Quebec mosque shooter sentenced to life, no parole for 40 years

Quebec City mosque shooter sentenced to life with no parole for 40 years

Quebec Mosque Shooter Alexandre Bissonnette's Sentencing Underway

A Canadian court sentenced a man to life in prison for shooting dead six worshippers at a Quebec City mosque in 2017.

The sentence has yet to be determined by the judge, Superior Court Justice Francois Huot, but Huot said in court that this mass-murder "will forever be written in blood in the history of this city, this province, this country".

The 29-year-old pleaded guilty in March 2018 to six counts of first-degree murder and six counts of attempted murder.

On the evening of January 29, 2017, Bissonnette burst into the Quebec City mosque and unleashed a hail of bullets on the 40 men and four children who were chatting among themselves after evening prayers.

Bissonnette, carrying a 9-mm Glock pistol and a.223 caliber rifle, entered the mosque during evening prayer and started shooting. The sixth attempted murder charge related to others who were nearby in the mosque.

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In this judgement, Huot modified the 2011 consecutive sentencing law to give himself the discretion to deliver consecutive life sentences that are not in blocks of 25 years.

According to Canada's CBC news broadcaster, the judge ultimately dismissed a request to decree parole ineligibility periods stretching a total of 150 years, saying the request was "unreasonable". He called for a sentence "that reflects the scale of the crimes committed".

Prosecutors had said that Alexandre Bissonnette's crime was so hateful and so obviously motivated by bigotry that he should receive the maximum penalty of 25 years for each of the victims the 29-year-old murdered on the night of January 29, 2017.

But Huot said Bissonnette had previously considered attacking other targets including feminists, shopping centres and airports.

The defence said even two consecutive sentences would violate the Charter because it would exclude any possibility that the accused could be rehabilitated and re-enter society. That decision would lie with the Parole Board of Canada.

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"We need to remember that sentencing is individual, it takes in a number of factors, and those include the circumstances of the crime, the severity, the impact on the community, but it also has to reference the circumstances and background of the offender", she said. He said people in the community are "almost unanimous" that serving just 25 years would not be enough considering six people were murdered.

But she said people should understand that a sentence isn't about putting a numerical value on a person's life.

The longest sentences to date in Canada is 75 years without parole, which has been handed down in five cases - all involving triple murders.

A first-degree murder conviction in Canada carries an automatic life sentence with no chance of parole for 25 years.

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