POLITICS

Robert Latimer Can Travel Freely Outside Canada: National Parole Board

03/03/2015 12:47 EST | Updated 05/03/2015 05:59 EDT
CP
SASKATOON - The Parole Board of Canada's appeal division has ruled Robert Latimer can travel freely outside Canada.

The ruling reverses a November decision that said Latimer, who was convicted of the 1993 second-degree murder of his disabled daughter Tracy, had to remain in the country.

The appeal division ruling says the November decision was contrary to an earlier Federal Court ruling that found the Saskatchewan farmer does not pose a risk to anyone.

"The appeal division is satisfied that ... in view of the Federal Court decision of Sept. 14, 2014 ... a further delay in relieving you from adhering to the condition would be unfair," members of the appeal division wrote.

The ruling says Latimer, 61, need only notify his parole officer in writing before he leaves the country. He must include the destination and how long he will be away.

Latimer was sentenced to life in prison and was released on full parole, with some conditions, in 2010.

The board denied Latimer's request in 2013 to leave Canada without first applying for a limited-time passport. He appealed that ruling and it was upheld by the board's appeal division. He then took his case to Federal Court in Vancouver.

Latimer said Tuesday that he is pleased with the ruling and will soon apply for a standard passport.

"It has been six years since I tried to get a passport and all I could get is something for two or three months, which really isn't good for anything," Latimer said from his farm near Wilkie, Sask.

"Now I can get a passport and travel to foreign destinations if I choose to."

Latimer placed Tracy, who had severe cerebral palsy, into the cab of his truck and piped exhaust inside. He has always said he wanted to end his child's chronic, excruciating pain.

Lawyer Jason Gratl, who is based in Vancouver, said the ruling means a lot to his client, who has dreamed of visiting ancient ruins in South America that he has only read about in books.

The decision could also help Latimer get on with his life, Gratl suggested.

"The decision of the appeal division of the Parole Board of Canada represents, hopefully, a final recognition by the parole board that Mr. Latimer presents no risk to society and paves the way for Mr. Latimer's quiet absorption in the community."

— By John Cotter in Edmonton

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