Published: Mon, February 11, 2019
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Quebec Mosque Shooter Set To Receive Longest Life Sentence In Canadian History

Quebec Mosque Shooter Set To Receive Longest Life Sentence In Canadian History

"Charter challenges to the 2011 provisions had previously been denied on the basis that the judge was not forced to increase parole ineligibility for multiple murders, " he wrote in an email to The Canadian Press.

Justice Huot said Bissonnette's actions in entering the mosque at the end of prayers and shooting congregants was motivated by prejudice.

Bissonnette, who is only 29-years-old, pleaded guilty to the six counts of first-degree murder in March of last year.

While first-degree murder carries an automatic life sentence, Huot said he had to decide how long Bissonnette would have to wait before he could ask for parole.

"We were astonished, we were very upset after this sentence", Derbali said.

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Witnesses said Bissonnette stormed the mosque during evening prayers on a Sunday and began firing indiscriminately into the crowd of men, women and children.

The prosecution had recommended that his six life sentences be served consecutively, which would have meant 150 years before being eligible for parole.

While reading his sentencing decision, the Quebec Superior Court judge said that "punishment should not be vengeance". The judge quoted Bissonnette's statement after the shootings: "I regret not having killed more people". The defense argued he should be eligible for parole after 25 years, CNN partner CTV reported.

As the 240-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.

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

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The longest prison sentence in Canada to date is 75 years without parole, which has been given to at least five triple killers since the law was changed to allow consecutive sentences.

Silver agreed that the Bissonnette sentencing is also likely to be appealed, and she believes that's a good thing.

Like the rest of the world, Islamophobia has become a problem in Canada.

He also pleaded guilty to six counts of attempted murder, including one count for the 35 people who were present in the mosque at the time of the shooting but who were not 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 awful kind of despair".

Bissonnette told an investigator that he carried out the attack after seeing reports that the Canadian government would welcome more refugees into the country.

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Before the sentence was handed down, the NCCM said more work needs to be done to address Islamophobia in Canada.

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