The Supreme Court of Canada announced Thursday that it will hand down its sentence next Friday in the case of Alexandre Bissonnette, who killed six men at the Islamic Cultural Center of Quebec.
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This is a long-awaited judgment that is likely to set a precedent throughout Canada.
The highest court in the country will therefore decide between the different sentences put on the table since the decision of the judge of first instance, François Huot, who had established that a sentence of 40 years in prison was appropriate in the case of the accused. , who was 27 at the time of the crimes.
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The nine judges must consider the “discounted sentences” in the case of multiple murders.
In 2011, the Conservative government amended a provision of the Criminal Code that now allows the 25-year ineligibility periods before parole for each murder victim to be added together.
However, judges have interpreted section 745.51 in different ways for a decade.
The case of Justin Bourque, who killed three RCMP officers in Moncton, earning him a 75-year prison sentence without the possibility of parole, is a good example.
Toronto serial killer Bruce McArthur was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for 25 years for eight murders.
The judge had rewritten the law
Deeming the provision unconstitutional, Judge Huot then took the liberty of rewriting the law to make section 745.51 consistent with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, by imposing a 40-year prison sentence on Bissonnette.
However, this decision was overturned by the Court of Appeal, which declared section 754.51 unconstitutional, reducing the period of ineligibility for parole to 25 years.
It is this decision that is being reviewed by the Supreme Court and will be announced next week, perhaps putting an end to this legal debate that has been going on for several years in Canada.
Alexandre Bissonnette had been found guilty of six murders and 40 attempted murders after bursting into the great mosque of Quebec on January 29, 2017.