Bissonnette judge's 'unusual' sentencing decision likely to be appealed

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According to Canada's CBC news broadcaster, the judge ultimately dismissed a request to decree parole ineligibility periods stretching a total of 150 years, saying the request was "unreasonable".

Crown prosecutors Thomas Jacques, left, and Francois Godin walk to a news conference to react to the judge's sentencing for Alexandre Bissonnette, Feb. 8, 2019. Some of the children and widows of six murdered men began taking seats in the front row of the courtroom on Friday, after passing through extensive security screening like all those attending proceedings.

A university student at the time of the shooting, Bissonnette appeared to have been seduced by nationalist and supremacist ideologies into committing this "unjustified and deadly" massacre that sought to "undermine our fundamental societal values", the judge said.

Silver agreed that the Bissonnette sentencing is also likely to be appealed, and she believes that's a good thing.

However, in the two years since the attack, some in the Muslim community say the outpouring of support has dried up.

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Huot noted that witnesses at his sentencing hearing testified that he had been severely bullied in school and had a documented history of mental health problems.

In the end, the judge said Bissonnette will not be eligible for parole until he served 40 years of his sentence.

In March, Bissonnette admitted to killing six people and also pleaded guilty to six counts of attempted murder, including one count for the 35 people who were present in the mosque at the time of the shooting but who were not injured.

"He really backed himself up, to use the expression, " he said.

Following hearings a year ago, the sentence was expected to be handed down in October, but the judge delayed it to have more time to ponder his decision.

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In addition to the men killed, five others were struck by bullets.

In pleading guilty, Bissonnette expressed shame and remorse for his actions but offered no clear explanation of why he did it.

He told police investigators that he believed a terrorist attack was imminent and felt he "had to do something". He referred to numerous attacks and said he "lost it" after learning Canada was preparing to take in more refugees.

Several of the survivors and the victims' families had argued for a sentenced that required more than 25 years before parole eligibility, noting the heinous nature of the crime and the lasting trauma it caused for the Muslim community. He painted Bissonnette as a calculated killer who was "looking for glory" and targeted a group of people based on bigotry and hatred.

But Rénald Beaudry, a criminal lawyer who was at Bissonnette's sentencing, doesn't think the sentence will be so easy to overturn. He argued a 150-year term would be the equivalent of a death sentence.

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