Latimer Accuses High Court Of "Fabrication"
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
May 17, 2004
METCHOSIN, BRITISH COLUMBIA--Robert Latimer, who is serving a mandatory 10 years of life sentence for murdering his daughter, Tracy, said during a rare prison interview last week that he will not seek clemency -- to have his prison term reduced.
Instead, the Saskatchewan farmer said he wants the Canada Supreme Court to explain why it suggested he could have used more effective medication to ease Tracy's pain.
Latimer confessed to using exhaust fumes from his pickup truck to kill 12-year-old Tracy on October 24, 1993. He said he did it out of love for the girl -- that it was a "mercy killing" motivated by his desire to not see her "continue to suffer" from her cerebral palsy and mental retardation.
At the time of her death, Tracy was scheduled for hip surgery that was to reduce pain and discomfort. Latimer insists that doctors said Tracy would only be able to take Tylenol after the surgery.
When it handed down its 2001 decision to lock Latimer away for at least 10 years, the high court said Tracy could have been given stronger medication to relieve her pain.
"It's a fabrication," Latimer told a Canadian Press reporter at William Head Institution, the minimum-security prison where he is now serving his sentence. "It's certainly contrary to everything I've ever understood."
When Latimer applied for a re-hearing in 2002, the high court denied his application, calling the case closed.
Latimer said he would not apply for clemency until the medication issue is cleared up.
Many disability rights advocates have suggested that Latimer murdered Tracy because he was tired of dealing with his own emotional pain. Some people who knew Tracy said that even though the girl did not speak, she let them know how much she loved people and enjoyed life.
The Latimer case has been the focus of attention for disability rights advocates around the world who see it as one of countless examples that society in general does not think the lives of people with disabilities are important -- that killing people who have certain disabilities is not only tolerated, but also justified as "merciful".
University of Alberta psychology professor Dick Sobsey has noted that Canada experienced a marked increase in the incidence of "altruistic filicide" -- the killing of a child out of a belief that death is in the child's best interest -- in the years immediately after Tracy's murder.
Polls have indicated that most Canadians sympathize with Latimer and support setting him free.
"Latimer still questions ruling, won't seek clemency" (Canadian Press)
"Tracy Latimer's Death: Mercy or Murder?" (Inclusion Daily Express Archives)