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Quebec election shooter Richard Bain sentenced to life

Richard Bain arrives in court in Montreal in 2012.

Patrick Sanfaçon/La Presse photo

Quebec's 2012 election-night shooter Richard Henry Bain will have to serve at least 20 years behind bars before being eligible for parole.

Bain was found guilty of second-degree murder in August, convicted by a jury in the killing of lighting technician Denis Blanchette outside the Metropolis nightclub as then premier-designate Pauline Marois was inside delivering a victory speech.

He was also found guilty of three counts of attempted murder.

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Superior Court Justice Guy Cournoyer said Friday the political nature of the offences justified the harsh sentence.

"In an uncharacteristic display of planned murderous violence and hatred for those he described as separatists, Mr. Richard Henry Bain attempted to change the results of the election and the course of history," he read from his judgment.

Bain is also prohibited from owning firearms for life.

Second-degree murder carries a sentence of life imprisonment, but the parole eligibility can range between 10 and 25 years.

The defence had suggested the minimum for Bain, 66, while the Crown had sought the maximum 25 years.

Cournoyer said there were "clear elements of forethought and planning" to Bain's actions that made his actions factually closer to first-degree murder than to manslaughter.

Crown prosecutor Dennis Galiatsatos said he was satisfied with the judge's decision and hoped the victims would be satisfied as well.

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"I think it was particularly appropriate that the judge began his judgment by referring to democracy and how fragile and important it is," he said outside the courtroom.

Bain's lawyer Alan Guttman said he was disappointed with the ruling, which he likened to "almost a death sentence" for his client.

Guttman, who had presented a defence of non-criminal responsibility during the trial, said he felt his client's mental state should have factored more strongly into the judge's decision.

He said there is a "very good possibility" that he will appeal.

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