No hearing in Latimer parole decision

The decision to grant Robert Latimer full parole was based on a review of his file, not the more common formal hearing with an inmate, documents show.

The Parole Board of Canada's decision to approve Robert Latimer for full parole was based on a review of his file instead of the more common formal hearing with an inmate, documents released Wednesday show.

"This decision was made in the office using file information only," Jaswinder Frenette, acting regional manager of community relations for the board, said in a note attached to the decision.

An undated photo of Robert Latimer and his daughter Tracy at home. ((Maclean's/Canadian Press))
Latimer, 57, is the Saskatchewan farmer serving a life sentence for killing his severely disabled daughter Tracy, 12, in 1993.

Latimer's lawyer revealed Monday that his client had been approved for full parole, effective Dec. 6.

The board's decision, dated Nov. 23, was released late Wednesday. It was signed by two members of the board.

"You have been on day parole for almost three years," the panel said in the decision, referring to Latimer's time at halfway houses, first in Ottawa and, more recently, in Victoria. "You have consistently adhered to the special and general conditions of release.

"The board concludes your risk to reoffend on full parole would not be undue," they added, "therefore, full parole is granted."

The decision notes Latimer's plan for full parole "would mirror the plans you already have in place on your day parole." Latimer has an apartment and is studying a trade.

He has also, from a distance, been managing the family farm in Saskatchewan. "Your long-term goal is to rejoin your family," the board noted.

'Out of love'

The board also noted that Latimer continues to assert that his actions to kill Tracy were made "out of love."

He killed his daughter by placing her in the cab of a pickup truck and running a hose from the exhaust into the compartment and letting the vehicle run until Tracy died of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Latimer had a four-day pass in March 2008 to be with family in Saskatchewan. ((Geoff Howe/Canadian Press))
He has always maintained he acted out of compassion because of the unmanageable pain the child was enduring due to complications from operations. Tracy had a severe form of cerebral palsy.

The Latimer case took years to work through the courts.

He was finally convicted and sentenced to life without parole eligibility for 10 years. Latimer began serving his sentence in January 2001.

Because of credit for brief periods of time spent in custody during the court process, Latimer's parole eligibility date came early.

The decision on full parole included the same conditions imposed for Latimer's release on day parole, including an order to "participate in one-to-one psychological counselling" and "not to have responsiblity for, or make decisions for, any individuals who have a significant disability."