Robert Latimer Wants New Trial in Murder-Euthanasia Case, Won’t Lobby Govt

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 17, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Robert Latimer Wants New Trial in Murder-Euthanasia Case, Won’t Lobby Govt Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
March 17
, 2008

Ottawa, Canada ( — Robert Latimer, the man who murdered his disabled daughter by forcing her into the cab of his truck and letting exhaust fumes kill her, has already been paroled. Now he says he wants a new trial to clear his name in the so-called mercy killing case that horrified pro-life and disability rights groups.

A parole board of appeals reversed the decision by a local parole panel last month and allowed Latimer to be released on day parole.

He was originally denied day parole in December because he showed no remorse to a parole panel for killing his 13-year-old daughter Tracy.

Latimer was officially released last week and now he hopes to get a new case.

A jury found him guilty of second-degree murder in 1994 and the Canada Supreme Court eventually nullified the conviction. A second guilty verdict was later upheld and Latimer has served just seven years of that sentence.

"If you look at the first trial, that wasn’t honest," Latimer told reporters over the weekend, according to CTV.

"Then they pretty much had to carry it through and make that credible with another trial, which was just as crooked. They won’t allow a jury to decide whether it was right or wrong," he said.

Ivan Bjornholt, a friend of Latimer’s, also talked about the case with CTV’s Canada AM on Monday.

"He mainly wants his own case looked at over again, his main issue is over the fact in his trial the prosecution kept mentioning so-called better pain medication that was available to him," he said. "There’s no proof or fact of this, yet it was used in his trial as evidence against him."

Meanwhile, Bjornholt disputed the contention from disability activists that Latimer is going to lobby MPs to pass a law legalizing assisted suicide.

As reported recently, leading opponents of euthanasia in Canada are concerned that another bill to attempt to legalize assisted suicide could come after the next national elections.

Euthanasia Prevention Coalition director Alex Schadenberg told the Canadian Catholic News he wouldn’t be surprised if Latimer ends up walking the halls of Parliament trying to win over MPs to his view that it’s okay to kill disabled people when society views their quality of life as too poor.

"His idea is a direct threat to other people," Schadenberg said.

Bjornholt disputed that contention.

"A lot of people think he’s going to be lobbying or crusading for causes such as legalizing euthanasia, but that’s not the case at all, that’s just mostly promoted by certain groups for the disabled," he told CTV.

"I think he’s just going to play it by ear, see what comes up. But he figures if he’s in Ottawa, at least he can talk to people there."