Canadian gets life sentence for killing six in Quebec mosque shooting

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Canadian gets life sentence for killing six in Quebec mosque shooting

Alexandre Bissonnette opened fire on a Quebec City mosque in January of 2017, killing six people and injuring several others.

Alexandre Bissonnette, 29, pleaded guilty last March to six counts of first-degree murder and six counts of attempted murder for the attack, one of Canada's rare mass shootings.

Prosecutors had asked for Bissonnette to serve six consecutive sentences or 150-years in prison without eligibility for parole, the harshest sentence since Canada abolished the death penalty in 1976.

"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.

That 150-year sentence would have been the longest ever imposed in Canada and meant that he would die in prison.

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.

Huot said a sentence of 50 years or more would constitute cruel and unusual punishment.

All 250 seats in the courtroom were filled, with a section reserved for members of Quebec City's Muslim community.

"QUOTE " httSix men - Aboubaker Thabti, Abdelkrim Hassane, Khaled Belkacemi, Mamadou Tanou Barry, Ibrahima Barry and Azzedine Soufiane - were killed and 19 others were wounded in the shooting, including five critically.

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

"This was a very serious attack in a place of worship", he said. The defence also said it needs time to study the ruling.

The Criminal Code was amended in 2011 to allow a judge to impose consecutive sentences in cases of multiple murder, but it was clear as Huot spent almost six hours reading the decision that he was wrestling with the constitutionality of the provision.

"He really backed himself up, to use the expression", he said. Bissonnette's parents were also present.

Huot said Bissonnette's actions in entering the mosque at the end of prayers and shooting congregants were not a terrorist attack, but motivated by prejudice, particularly toward Muslim immigrants.

A decision on sentencing was originally expected in October, but Huot pushed that back, saying he needed more information on some legal questions, including the constitutionality of consecutive life sentences.

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

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