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A couple who allowed their toddler to die from meningitis have been given a surprising short sentence.

A Canadian anti-vaxxer couple convicted of medical neglect for allowing their toddler to die of meningitis by treating him with home remedies has been sentenced.

David Stephan, 33, will serve four months behind bars. His wife Collet, 36, will spend three months under house arrest, according to CBC.

Both had been found guilty of failing to provide the necessaries of life to their 19-month-old son Ezekiel in the lead-up to his death of bacterial meningitis in 2012.

Ezekiel died in March 2016 of bacterial meningitis. Image via Facebook.

At a sentencing hearing, CBC reports prosecutor Lisa Welsh had called for the pair to serve nearly five years in jail, declaring their "arrogant and selfish" behaviour was "effectively abuse".

The Stephans had refused to take Ezekiel to a doctor despite watching him suffer from severe symptoms for two weeks, instead choosing to treat him with natural remedies such as ginger root, apple cider, hot peppers, horseradish, garlic and onion.

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Ezekiel's parents treated him with various herbs and natural remedies. Image via Facebook.

They also took their dying son to a local naturopath for treatment, but by that stage his body was so stiff he was unable to sit in his car seat and had to lie on a mattress in the back of the family’s car.

The parents - who own a natural supplements company and have three other young sons - only called for medical help when Ezekiel stopped breathing, but the toddler died in hospital after five days on life support.

Ezekiel's parents had been pleading for leniency. Image via Facebook.
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In his sentencing, Justice Rodney Jerke said the Stephans were caring parents who hadn't intended to put the boy's life at risk, but noted that  "any reasonable and prudent person would have taken (medical) action".

He said Collet was "wilfully blind" to the fact her conduct would put Ezekiel's life at risk of death.

Jerke said David's conduct after the conviction demonstrated a "complete lack of remorse."

"David's moral culpability is greater than Collet's," the judge said.

The opening statements in the David and Collet Stephan court case. Post continues after video...

Collet had earlier testified "if I could turn back time and do something different ... I definitely would."

But in an interview with the filmmakers of anti-vaccination film Vaxxed, her husband David insisted he and his wife had done nothing out of the ordinary and blamed faulty ambulance equipment for his son's death.

There has however been no finding that an ambulance was responsible.

"We were treating our child with different homeopathic  remedies, different herbal remedies like tens of thousands of people do," he said.

While there are multiple vaccines available to protect babies and children against meningitis, the anti-vaccination movement has seen more and more parents opting out of this protective measure in recent years.

If untreated, meningitis is almost always fatal, particularly in babies and small children such as Ezekial.

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