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

RCMP investigating break-and-enter attempts in Fernie

Police are investigating four reports of attempted break-and-enters at the condos and… Continue reading

Fernie food share program thrives under new partnership

Four times the amount of food is being saved from landfill under… Continue reading

Paramedics union raises alarm over spike in out-of-service ambulances

Staffing shortages affecting service levels in Kootenays

Fernie skier braves extremes to find ‘soul line’

Caleb Brown named male champion at backcountry ski competition

Avalanche warning issued for Lizard Range, Flathead near Fernie

Warmer weather to increase avalanche risk: Avalanche Canada

‘Full worm super moon’ to illuminate B.C. skies on first day of spring

Spring has sprung, a moon named in honour of thawing soil marks final super moon until 2020

B.C. lottery winner being sued by Surrey co-workers

They claim he owes them $200,000 each, in a lawsuit filed in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver

Fraser Health under fire again for taxiing homeless man from Langley to Hope

Patient sent to Hope shelter because a spot in the man’s home community couldn’t be located

Dead sea lion discovered on Hornby Island shoreline

Reports indicate animal was shot in the head

Celina Caesar-Chavannes quits Liberal caucus, sits as independent MP

The Whitby, Ont., MP has been a vocal supporter of Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott

Woman punched on the sidelines of B.C. soccer game

Both involved were watching the U21 game in West Vancouver from the sidelines when things got heated

Catch-up immunization aims to stamp out B.C. measles resurgence

Vaccination records to be checked at B.C. schools next fall

Paramedic staff shortage at critical level: B.C. union

A number of units were out of service due to lack of staffing in Lower Mainland, union says

B.C. dairy farmers say federal budget not enough to cut losses from USMCA

Concerns raised over vague details, funding access and impacts on growth

Most Read