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OTTAWA, July 9, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Psychological counselling has been removed from the parole conditions of Robert Latimer, who was convicted in 2001 of murdering his disabled daughter, in a decision by the Parole Board of Canada on July 8.

The parole board considered Latimer's most recent psychological report, which said he is at “low to very low risk for violent and general reoffending,” as sufficient to remove the condition. 

Latimer had requested that the psychological counselling parole condition be removed. He also asked for conditions requiring him to “not to have responsibility for, or make decisions for, any individuals who have a significant disability,” and barring him from travelling out of the country, to be removed. 

“Given your readjustment into the community, your psychologist indicates that you no longer need psychological counselling and requests that this condition be removed,” the parole board noted in its decision. 

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However, the board ruled against Latimer's two other requests. It its decision on the requirement that he not have responsibility or decision making power for any significantly disabled individual, the board said it is “satisfied that in the absence of this condition (Latimer) would pose an undue risk to society.” 

With regard to travelling out of Canada, the board said Latimer must apply to the board for permission on a case by case basis if he wants to travel abroad. 

Latimer, now 60, was convicted in 2001 of second-degree murder in the 1993 death of his 12-year-old daughter Tracy, who suffered from cerebral palsy. He was sentenced to life with no chance of parole for 10 years, but was released on day parole after serving only seven years of his prison term and granted full parole on Dec. 8, 2010. 

Latimer, who at the time of Tracey's murder was a farmer in Wilkie, Saskatchewan, has never expressed remorse for the killing. He maintains that he had acted “out of love” and that he had no choice but to kill his daughter. He became a cause célèbre with euthanasia activists who engaged in a media campaign to depict him as a victim of an unjust legal system. 

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When Tracy’s death was discovered, Latimer at first lied to police, saying that she had died in her sleep. He later confessed to police, who had done an autopsy, that he had killed his daughter by placing her in the cab of his truck and connecting a hose from the cab to the truck’s exhaust pipe. He also confessed to having considered other methods of killing Tracy, including Valium overdose and “shooting her in the head.” 

In a 2011 interview with Radio-Canada, the CBC’s French language service, Latimer said: “I know I was right.” 

He told the CBC’s Anne-Marie Dussault that the decision to kill Tracy was hard, “but it was not sad.” He also railed against the judicial system that convicted him of murder. 

“They’re just a bunch of arrogant, self-righteous, religious-backed people. They don’t care about Tracy,” Latimer said. “They’re just a bunch of sadistic butchers, really. They have to come clean on that. What is the legal alternative that we were supposed to take by law?” 

Alex Schadenberg, executive director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, said that one of Latimer's parole conditions included psychological counselling because “during the trial, it was proven that Robert Latimer had serious phobia's related to medical treatment, hospitals, etc. He viewed killing his daughter as preferable to the required surgery for the dislocated hip that Tracy was living with, which was common to her medical condition.” 

Schadenberg noted that a book called “A Voice Unheard,” written by Canadian disability pioneer Ruth Enns, sheds light on the true story of Tracy Latimer. 

“Very few people realized that Tracy went by bus to school everyday and she was described as a happy child who loved music,” Schadenberg told LifeSiteNews. 

“Tracy was offered a permanent placement in a care home in Wilkie, Saskatchewan, but Latimer viewed death as preferable to the long term placement option in a care home,” he added. 

“A Voice Unheard: The Latimer Case and People with Disabilities” is published by Fernwood Press of Halifax, Nova Scotia. 

Further information about the book and the Latimer case is available from the Council of Canadians with Disabilities

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