Saturday, September 11, 2010

Parole restrictions are eased for Robert Latimer

I have not made many comments about Robert Latimer since the Supreme Court of Canada upheld, by a unanimous decision, the jail sentence for Latimers second degree murder conviction for killing his daughter, Tracy, who had cerebral palsy.

The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition believes that Robert Latimer should be treated in the same manner as any other person who is convicted of second degree murder.

It appears that Robert Latimer has now received special conditions in the decision by the national parole board to ease his parole restrictions.

An article by Lori Coolican that was printed on September 8, 2010 in the Saskatoon Star Phoenix. The article states:
The National Parole Board (NPB) has agreed to further relax Robert Latimer’s parole conditions, allowing him to spend five nights a week in his Victoria, B.C. apartment and only two nights a week in a halfway house.

The decision comes on the heels of a Federal Court ruling last month which ordered the board to reconsider, on an expedited basis, Latimer’s year-old request for the change.

Latimer, 56, had been on a “two and five” — spending two nights a week at his own place and five nights a week at a halfway house — since September 2008.

Parole board members, backed by the NPB’s appeal division, repeatedly denied his requests for a “five and two” on the basis that Latimer’s case did not meet the NPB policy manual’s definition of “exceptional circumstances” which would justify a reduction in his nightly reporting requirements.

However, the Federal Court ruled the “exceptional circumstances” test was an improper fetter on the board’s discretion and was inconsistent with the principles of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act, which governs day parole and calls for the least restrictive measures consistent with protection of the public.

In light of that ruling, the NPB reversed its earlier refusal after conducting an in-office review of Latimer’s file, according to a Sept. 1 decision sheet released Wednesday.

“According to your Case Management Team (CMT), your reintegration has been steadily progressing since your initial release into the community over two years ago,” the board wrote, noting Latimer recently finished the third year of an electrician program and expects to complete his fourth year by March.

“File information indicates that you handled the stress of a family member’s medical difficulties in an appropriate manner. There are no concerns regarding your behaviour in the community and your CMT currently assesses your risk to re-offend as very low.”

Latimer’s case management team and staff at the halfway house fully supported his bid for relaxed conditions, the decision states.

“The board notes that your CMT plans to reduce its frequency of supervision in light of your positive attitude and commitment to a prosocial lifestyle. The board further notes that at the current time you are spending little time at (the halfway house) other than the seven hours that you are required to be there, and no interventions have been required to date.”

I ask only one question. If Tracy had not had a significant disability, would Robert be receiving an easing of his parole restrictions today?

In otherwords, Robert is receiving special parole conditions because it appears that the parole board does not equate killing a person with a disability with killing an able bodied person.

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