a look a just a few of the most interesting leaks.
Paramedic Testifies he was ordered not to disclose information to the defense counsel
On March 21 2016 paramedic Kenneth Cherniawsky testified that he was instructed to not disclose the fact that the ambulance attending Zeke had been destocked of life saving equipment in spite of continued complaints by the Paramedics and then restocked two weeks after he died. He went on to say that the lack of equipment resulted in Zeke being without oxygen for 8.5 minutes.
It’s important to know that brain damage occurs at about 4 minutes and 95% of people will die within 5 minutes of oxygen deprivation.
World renowned Medical Examiner Testifies of Non-Disclosed Evidence and an autopsy report that does not match the Alberta Justice Medical Examiner’s report
On April 19th Former Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Anny Sauvageau testified of an x-ray that was not disclosed to the defense that punched a major hole in the prosecution’s case. The basis of the prosecution’s case is that Zeke was deathly ill for over two weeks with bacterial meningitis. They presented evidence of a lung infection and they claimed during this time he was denied medical attention. Zeke died in the care of medical staff and the crown says the parents did too little too late.
The crown started out the trial of baby Ezekiel’s parents with strong statements but soon ran into a problem. Repeated and contradictory testimonies show the young boy as having a nasty cold (possibly Croup) that lasted a few days, he got better and then flu like symptoms that again lasted a few days before he got better and then erratic breathing which resulted in an ambulance ride that as a result of improperly stocked equipment, led to his death. Zeke was seen attending public events like parent preschool and church where hundreds of people attended with him and he was playing after having recovered from the two bouts of illness.
It was Ezekiel’s parents and those who witnessed Zeke’s outings word against the word of medical staff and the Alberta Justice’s Medical Examiner.
An undisclosed X-ray surfaced that showed his lungs were in fact healthy when he first entered the Cardston hospital. This was a death blow to the crown’s claim that he had a pre-existing lung infection that would have resulted in severe symptoms that did not match the Stephan’s testimonies. It was found that the likely cause of the lung infection that developed was Zeke’s intubation at the hospital.
Then there was Dr. Anny Sauvageau’s findings that were backed up by the autopsy report, but did not even remotely resemble the findings or testimony of Alberta Justice’s current Medical Examiner, Dr. Adeagbo.
This last piece of evidence would be a third strike against and clear indication of Alberta Justice’s role in framing the parents of Ezekiel and attempting to distance AHS from culpability.
As I talked to those who were in attendance during testimony, the overwhelming indication was that the crown prosecutors were not at all shocked by this information. Further to this it became abundantly clear that Dr. Sauvageau was ordered not to speak on either diagnosis or prognosis. Twice during questioning she cited that she could not speak to certain topics at all unless she could tell the whole truth. She was also not allowed to access her notes during testimony.
Oath swearing throughout the trial
For weeks we heard the same story over and over again from different doctors. Zeke got sick, he died, and how terrible it was for him. All of these testimonies wrapped around the horrible pain associated with bacterial meningitis until it was proved that there was no evidence to support that claim.
In the closing arguments the crown prosecutor stated: “This trial is not about murder. It is not about manslaughter. It is not about any offence concerning death. The Crown does not need to prove the accused contributed in any way or had a hand in a death,”
This statement effectively dismissed weeks worth of testimony and evidence that the crown had built showing the gruesome harm inflicted on Ezekiel. Literally hundreds of thousands of dollars, jury and court cost were wasted on both sides of the case. This marked change in strategy as a result of the paramedics testimony and the newly discovered X-ray, took a case contemplating injury and rolled it right back to only the events before the original 911 call.
For the court it’s as if Zeke never died. It also brings into question the nature and scope of the charges and how they should be used.
The examples above are just a couple of the most obvious examples of wrongdoing in this case. It’s become clear that information that would be favorable to the Stephan’s case is being blocked from the view of the Jury, and that there is likely a whole lot more that is being withheld from the defense.
Broad sweeping implications for all parents in Alberta
Traditionally criminal charges over failing to provide the necessaries have been reserved for extreme cases where parents or guardians intentionally neglected their children’s needs. For example, this charge is often used on fathers who refuse for an extended time to pay child support.
It was repeatedly brought up in doctors testimonies that the symptoms Zeke had were neither urgent nor indicative of meningitis. The Emergency room RN who assessed Zeke did not see any emergent symptoms and thought that if they went into the emergency room that they would likely be sent home as the symptoms presented matched that of a flu.
If these parents are convicted it will create case law that will change the historic intentional neglect to include accidental neglect and give medical professionals, police, teachers or any other person with supervisory authority over your children an opening to have charges brought against you regardless of intent and in the absence of any harm to your child. All it would take is a report by a teacher, school counselor or medical professional or other person, that something looked like neglect and away you go, down the path to a $300,000.00 court file and possible jail time.
Imagine all the ways that your child could be harmed that someone might interpret as neglect even without any harm taking place. The potential for tick bites and trampoline accidents suddenly become a high risk criminal liability. A bike accident where the child does not immediately show any signs of a concussion may result in prison time.
As the crown indicated in their final arguments, this case is not about the death of Zeke or any harm done. It’s only about whether or not these parents should have been able to tell the difference between a flu bug and meningitis and get him to the right kind of medical professional. Again, keep in mind that not one doctor who testified indicated that they could have made that diagnosis based on the symptoms presented.
A parent’s inability to diagnose illness above the level of a doctor would be of no excuse. This will likely lead to a rush on emergency rooms for any minor illness so that the parents can offset any potential criminal liability.
Possible outcomes for the Stephan Family
In the event of a guilty verdict the Stephan’s children will likely be separated from them for up to five years. They will have permanent criminal records and will likely never have the opportunity to provide adequately for their family when they do get out of prison.