Robert Latimer applies for pardon of murder conviction
Robert Latimer is seeking a pardon or a new trial from his second-degree murder conviction after exhausting all his appeals in the 1993 killing of his daughter Tracy.
In an application sent Wednesday to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and federal Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould, Latimer’s B.C. lawyer Jason Gratl said his client deserves a pardon or a new trial due to a miscarriage of justice.
“The miscarriage of justice in Mr. Latimer’s trial results from the fact that opiate analgesia, which would have had the secondary effect of ending Tracey’s [sic] life and the option of palliative sedation, was unlawfully and unfairly withheld from Tracey Latimer [sic],” Gratl wrote in the application.
“The fact that this was not considered at trial or any of the appellate levels was manifestly unjust and amounts to a miscarriage of justice.”
Tracy, who was 12, had cerebral palsy when Latimer killed her on the family’s farm in Wilkie, Sask., by piping exhaust into the cab of his truck in 1993.
He admitted what he did, but said he wanted to end his daughter’s chronic, excruciating pain. He has always said he did nothing wrong.
Gratl said Latimer was the “victim of medical malpractice” and would never have intervened if Tracy had received proper medical treatment.
“Tracey Latimer’s [sic] life should have ended ‘unintentionally’ as a secondary consequence of her physicians’ administration of opiates to alleviate her pain; her life should not have ended by her father’s merciful and intentional administration of carbon monoxide,” Gratl wrote.
Latimer was originally convicted of second-degree murder in 1994, but a new trial was ordered by the Supreme Court of Canada in 1997 because of errors made by the RCMP and Crown prosecutor.
His second trial ended in November 1997 with another second-degree murder conviction. The Supreme Court upheld the conviction in 2001 and said Latimer had to serve 10 years in prison.
Latimer was granted day parole in 2008 and full parole in 2010 but lives under the threat of having his parole revoked.
His case has been polarizing in Canada. Some feel he was a caring father who acted out of love for his daughter. Others argue leniency for him would devalue the lives of the disabled.
The Canadian Association for Community Living called on the government on Thursday to reject the application.
It noted that the Supreme Court highlighted how Tracy enjoyed music, bonfires, being with her family and the circus.
“A suggestion that Mr. Latimer had no option but to murder his daughter has already been soundly rejected by the Supreme Court,” the association said in a news release.
“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.”
-With files from The Canadian Press
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