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

VIDEO: 5X Festival takes over Surrey’s Central City plaza

Second annual event draws thousands of people throughout the day

The struggle for space inside Surrey’s elementary schools

SECOND IN A SERIES: A look at how overcrowding impacts student life

City shifts proposed transit station to King George after cancellation of LRT

Council to consider Newton Town Centre plan in fall

VIDEO: Plane makes forced landing on Highway 17 in Surrey

Police say no one was injured and no damage to aircraft or vehicles

Nearly 200 motorcycles take off from Cloverdale for Brenden’s Ride

Annual fundraiser supports programs that empower people with disabilities

10 facts about Father’s Day

Did you know that the special day for dads was first celebrated in 1910?

Bombers down B.C. Lions 33-23 in season opener

Former Lion Andrew Harris leads Winnipeg with 148 rushing yards

Northern B.C. family remembers murdered Indigenous woman with memorial walk

Still no closure for Ramona Wilson’s family 25 years later

Pride flag taken down by Township of Langley

Woman said she was told it was removed from her front yard because of a complaint

B.C. university to offer mentorship program for former youth in care

Students using the provincial tuition waiver program will soon be able to form a community at KPU

Cyclists competing in one of the toughest bike races on the planet pass through Fernie

Divide riders looking strong as they finish first leg of 4160 km race

You might not know these B.C. records are public

Hired a lawyer to file a civil claim? Those are published online

B.C. bus driver loses case to get job back after texting while driving full bus

An arbitator ruled that Tim Wesman’s phone usage was a “a reckless disregard for public safety”

Revamped B.C. Lions set to battle veteran Winnipeg Blue Bombers

The Lions’ first test of the season will be a big one

Most Read