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

Just Posted

Science fair draws best junior scientists from Vancouver Island to Victoria

200 young science enthusiasts share their inventions and discoveries at UVic

Vic. Symphony, Jeans ‘n Classics will rock you with the Best of Queen

Post-Bohemian Rhapsody, Pops Series concerts bring British band’s music back into spotlight

LOCAL FLAVOUR: Farm Whisperer tackles tough subject of farm succession

Linda Geggie is executive director with CR-FAIR

New Coast Guard ship crashes into Ogden Point breakwater

‘It is fairly unprecedented that it would happen’

Young cyclist struck near Galloping Goose Trail

Minor injuries reported by police

VIDEO: Keeping the hope alive, 28 years later

Annual Michael Dunahee Keep the Hope Alive run raised money for Child Find B.C.

Bobrovsky perfect as Blue Jackets blank Canucks 5-0

Vancouver shut out for 10th time this season

Fundraising campaign launched for man caught in SilverStar avalanche

In only two days, the GoFundMe surpassed its $15,000 goal

Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps says future assembly deliberations won’t be closed to public

Reversal comes after Saanich Coun. Judy Brownoff raised concerns

Terror at sea: Helicopter rescues frightened cruise passengers in Norway

The Viking Sky cruise ship was carrying 1,300 passengers and crew when it experienced engine trouble

Search and rescue team helicopters injured climber from B.C. provincial park

A 30-year-old woman suffered a suspected lower-limb fracture in Skaha Bluffs Provincial Park

DOJ: Trump campaign did not co-ordinate with Russia in 2016

Attorney General William Barr said special counsel “does not exonerate” Trump of obstructing justice

Most Read