Montreal

Alexandre Bissonnette explains why he pleaded guilty, in his own words

After pleading guilty to all charges, Alexandre Bissonnette read a statement to the Quebec City courtroom filled with the victims' families, survivors and their supporters. Here is the transcript.

Quebec City mosque shooter says he wishes he could 'go back in time and change things'

Alexandre Bissonnette pleaded guilty in a Quebec City courtroom today to 12 charges including first-degree murder and attempted murder. (Radio-Canada)

Alexandre Bissonnette pleaded guilty on Wednesday to all 12 charges against him in connection with the Quebec City mosque attack in which six men died and five others were critically injured.

After he entered his plea, reversed from the not-guilty plea he entered Monday at the start of pre-trial proceedings, Bissonnette read a statement.

The courtroom was filled with family members of the victims, survivors and their supporters. Here is a transcript of what he said, translated into English from French.


Your honour,

At this point that I am free to clear my heart and my mind,

I would like to say to you, your honour and everyone:

Every minute of my existence, I bitterly regret what I did, the lives that I destroyed, the grief and the immense pain that I inflicted on so many people, including the members of my own family.

I am ashamed, ashamed of what I did.

I do not know why I committed such a senseless act.

And to this day, I have a hard time believing it.

In spite of what has been said about me, I am not a terrorist, nor an Islamophobe, rather a person who was carried away by fear, negative thoughts and a horrible form of despair.

A man breaks down next to the caskets of three of the six victims of the Quebec City mosque shooting during funeral services at the Maurice Richard Arena Thursday, February 2, 2017, in Montreal. (Canadian Press)

For a long time, I had suicidal thoughts and an obsession with death.

As if I was fighting with a demon who ended up getting the best of me, who ended up winning against me.

I very much wish I could go back in time and change things.

Sometimes, I feel that all of this is a bad dream, a long nightmare.

I would like to ask you for forgiveness for all the harm that I have done to you, but I know that what I did is unforgivable.

If by pleading guilty, I can do a bit of good in all of this, then it will at least be something.

This is why I am pleading guilty before you.

Photos of the victims who were killed in the Quebec City mosque shooting are held up during a vigil marking the attack. (Peter Tardif/CBC)

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