January 20, 2001
volume 12, no. 20
Canada Supreme Court Upholds "Mercy-Killing" Sentence

    OTTAWA, Jan. 19, 01 ( - The Supreme Court of Canada ruled unanimously on Thursday that Robert Latimer must serve the regular sentence for second-degree murder-- a 25-year sentence with a minimum ten years in prison-- for killing his 12-year-old disabled daughter Tracy in 1993.

    Latimer had argued that he acted out of love and mercy. He remains unremorseful, indicating that he still believes he acted correctly by killing his daughter.

    In addition to deciding that Latimer's original trial was fair, the justices ruled on the question of whether the mandatory minimum sentence constituted "cruel and unusual punishment" in this case. The justices responded in the negative but added that the Minister of Justice might consider exercising "the power to grant him clemency from this sentence, using the royal prerogative of mercy."

    Jim Hughes, National President of Campaign Life Coalition, commented on the ruling saying, "To kill a person, any person, regardless of their physical or mental capacity, is a crime against humanity and must be answered with the full force of law. To do less would make a farce of the law and would relegate some human beings to a lesser state and of lesser value, than others". He concluded: "The Justices of the Supreme Court are to be congratulated on their integrity and on their conscientious deliberations."

    Latimer murdered his daughter Tracy by placing her in his truck and pumping in exhaust fumes. He was convicted of second-degree murder three times as the case moved through the court system. In December 1997, a judge gave him a constitutional exemption from the mandatory 10-year-minimum sentence allowing him to serve only 2 years-- a decision that was reversed a year later.

For other news stories, see

January 20, 2001
volume 12, no. 20
DAILY News regarding the Sanctity of Life

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