VICTORIA — Robert Latimer, the Saskatchewan farmer who killed his severely disabled daughter, has been granted full parole and will be home by Christmas, says his Vancouver lawyer.
Jason Gratl said Monday that Latimer was granted full parole as of Dec. 6 at a hearing on Thursday.
Gratl said Latimer does not want to discuss the conditions of his release or his current emotional state after the parole board’s decision.
“He doesn’t want to divulge details about where he intends to live or whether he intends to be with his family in Saskatchewan or any of those details,” said Gratl.
“He wants to maintain some sense of privacy and is reluctant to draw attention to his case.”
The 57-year-old farmer was convicted of second-degree murder and given a mandatory life sentence for the 1993 death of his severely disabled daughter, Tracy.
He described the carbon monoxide poisoning of Tracy at his farm near Wilkie, Sask., as a mercy killing.
Latimer was granted partial parole two year ago.
He has been spending five nights a week at the Victoria halfway house for the past two years, and two in his Victoria apartment.
At the family farm in Wilkie, Latimer’s wife Laura confirmed her husband had been paroled but said she wasn’t clear on the details and didn’t want to do an interview.
Author Gary Bauslaugh wrote a book on Latimer’s case entitled “Robert Latimer: A Story of Justice and Mercy” and worked with him to get the refusal of his day parole overturned.
He said Monday he got an email from Latimer saying he had been granted parole and “will be home in time for Christmas.”
Messages left at the halfway house where Latimer stays in downtown Victoria were not immediately returned.
Latimer had been fighting for months for looser parole conditions. Earlier this year, the Federal Court ordered National Parole Board to revisit its decision denying expansion of parole.
The judge said the board failed to follow its own legally binding principles — most notably that the paramount consideration for a person’s release be the protection of society.
The court noted Latimer has consistently been found to be at “very low” risk of reoffending.
Latimer’s case added fuel to a raging debate in Canada about euthanasia.
His 12-year-old daughter was severely disabled with cerebral palsy, and died Oct. 24, 1993, of carbon monoxide poisoning.
In 1994, Latimer was found guilty of second-degree murder even though jurors found he had deliberately and with pre-meditation threaded a hose into the truck where he had placed Tracy.
The rest of his family was not home at the time.
Latimer admitted he killed her, saying he wanted to end her suffering after doctors concluded she needed yet another surgery that would result in her being by fed through a tube. He also said she was in constant, excruciating pain.
In 1995, the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal upheld his conviction and sentence, which was a mandatory minimum 10-year sentence. Jurors in the case had recommended less.
The case went to the Supreme Court of Canada, which ordered a new trial in 1997, ruling errors by the RCMP and prosecutor necessitated a new trial.
Latimer’s second trial concluded in November 1997 with another second-degree murder conviction.
The case was again appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada, which ruled unanimously in January 2001 that Latimer had to serve 10 years in prison. The court said Latimer had other options to ease Tracy’s suffering.
Latimer was released from prison in February 2008.