A Canadian court sentenced a man to life in prison for shooting dead six worshippers at a Quebec City mosque in 2017.
Crown prosecutors Thomas Jacques (L) and Francois Godin (R) walk before talking to the press in the Quebec City Courthouse following the sentencing of perpetrator Alexandre Bissonnette, on February 8, 2019.
Several people in the room wept as the judge read a second-by-second account of the shooter's actions on the night of the crime.
Alexandre Bissonnette, 29, pleaded guilty a year ago to six counts of first-degree murder and six counts of attempted murder in connection to the 2017 attack at the Quebec Islamic Cultural Center.
Nonetheless, the judge handed down a sentence of 40 years without parole because he said abiding by the Harper-era law - by sentencing him to 50 years - would violate Bissonnette's constitutional rights, MacKinnon later reported.
The longest prison sentence in Canada to date is 75 years without parole, which has been given to at least five triple killers including Justin Bourque, who murdered three RCMP officers in a shooting spree in New Brunswick in 2014.
The attack at the Quebec Islamic Cultural Centre in the quiet Sainte-Foy neighbourhood of Canada's oldest city, he concluded, will go down in Canadian history "written in blood" as one of this country's worst tragedies.
Alexandre Bissonnette, 29, will be eligible for parole in 40 years.
The judge read out segments of his 246-page decision as a packed courtroom sat for six hours.
One of the man's victim who was paralyzed in the attack, Aymen Derbali, said that numerous survivors were not pleased with the judge's sentencing.
Bissonnette also told a psychiatrist that he regretted not killing more people.
On the other hand, the judge said, Bissonnette had no previous criminal record, he pleaded guilty and he expressed remorse.
People hold candles for victims of Sunday's deadly shooting at a Quebec City mosque, during a vigil in Montreal on Monday, Jan. 30, 2017. In a statement read in court, he said he was "neither a terrorist nor an Islamophobe", but rather someone who was "overcome by fear, by negative thoughts and a sort of terrible kind of despair".
"No matter the outcome of today's decision, nothing can diminish the incredible support & solidarity felt by many Canadian Muslims in the wake of the attack, and during the past 2 years", the group said on Twitter.
Bissonnette's lawyers had argued that if he was sentenced to 25 years consecutively for each murder it would amount to death by incarceration.
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