The Supreme Court of Canada will rule on whether the Quebec City mosque shooter should receive his original sentence of 40 years without parole.
Last fall, Quebec’s Court of Appeal overturned that sentence and reduced it to 25 years, calling it “cruel and unusual” punishment. The judges unanimously ruled in favour of the defence’s arguments.
Alexandre Bissonnette was sentenced in 2019 for the January 2017 attack on a mosque in Quebec City. He killed six men — Ibrahima Barry, Mamadou Tanou Barry, Khaled Belkacemi, Abdelkrim Hassane, Azzedine Soufane and Aboubaker Thabti — and seriously wounded dozens of others during evening prayers.
Bissonnette pleaded guilty to six counts of first-degree murder and six counts of attempted murder. It was the longest sentence ever handed down in Quebec.
Shortly after the decision to reduce the sentence by Quebec’s Court of Appeal, the attorney general and the Crown prosecutor’s office announced they were taking the case to Canada’s top court.
The Supreme Court announced it had accepted to hear the appeal on Thursday morning.
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.
Since then, several convicted murderers have been given consecutive life sentences, including Justin Bourque, who is serving a life sentence with no chance of parole for 75 years for killing three RCMP officers in Moncton, N.B., in 2014.