Saturday, 23 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
Deanna Wagner | 10 February, 2019, 23:29

A man who opened fire at a Quebec City mosque, killing six people in 2017, has been sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 40 years.

But Huot said Bissonnette had previously considered attacking other targets including feminists, shopping centres and airports. Hout ruled on a life sentence with the eligibility of parole only after 40 years.

The January 2017 shooting, which Prime Minister Justin Trudeau denounced as a terrorist attack, provoked debate over the treatment of new arrivals at a time when Canadians were being tested by a growing number of migrants crossing from the United States into the province of Quebec.

The justice said that in the years leading up to the shooting, Bissonnette increasingly drank alcohol and experienced anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts.

Crown prosecutors Thomas Jacques (L) and Francois Godin (R) walk before talking to the press in the Quebec City Courthouse following the sentencing of perpetrator Alexandre Bissonnette, on February 8, 2019.

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.

Bissonnette also told a psychiatrist that he regretted not killing more people. He noted that Bissonnette's mental health problems contributed to his actions and judged the danger of him reoffending as "moderate" at most.

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Six men were killed and five injured.

Following hearings past year, the sentence was expected to be handed down in October, but the judge delayed it to have more time to ponder his decision.

People hold candles for victims of Sunday's deadly shooting at a Quebec City mosque, during a vigil in Montreal on Monday, Jan. 30, 2017. During a sentencing hearing last June, the conversation began to shift to the appropriate way to punish a crime that was, in many ways, unprecedented in Canadian history. "I am not a terrorist, I am not an Islamophobe".

"His crimes were truly motivated by race and a visceral hatred toward Muslim immigrants", the judge said, adding that his crimes were "premeditated, gratuitous and abject". Several of the survivors and the victims' families have argued for a sentence longer than 25 years, noting the heinous nature of the crime and the lasting trauma it caused for the Muslim community.

Under Canadian law, Bissonnette could have gone to prison for 150 years or 25 years for each of the six deaths.

But Renald Beaudry, a criminal lawyer who was at Bissonnette's sentencing, doesn't think the sentence would be easy to overturn.