Friday, 22 February, 2019

Timeline: Convictions that have led to consecutive murder sentences in Canada

Quebec mosque shooter Alexandre Bissonnette to be sentenced Friday Quebec City mosque shooter sentenced to life with no parole for 40 years
Ellis Copeland | 10 February, 2019, 23:30

Alexandre Bissonnette, the man responsible for the 2017 Quebec City mosque shooting that left six people dead, has been sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 40 years.

He walked into the mosque at the Islamic Cultural Centre during evening prayers on January 29, 2017 and opened fire.

Alexandre Bissonnette, 29, pleaded guilty past year to six counts of first-degree murder and six counts of attempted murder for the attack, a rare Canadian mass shooting, QNA said in a report.

The Crown has recommended that Bissonnette serve six consecutive sentences totalling 150 years, while the defence has argued he should be eligible for parole after 25 years. Hout ruled on a life sentence with the eligibility of parole only after 40 years.

Huot concluded a sentence of 50 years or more would constitute cruel and unusual punishment, and he declared that the section of the Criminal Code allowing consecutive life sentences violates the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The judge begin his ruling by saying the day of the murders "will forever be written in blood in the history of this city, this province, this country".

As the 246-page verdict was read over a six-hour period, Bissonnette sat quietly in the packed courtroom, gazing at his feet while his parents and several friends and family of the victims wiped tears from their eyes.

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"You killed six of your compatriots whose only crime was to be different than yourself", Mr Huot said in court.

In March, Bissonnette admitted to killing Khaled Belkacemi, 60, Azzedine Soufiane, 57, Abdelkrim Hassane, 41, Mamadou Tanou Barry, 42, Aboubaker Thabti, 44, and Ibrahima Barry, 39, in the January attack.

At the start of his trial in 2017, he said he had been suicidal, "swept away by fear and by disgusting despair", and deeply regretted his "unforgivable" actions.

Six men were killed and five injured. In a statement read in court, he said he was "neither a terrorist nor an Islamophobe", but rather someone who was "overcome by fear, by negative thoughts and a sort of disgusting kind of despair".

That 150-year sentence would have been the longest ever imposed in Canada and meant that he would die in prison.

"No matter the outcome of today's decision, nothing can diminish the incredible support & solidarity felt by many Canadian Muslims in the wake of the attack, and during the past 2 years", the group said on Twitter.

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