Skip to main content
Access every election story that matters
Enjoy unlimited digital access
$1.99
per week for 24 weeks
Access every election story that matters
Enjoy unlimited digital access
$1.99
per week
for 24 weeks
// //

A group of lawyers opposed to consecutive life sentences has been granted intervener status in an appeal of the sentence handed down to Quebec City mosque killer Alexandre Bissonnette.

The Montreal Defence Lawyers Association is arguing that the Criminal Code contravenes the Charter of Rights and Freedoms by allowing judges to stack life sentences for multiple murders instead imposing them concurrently.

Bissonnette, 29, pleaded guilty last year to six counts of first-degree murder and six of attempted murder after he walked into the mosque at the Islamic Cultural Centre during evening prayers on Jan. 29, 2017, and opened fire.

Story continues below advertisement

The Crown had requested a sentence of six consecutive 25-year terms with no chance of parole — 150 years in total — but Quebec Superior Court Justice Francois Huot opted for life imprisonment without the possibility of parole for 40 years, saying that a sentence beyond life expectancy would have been “absurd” and a charter violation.

The law, however, would have allowed the judge to impose a 150-year jail sentence, which is what the association is now challenging.

The lawyers argue that “a sentence exceeding life expectancy without review mechanism” would be “inconsistent with human dignity” and a violation of Section 12 of the charter, which grants protection from cruel and unusual punishment.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 26, 2019.

Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies