Last week, a Canadian couple — David Stephan and wife Collet Stephan — received an obscenely lenient sentence despite allowing their 19-month-old son to die from a preventable disease.
The Stephans treated their son’s meningitis with home remedies that included maple syrup and hot peppers… and avoided a vaccine that could have actually helped him.
For their negligence, they could have spent up to five years in prison.
Instead, David received a sentence of four months in jail while Collet was given three months of house arrest… though she’s still allowed to leave the house to go to the doctor and church.
The prosecutors, clearly shocked by the minimal punishment, are now filing an appeal against the sentences, saying the couple deserved something much worse:
The Crown is appealing the sentence on several grounds. It will argue the sentences aren’t “proportionate to the gravity of the offence or to the degree of responsibility of the offender, and is unfit.”
It also asserts the judge gave insufficient weight to denunciation and deterrence and failed to give weight to aggravating factors. The appeal also says Justice [Rodney] Jerke overemphasized mitigating factors in the couple’s favour while passing sentence.
No court date has been scheduled for the case to be heard.
I don’t know how much of a long shot this is, but my biggest worry after hearing the initial sentence was that it sent a message to other parents that their irrational beliefs mattered more than the life of their child. It wasn’t a deterrent to their own bad behavior.
A revised, harsher sentence could go a long way to changing that.
(Image via Facebook)