Robert Latimer Applies for Pardon

It was announced on Wednesday, that Robert Latimer is applying to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould for either a pardon or a new trial for the killing of his daughter in 1993. Latimer killed his severely disabled 12-year-old daughter, Tracy, in 1993 by piping exhaust fumes into the cab of his truck.

In an application filed on Wednesday, Latimer\’s lawyer claims the circumstances of his client\’s 1997 conviction amount to the kind of miscarriage of justice that deserves a rare ministerial review.

Latimer\’s case has already proven one of the most polarizing in Canadian legal history. He has appeared twice before the Supreme Court of Canada — first in 1997 when the court ordered a new trial due to jury interference and a second time in 2001, when the court upheld a life sentence with no parole for 10 years.

Latimer told police he did it — he said he loved his daughter, who had a severe form of cerebral palsy and was thought to be in chronic pain, and couldn\’t bear watching her suffer. The case has divided supporters who believe the case is one of so-called mercy killing and those who argue that failing to adequately punish a man for killing his disabled daughter devalues Tracy Latimer\’s life. The judge at Latimer\’s second trial called the murder \”compassionate homicide.\”

Latimer\’s application for ministerial review is based on an argument that while doctors could have managed Tracy\’s pain with strong medication like opioids, she was denied stronger drugs because they might have killed her.

On July 12th, the Canadian Association for Community Living (CACL) released a statement in response to Latimer\’s request for a pardon. The CACL strongly urged Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould, and the Government of Canada to do deny Robert Latimer\’s recent application for a pardon.

CACL noted that –

\”The taking of another life represents the most serious crime in our criminal justice system. A suggestion that Mr. Latimer had no option but to murder his daughter has already been soundly rejected by the Supreme Court of Canada after an extensive and exhaustive analysis.\”

The evidence at the trials of Mr. Latimer was clear – Tracy was not dying, and her pain could be managed. Joy Bacon, President of the Canadian Association for Community Living (CACL), said, \”The court found that Tracy\’s life was, in fact, worth living while her father had not. Tracy was robbed of her opportunity to flourish as a human being. As such, a pardon for Mr. Latimer would be a direct injustice to Tracy and her legacy and perpetuate society\’s stigmatization against persons who have disabilities.\”

Canada\’s Supreme Court highlighted in their decision that Tracy, enjoyed music, bonfires, being with her family and the circus. She liked to play music on a radio, which she could use with a special button. Tracy could recognize family members, and she would express joy at seeing them. Tracy also loved being rocked gently by her parents.

Community Ventures Society supports the position of the Canadian Association for Community Living.