Quebec City mosque shooter Alexandre Bissonnette sentenced to life in prison, no parole for 40 years

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Alexandre Bissonnette, the man responsible for the 2017 Quebec City mosque shooting, has been sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 40 years.

READ MORE: Quebec Muslim community welcomes statement by accused shooter’s parents

Bissonnette pleaded guilty last March to six counts of first-degree murder and six counts of attempted murder in the attack at the Centre Culturel Islamique de Québec.

Quebec Superior Court Justice François Huot chose not to give him consecutive sentences, where he would have been eligible for release in 150 years.

The judge said Friday he took all 24 past decisions of consecutive sentencing — Section 745.51 of the Criminal Code, which was added in 2011 — into account before rendering his decision.

WATCH BELOW: A timeline of the deadly Quebec City mosque shooting.






Huot concluded demanding consecutive sentences was “constitutionally invalid” and is calling for the federal government to reform the law.

Bissonnette also faces a lifetime ban on owning firearms.

Friday morning, Bissonnette entered the Quebec City courtroom, wearing a dark blue suit with a white dress shirt.

WATCH BELOW: Alexandre Bissonnette arrives for sentencing in Quebec City mosque shooting







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Before giving his sentence, Huot warned the room of about 250 people to be respectful of the decision, noting that no protest will be tolerated.

READ MORE: Judge tells Quebec mosque shooting victims not to blame killer’s parents

“[It was] a premeditated and gratuitous act,” he told the court, adding that it was “a tear of our social fabric.”

“Despite the time passed, it will remain forever engraved in our collective memory.”

Huot noted Bissonnette was not working in January 2017 because of an anxiety disorder. Doctors had prescribed him Paxil.

The judge summarized Bissonnette’s internet search history, which included looking up the 2015 San Bernardino attack, information on how to prepare his guns and research on other possible targets — including feminist groups, schools, malls and airports.

He mentioned an incident two months before the mosque attack when Bissonnette loaded his weapons and went to a local mall in Quebec City intending to commit mass murder, but changed his mind.

READ MORE: Inside the mind of a killer: What we now know about Alexandre Bissonnette’s Quebec mosque shooting plot

Huot spoke of the night itself, when Bissonnette walked into a mosque in the provincial capital at 7:54 p.m. on Jan. 29, 2017, and opened fire during evening prayers.

WATCH BELOW: Alexandre Bissonnette parents arrive ahead of sentencing






Citing security footage, Huot mentioned “a small girl with a pink hat runs without knowing where to hide,” until someone pulls her to safety. There were four children in the mosque that night.

READ MORE: After nearly two years of fighting, Quebec City Mosque shooting widow will get compensation

He noted Bissonnette acted with “calculation, determination and in cold blood,” adding he held racist beliefs and the crime was precipitated by a “visceral hate for immigrants.”

The entire massacre was 90 seconds. There were 48 shots fired in that time.

READ MORE: Quebec City mosque shooting: Remembering the victims and moving on 2 years later

As the judge talked, Bissonnette stared down at the ground, moving only occasionally to fidget or look briefly up at the ceiling.

WATCH BELOW: Victims of Quebec City mosque shooting ‘accept’ guilty plea from gunman






READ MORE: Defence argues 150 years in prison for Quebec mosque shooter would deprive him of hope

According to the numerous victim testimonies, many of the people there that night are still traumatized, live in fear, and some are unable to work because of the terror they feel.

The victims of the 2017 Quebec City mosque shooting arrive to sentencing, Fri., Feb. 8, 2019.

Jean-Vincent Verville/Global News

Bissonnette’s trial was expected to be a landmark case, forcing Huot to declare last October that he needed more time to decide between sentencing him consecutively (150 years) or concurrently (25 years).

READ MORE: Defence argues 150 years in prison for Quebec mosque shooter would deprive him of hope

Bissonnette’s defence team had previously stated consecutive sentencing should be declared unconstitutional and invalid as it contravenes Article 12 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which protects citizens from cruel and unusual treatment.

“It (Section 745.51) denies outright the possibility of humanity for a person,” he told Huot last summer.

“Without hope, what is the meaning of a life? There isn’t any.”

The mosque shooting claimed the lives of six men: Mamadou Tanou Barry, 42; Abdelkrim Hassane, 41; Khaled Belkacemi, 60; Aboubaker Thabti, 44; Azzeddine Soufiane, 57 and Ibrahima Barry, 39.

rachel.lau@globalnews.ca

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Quebec mosque shooter Alexandre Bissonnette to be sentenced Friday

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The man who murdered six worshippers in a Quebec City mosque in January 2017 will learn Friday whether he’ll spend the rest of his life behind bars.

Quebec Superior Court Justice Francois Huot is set to decide how long Alexandre Bissonnette will spend in custody before he is eligible for parole.


READ MORE:
Quebec City mosque shooter Alexandre Bissonnette could receive longest prison term ever in Canada

Bissonnette, 29, pleaded guilty last March to six counts of first-degree murder and six of attempted murder after he walked into the mosque during evening prayers on Jan. 29, 2017 and opened fire.

The Crown has recommended that Bissonnette serve six consecutive sentences totalling 150 years, while the defence has argued he should be eligible for parole after 25 years.


The Criminal Code was amended in 2011 to allow a judge to impose consecutive sentences in cases of multiple murder.

Several of the survivors and the victims’ families have argued for a sentence longer than 25 years, noting the heinous nature of the crime and the lasting trauma it caused for the Muslim community.

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Canadian sentenced to death in China on drugs charges will appeal: lawyer – National

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A Canadian man sentenced to death by a Chinese court for drug smuggling will appeal his sentence, his lawyer told Reuters on Tuesday.

The Dalian Intermediate People’s Court in Liaoning province re-tried Robert Lloyd Schellenberg, who had appealed his original 15-year prison sentence, and decided on the death penalty on Monday.

READ MORE: Canadians urged to exercise caution in China amid ‘arbitrary enforcement’ of laws

Schellenberg was told in court he had the right to appeal to Liaoning High Court within 10 days upon receiving the ruling, the intermediate court said in a second statement.

“It is of extreme concern to us as a government, as it should be to all our international friends and allies, that China has chosen to begin to arbitrarily apply (the) death penalty … as in this case,” Trudeau told reporters in Ottawa.

WATCH: Trudeau says government will intercede in Canadian facing death sentence in China







Late on Monday, Canada’s foreign ministry updated its travel advisory for China to warn citizens about “the risk of arbitrary enforcement of local laws.”

It added: “We continue to advise all Canadians traveling to China to exercise a high degree of caution.”

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Canadian sentenced to 40 years for ISIS plot to attack Times Square, subway

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A Canadian who confessed to plotting terrorist attacks in New York City for the so-called Islamic State was sentenced Wednesday to 40 years’ imprisonment.

U.S. prosecutors had asked for a life sentence for Abdulrahman El Bahnasawy, who pleaded guilty to working with ISIS to attack Times Square and the New York subway system.

The defence, meanwhile, had asked for leniency, depicting the 20-year-old as an isolated, mentally ill addict who, with treatment, could “grow old in peace in Canada.”


READ MORE:
He plotted to bomb Times Square for ISIS. Records show he’s mentally ill. Is he a terrorist?

 

 

The case combined many of the themes of contemporary terrorism: through social media, an ISIS member in Syria worked with a mentally unstable recruit to plot mass killings in the West.

The plot spanned four countries but the FBI successfully infiltrated it and arrested El Banhasawy in New Jersey in May 2016 following an undercover operation.

While he pleaded guilty to seven counts of terrorism, his family and lawyers said he had been in an out of treatment centres and blamed the undercover agent for contributing to his radicalization.

WATCH: Parents of Canadian caught in ISIS terror probe describe son’s history of mental illness and drug addiction






El Bahnasawy was born in Kuwait and moved to Ontario with his parents as a child. Beginning at age 14, his parents sent him to drug treatment centres in Kuwait, Toronto and Egypt.

Following his release from an Egyptian treatment program in 2015, he returned to Canada and became fixated with online Islamist extremism.

From his bedroom in his parents’ suburban Toronto home, he began corresponding with Abu Saad al-Sudani, a “high-level ISIS recruiter and attack planner” in Syria, according to prosecutors.


READ MORE:
Intelligence watchdog calls for more CSIS resources to tackle mental health links to terrorism

“He was exceptionally vulnerable to ISIS messaging,” his lawyers argued. “Isolated, he found a friend in the undercover agent, who praised his worst ideas and was instrumental in bringing them closer to reality.”

Prosecutors said the portrayal of Banhasawy as a vulnerable, weak victim “could not be further from the truth” and called him “dangerous and calculating,” with a “steadfast desire to kill.”

His alleged co-conspirators, Talha Haroon and Russell Salic, were arrested in Pakistan and the Philippines, while Sudani was killed in an airstrike.

Stewart.Bell@GlobalNews.ca

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Quebec man sentenced to 8 years, 5 months in Australian prison for smuggling cocaine

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A Quebec man has been sentenced to eight years and five months in prison for his involvement in an international drug smuggling operation, after he was arrested in 2016 along with two young Quebec women posing as travellers.

André Tamine, 65, was convicted Monday for bringing several suitcases of cocaine into Australia on a luxury cruise ship.

Judge Catherine Traill of the Australian District Court of New South Wales revealed that Tamine had been offered €100,000, about CAN $150,000, to participate in the smuggling.

He was arrested on that ship, the MS Sea Princess, after being found with over 65 kilograms of cocaine once the ship had docked in Sydney in August of 2016.

Tamine was arrested along with fellow Quebecers Mélina Roberge and Isabelle Lagacé, two young women who made headlines around the world for posing as travellers on a luxury cruise, when in reality they were involved in an international drug-smuggling operation.

Their Instagram posts from the cruise are riddled with likes on selfies taken around the world. 

The two women, now respectively 25 and 30, shared a cabin on the cruise ship.

Mélina Roberge and Isabelle Lagacé made headlines around the world after the arrests. (Instagram)

The operation ended in Australia with the seizure of nearly 100 kilograms of cocaine, one of the country’s largest drug busts. 

It’s estimated that much cocaine would have sold for $60 million Cdn on the Australian black market.

All three of them pleaded guilty. Lagacé was sentenced to seven years in prison, and Roberge was sentenced to eight years.

Roberge told the court in April that she went on the trip so she could get attention on social media, a fact Judge Traill referred to as « sad indictment » on people her age.

« It is sad they seek to attain such a vacuous existence where how many likes they receive is their currency, » Traill said at the time. 

‘I know what I did was wrong’

Tamine is the last of the three to be sentenced. Sniffer dogs found 30 kilograms of cocaine in the women’s cabin, and 65 kilograms in Tamine’s cabin.

The drugs in Tamine’s cabin had a CAD $23 to $29 million street value, the judge said.

In his letter to the court, Tamine said he was embarrassed and humiliated.

« I stupidly did as others told me to do, rather than stand up for myself, » he said. « I know what I did was wrong. »

« The entire experience has been frightening, » Tamine said. « I was a visitor in this great country and my actions do not reflect my respect for it. » 

The offender speaks little English and finds life in prison difficult, the judge said.

He will have to serve at least five years in a Sydney detention centre before being eligible for parole in March 2022.

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Teen sentenced to three years for role in Mac’s shootings

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A 16-year-old stood in the prisoner’s box Friday to express remorse for his role in the deaths of two Mac’s convenience store employees.

« I’m truly sorry for what I did, » said the teen, who can only be identified by his initials G.S. « I’m trying to change. »

The boy was 13 when he went along with two men twice his age on a robbery spree in December 2015. Store clerks Karanpal Bhangu and Ricky Cenabre were gunned down by the adults in two Mac’s stores.

A report prepared for the court shows that G.S. is related to one of the co-accused. The other man was the relative’s friend.

The night of the murders, G.S. and several family members were at a drinking party, then the trio left to commit the robberies. G.S. admits that he was under the influence of alcohol and Xanax that night.

G.S. was found guilty of two counts of manslaughter, two counts of robbery, and wearing a disguise. The Crown and defence made a joint sentencing submission to the court, recommending he be sentenced to three years in custody. Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Donna Shelley accepted that recommendation.

Karanpal Bhangu, 35, and Ricky Cenabre, 41, were shot and killed in a pair of Mac’s store robberies on Dec. 18, 2015.

The teen has been in custody at the Edmonton Young Offender Centre since his arrest. After receiving credit for time already served, G.S. will be released from custody in two weeks.

Began selling drugs at age ten

Reports prepared for the court show G.S. lived the first eight years of his life with his mother, who struggled with alcoholism and sometimes consumed methamphetamine in front of him.

Children’s Services got involved with the family, one report said, « due to concerns about neglect, substance use, violence in the home, emotional injury and worries about gang involvement. »

G.S. admits he used pot for the first time at age six, because his uncles « thought it would be funny. »

He moved in with his grandmother at age 8, but admitted he committed crimes behind her back.

By the time he was 10, the report said, G.S. was selling drugs at the request of his cousins and uncles.

« Most of his family is involved with gangs and drugs, » the report said.

G.S. began selling marijuana at age 10, then moved on to selling cocaine soon after.

He claimed he was using cocaine regularly by age 12, and began to commit robberies around the same age.

His criminal record includes a separate conviction for robbery and assault, along with weapons charges.

« He carried numerous weapons and he felt powerful in his position, » the report said.

The teen told the author of the report he no longer feels that way about committing robberies.

In court Friday, Justice Shelley told the youth: « Believe me, what you did isn’t a sign of toughness or bravery. I hope you now realize that. »

The judge praised the teen for the progress he has made while in custody.

The teen is taking Grade 11 courses and hopes to finish high school once he’s released. If he graduates, the report noted, he would be only the third person in his family to do so.

G.S. told the author of one court report that he was a gang member. According to the report, the teen vowed he would try to keep his distance from gangs when he was released into the community.

But the teen said he was certain « he cannot simply walk away from it without some type of consequence. »

During the sentencing hearing, the judge expressed her condolences to the victims’ families.

« I hope you can put yourself in their shoes, » Shelley told the teen. « I hope you will show your remorse for what happened to these families by changing your life. By being a good example to your younger siblings. »

Co-accused Laylin Delorme has been found guilty on two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Bhangu and Cenabre. He is scheduled to be sentenced in December.

Colton Steinhauer is set to go to trial next spring on two counts of first-degree murder.

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Quebec man sentenced to prison in New York for marijuana smuggling

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A 41-year old Canadian man has been sentenced to more than 11 years in prison for conspiring to smuggle thousands of pounds of marijuana into the United States through the Akwesasne Mohawk Indian Reservation in northern New York.

Colin Stewart of Elgin, Que., admitted he and his co-conspirators smuggled the marijuana for distribution throughout the northeastern United States.

Stewart also admitted he organized the smuggling, paid his co-conspirators, and personally transported the large amount of the drug across the St. Lawrence River onto the reservation.

Chief U.S. District Court Judge Glenn T. Suddaby also ordered Stewart to serve five years of supervised release when he gets out of prison, and pay a $10,000 fine.

The sentencing was announced Monday in Albany, N.Y.

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