QuickQuotes about the sentence given to Alexandre Bissonnette

Blanche Robertson
February 11, 2019

The Crown, which argued during trial that anti-Muslim hatred underpinned the attack, had asked the court to sentence Bissonnette to life in prison without the possibility of parole before 150 years. Some of the children and widows of six murdered men began taking seats in the front row of the courtroom on Friday, after passing through extensive security screening like all those attending proceedings.

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.

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

Superior Court Justice François Huot is set to hand down Friday a sentence for gunman Alexandre Bissonnette. The judge said the day of the murders "will forever be written in blood in the history of this city, this province, this country". Even if the judge decides the sentences should be served concurrently, it does not necessarily mean Bissonnette would walk out of prison after 25 years.

Justice Francois Huot said a life sentence with eligibility for parole between 35 and 42 years into the sentence was appropriate and rejected calls by prosecutors to impose the harshest sentence handed down since Canada eliminated the death penalty.

Among the aggravating factors Huot cited in determining the sentence were the "well-planned and highly premeditated" nature of the crime, the number of victims, the fact they were in a house of worship and the hatred of Islam that motivated Bissonnette.

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Outside the courtroom, Aymen Derbali, who was left quadriplegic after the shooting, said he was "very upset and astonished" that Bissonnette did not get more time.

The longest sentence to date in Canada is 75 years without parole.

Silver agreed that the Bissonnette sentencing is also likely to be appealed, and she believes that's a good thing. "I am not a terrorist, I am not an Islamophobe". 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.

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.

He also told police that he felt horrified about previous attacks like the Parliament Hill shooting and felt he needed to take action against Muslims, saying he didn't want the "Islamist attacks" happening around the world to happen here in Canada.

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