PRINCE GEORGE - A father convicted of withholding the necessaries of life in his son's death is touring British Columbia, to promote his family's supplement business, even as the appeal process continues.
Speaking at an event Tuesday, Jan. 10 in Prince George, David Stephan insisted that he and his wife Collet did not get a fair portrayal of their 2016 trial in Lethbridge in the media, and said it's something he considered seriously before resuming his speaking events. Stephan was promoting a supplement aimed at treatment of mental health issues.
"There's always a lot of adversity, especially after going through a tragic situation like we went through and having it misrepresented in the media, a lot of facts omitted and whatnot, that would generate bias towards us, against us, type of thing. And so it's always a concern," Stephan said. "Even though there may be some controversy surrounding it, which we weren't anticipating at this level -- there seems to be a concerted effort to generate this issue from outside of Prince George -- I decided to move forward with it anyways, just so I could share a message of hope with people."
Stephan said contrary to media portrayals, he and his wife are not anti-mainstream medicine.
"Now, do I have my concerns over various aspects of it? Absolutely. Especially with regard to mental heath," he said. "Have we seen the devastating effects that antidepressants can have on people? Yes. It's one thing-- yes, they can help some people. But the pharmaceutical industry has failed to disclose these risks that they were aware of."
John Moxin attended the event because he says he's concerned about "pseudoscience" being peddled.
"To put it really simply, he has a product that he's targeting to people who have mental or emotional or cognitive problems," Moxin said afterwards. "And hey, awesome if it works for them. But it's not tested. This is not alternative medicine. This is just quackery."
Moxin was angry that experts in the field didn't come out to voice their opposition.
"I'm a stagehand. I'm a guy who puts on shows. And I don't have a background in medicine," he said. "Where were the child welfare advocates? Where were the doctors, where were the scientists, where were the mental health care workers? Where were you? They should have been here tonight."
The Stephans are appealing their convictions, while the Crown has filed an appeal of their sentences. The case is due before the Alberta Court of Appeal March 9.
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