Canadians with Disabilities Demand Retrial for Latimer

For Immediate Release

February 6, 1997

Winnipeg - The Supreme Court has set aside the conviction and ordered a new trial for Robert Latimer.

The Council of Canadians with Disabilities demands that the rights of Tracy Latimer and all people with disabilities be equally respected.

The Council calls on the Crown Prosecutor's Office in Saskatchewan to immediately retry Robert Latimer on the charge of first degree murder for the deliberate killing of his twelve year old daughter Tracy.

"Tracy's disability cannot be allowed to become a mitigating factor in a judgment of Robert Latimer's actions to end her life, or the decision to prosecute Mr. Latimer for these actions," says Catherine Frazee, a member of the CCD's Human Rights Committee.

"The Constitution of Canada prohibits such discrimination," says Hugh Scher, a Toronto Constitutional lawyer with a disability and CCD's Human Rights Committee Chairperson.

"Public reaction in support of Robert Latimer's killing of his daughter Tracy serves as a painful reminder of the extreme vulnerability of people with disabilities to serious abuse. Until the general public begins to look at people with disabilities as human beings and demystifies the notions of pain and suffering relied on by those who wish to justify our deaths, all of our lives are at risk," says Jim Derksen of the CCD's Human Rights Committee.

"We see by the deaths of Ryan Wilkieson, James Nazar, Mayton Meyers, Cecil Brush, Andrea Halpin, Katie Lynn Baker, Charles Blais, Alma Smith and others about whom we have not yet learned, that the slippery slope we envisaged is becoming the reality of our experience as Canadians with disabilities," says Pat Danforth of the Saskatchewan Voice of People with Disabilities, an intervenor before the Court of Appeal in Latimer's first appeal.

The Council calls on the Saskatchewan prosecutor for the immediate retrial of Robert Latimer for the murder of his daughter Tracy — "Anything less would be criminal."


For more information, contact:

Mr. Hugh Scher, Toronto, 416-515-9686
Mr. Jim Derksen, Winnipeg, 204-947-0303
Irene Feika, Ottawa, 613-241-1000
Ms. Catherine Frazee, Toronto, 416-605-2691
Mr. Laurie Beachell, Winnipeg, 204-947-0303
Ms. Pat Danforth, Regina, 306-787-2426
Mr.. Gergor Wolbring, Calgary, 403-220-5448