Robert Latimer, a Saskatchewan farmer, was sentenced, in November 1994, he received 10 years in prison without parole, for the murder of his daughter
Tracy. Tracy suffered from Cerebral Palsy,
she was born on November
23rd, 1980 and she died October 23rd, 1993, by the hands of her father.
R. Latimer indicated that he killed his daughter because he was afraid that the next surgery she was going to have
to remove a permanently disconnected hip, will only add to Tracy’s suffering. Therefore
it was a mercy killing.
This case caused a big debate on mercy killings. In 1997, R. Latimer went
to the Supreme Court were he and his lawyer used section 10 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, to plead not guilty. Section reads: “Everyone has the right to
on arrest to detention a) to be informed promptly of the reasons therefore; b) to retain and instruct counsel without delay
and to be informed released if the detention is not lawful, of that right; and c)to have the validity of the detention determined
by way of habeas corpus and to be.” This section also includes the Oaks test. R. Latimer was still found guilty.
In 2001, the case was brought to the Supreme Court a second time upon which this time, R. Latimer and his lawyer pleaded
innocence under section 12 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. This section 12 reads: “Everyone has the
right not to be subjected to any cruel and unusual treatment or punishment”. He
believed that he was not guilty for the murder of this daughter because it was an act based on mercy and that a 10 year sentence
was too much, even though it is the minimal sentence given to convicted murderers.
R. Latimer supporters believe that it was a mercy killing based on the belief that his daughter was suffering from
the effect of Cerebral Palsy. Even the jury believe that he should have only
had one year in prison and have one year under house arrest at his farm near Wilkie, Saskatchewan.
However not every one agrees on this case. Advocates for the rights of
disabled people say that killing a severely disable child like Tracy should count like another murder
of a non-disable child. If not it will make the life of disable child less valuable
and many other killing will happen from the children caregivers.