Ian Mulgrew: Robert Latimer seeks remission for murder of disabled daughter


The Saskatchewan farmer who became a controversial national figure after what he claimed was the 1993 mercy killing of his severely disabled 12-year-old daughter, Robert Latimer wants to be pardoned.

The now-65-year-old was twice tried for murdering Tracey — he placed her in the cab of his pickup truck and ran a hose from the exhaust pipe, igniting a passionate countrywide debate about the rights of those suffering severe, disabling conditions unable to communicate.

Latimer said he was the victim of a miscarriage of justice and on Wednesday asked federal Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould to use her powers under the Criminal Code to review his case and pardon him pursuant to the Royal Prerogative of Mercy.

His daughter was racked by incurable cerebral palsy because of oxygen deprivation due to faulty hospital equipment at birth — a bedridden quadriplegic with the mind of an infant, metal rods in her spine, subject to seizures five or six times a day, facing more disfiguring surgery.

Her father insisted the continuing treatment forced her to live in “incessant agony.”

At the time, medically assisted death was a crime.

Latimer maintained he deserved a pardon based on “the deprivation of Tracey’s right to lawful access to pain management” and “the deliberate corruption of his jury by the RCMP and prosecutor in his first trial and by the Supreme Court of Canada’s exhortation to pardon him at paragraphs 89 and 90 of their 2001 reasons for judgment (on the second).”

The top bench could find no legal reason to intervene but emphasized the remedy available under executive privilege.

Latimer argued that had his daughter received the painkillers she deserved she would have died so doctors did not administer them condemning her to unbearable pain and misery.

“Tracey Latimer’s 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,” Vancouver lawyer Jason Gratl said in a letter cc’d to the Prime Minister accompanying the application obtained by Postmedia.

“The unlawful insistence of members of the medical profession that Tracey should suffer placed Robert Latimer in a position that led him to break the law … (He) is a victim of medical malpractice.”

The first trial was overturned because of the jury tampering, but Latimer was convicted the second time and sentenced to mandatory life imprisonment with a 10-year minimum before parole.

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Source:: Vancouver Sun – Politics

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