Alexandre Bissonnette arrives at the court house in Quebec City on Tuesday, February 21, 2017. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mathieu Belanger)

Bissonnette to appeal sentence for murders in Quebec City mosque

His was sentenced to life in prison with no possibility of parole for 40 years

Lawyers for the gunman who killed six worshippers in a Quebec City mosque announced Friday they are appealing the killer’s sentence of life in prison with no possibility of parole for 40 years.

Alexandre Bissonnette should instead be given a sentence of 25 years before being eligible for parole for his Jan. 29, 2017 attack on the Quebec City Islamic Cultural Centre, the motion filed with the Quebec Court of Appeal says.

Legal aid lawyers Charles-Olivier Gosselin and Jean-Claude Gingras argued the trial judge erred when he sentenced Bissonnette on Feb. 8. It was the harshest prison term ever in Quebec and one of the longest in Canada, which since a 2011 Criminal Code reform has allowed consecutive life sentences for multiple murders.

Quebec Superior Court Justice Francois Huot’s sentence was “illegal” and ”manifestly unreasonable,” the defence lawyers wrote. The sentence, however, was well under the six consecutive life sentences — 150 years before being eligible for parole — sought by the Crown.

READ MORE: Quebec City mosque killer sentenced to life, no parole for 40 years

The six life sentences were automatic after Bissonnette pleaded guilty to first-degree murder, but the defence had asked that they be served concurrently.

Huot rejected the Crown’s call to sentence Bissonnette to 150 years with no chance of parole, arguing a sentence of 50 years or more would constitute cruel and unusual punishment under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The judge instead rewrote the 2011 consecutive sentencing law, section 745.51 of the Criminal Code. Huot gave himself the discretion to deliver consecutive life sentences that are not in blocks of 25 years, as had previously been the case, arriving at a total of 40 years.

In their motion, Gosselin and Gingras claim the 40-year sentence was still cruel and unusual.

Quebec Attorney General Sonia LeBel and the Crown can also appeal the sentence. The deadline to do so is Monday.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

VIA Rail lays off 1,000 unionized workers across the country

Northern B.C. route Jasper to Prince George to Prince Rupert is not affected by VIA Rail layoffs

Sunflower Highway, art initiative to connect Fraser Valley, Thompson-Nicola and Okanagan

Sunflowers made out of reclaimed materials will be installed on public art trails

Residents warned to stay away from flooded Cache Creek park

Water might look shallow, but is several feet deep in places

Ashcroft receives grants to get new hot tub and lift station

‘The hot tub is a major benefit for many residents’

Cache Creek gets funding for improvements on Old Cariboo Road

Work will help to mitigate damage from water and debris flows during flooding

Amber Alert for two Quebec girls cancelled after bodies found

Romy Carpentier, 6, Norah Carpentier, 11, and their father, Martin Carpentier, missing since Wednesday

B.C. man prepares to be first to receive double-hand transplant in Canada

After the surgery, transplant patients face a long recovery

Grocers appear before MPs to explain decision to cut pandemic pay

Executives from three of Canada’s largest grocery chains have defended their decision to end temporary wage increases

Bringing support to Indigenous students and communities, while fulfilling a dream

Mitacs is a nonprofit organization that operates research and training programs

Northern B.C. First Nations call for reversal of grizzly bear hunting ban

Growing grizzly populations have led to fewer ungulates and increased fear of attacks says Chad Day

RCMP ‘disappointed’ by talk that race a factor in quiet Rideau Hall arrest

Corey Hurren, who is from Manitoba, is facing 22 charges

NHL’s Canadian hubs offer little economic benefit, but morale boost is valuable: experts

Games are slated to start Aug. 1 with six Canadian teams qualifying for the 24-team resumption of play

‘Made in the Cowichan Valley’ coming to a wine bottle near you

Cowichan Valley has the honour of being the first sub-GI outside of the Okanagan

Most Read