Montreal

Supreme Court sets date to hear appeal of Quebec City mosque shooter's sentence

The Supreme Court of Canada will rule next year on whether the Quebec City mosque shooter should receive his original sentence of two consecutive life terms in prison without the possibility of parole before 40 years.

Country’s highest court will hear appeal on March 24, 2022

Quebec's Court of Appeal reduced Alexandre Bissonnette's sentence to no possibility of parole for 25 years, and the Crown appealed to the Supreme Court. (Justin Tang/The Canadian Press)

The Supreme Court of Canada will decide next year on whether the Quebec City mosque shooter should receive his original sentence of two consecutive life terms in prison without the possibility of parole before 40 years.

The country's highest court will hear the case on March 24, 2022.

Alexandre Bissonnette pleaded guilty to killing six men at the Islamic Cultural Centre in Quebec City on Jan. 29, 2017. He also plead guilty to six counts of attempted murder. 

Bissonnette killed Ibrahima Barry, Mamadou Tanou Barry, Khaled Belkacemi, Abdelkrim Hassane, Azzedine Soufane and Aboubaker Thabti. He seriously wounded dozens of others.

He was given the longest sentence ever handed down in Quebec, and his defence team appealed.

In the fall of 2020, Quebec's Court of Appeal overturned the sentence and reduced it to two concurrent life terms with no possibility of parole for 25 years.

The judges unanimously ruled in favour of the defence's arguments, saying 40 years before parole is "cruel and unusual" punishment. 

Shortly after Bissonnette's sentence was reduced, the attorney general and the Crown prosecutor's office announced they were taking the case to the Supreme Court.

In late May, the Supreme Court announced it would accept the appeal.

The Supreme Court's decision opens the door to a possible ruling on the sentencing provisions that Stephen Harper's Conservative government introduced in 2011.

The Quebec Court of Appeal decision last year to invalidate the consecutive sentencing provisions in the Criminal Code applies only in Quebec.

with files from Radio-Canada

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