Latimer: constitutional exemption

Roncalli Central High
Port Saunders, Newfoundland

By Cheryl H. (Grade 12)

On October 24, 1993, Robert Latimer, from Saskatchewan, killed his 12 year old daughter, Tracy, who suffered from congenital cerebral palsy.

He killed his daughter by putting her in the cab of a pickup truck and poisoned her with carbon monoxide fumes. He connected a hose to the exhaust pipe and put it through the back window. He used rags to keep her sitting upright.

RCMP forensic biochemist Murray Malcolm testified that Tracy's blood supply was saturated, with 80 % carbon monoxide. This was probably one thousand times greater than could safely be breathed. He also testified that she was likely to have been unconscious in minutes.

In Latimer's statements to the police he said that he killed his daughter out of compassion and was happier for her now that she was out of pain. He also said that if she had started to cry while she was in the truck breathing the fumes, he would have taken her out.

Latimer appealed his conviction. On December 1, 1997, Justice Ted Noble granted Latimer a constitutional exemption, sentencing him to two years less a day: one year in a provincial jail, and one year confined to his home farm. There is no word on an appeal by the crown.

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