40 years in prison for Alexandre Bissonnette


Alexandre Bissonnette may apply for parole at age 67

The killer of the Grand Mosque of Quebec is sentenced to 40 in prison, a punishment comparable to a “very long crossing of the desert” which, Judge François Huot hopes, will allow Alexandre Bissonnette “to regain this share of humanity and dignity “He left behind” the evening of Sunday, January 29, 2017.

“Twenty-four months ago you brought six of your kind to death. You have also seriously injured five other men, whose only crime was to be different from you, “said the judge in Bissonnette, to whom he asked to stand before him to receive his sentence after more five hours of reading, in a crowded room.

An “exemplary” punishment

“Your crime deserves the greatest denunciations. […] Alexandre Bissonnette, your name will not be forgotten, but for the wrong reasons. Unlike your heroes Elliot Rodger, Dylann Roof and Kip Kinkel [mass murderers], you will have to answer for your actions in court, “said the Superior Court judge, in a firm tone.

Before pronouncing sentence, the magistrate ruled that both the Crown’s (150 years in prison) and the defense (25 years before being eligible for parole) applications were “unreasonable” in Bissonnette’s case. . “A sentence exceeding life expectancy would be absurd,” he said.

The parents of Alexandre Bissonnette

Rejecting the possibility of a 50-year sentence, he literally used his power to rewrite section 745.51 of the Criminal Code on consecutive sentences in order to impose anything other than 25-year-old blocks.

The judge sentenced the 29-year-old murderer to 25 years in prison on the first five counts of first degree murder and 15 years on the sixth count of murder, for a total of 40 years before he could apply for parole. . Bissonnette will be 67 years old. This is the heaviest sentence imposed in Quebec since the abolition of the death penalty in Canada in 1976.

It has nevertheless plunged into consternation the survivors and relatives of victims of Muslim faith present in large numbers at the courthouse in Quebec City.

“Crapulous”, “abject”

“I just hope that you will take advantage of your many years of detention to rebuild, you rehabilitate in all sincerity, without any attempt at manipulation or recourse. Not only to regain your freedom before leaving this Earth, but especially to regain that part of humanity and dignity that you have left behind this Sunday, January 29, 2017 at the Great Mosque of Quebec, “said the judge to the condemned, before he leaves for the penitentiary.

This “exemplary” sentence is made “in such a way as to discourage those who, sharing your sectarian vision, would like to follow in your footsteps,” said the president of the court. He took into account nine aggravating factors, including “high premeditation”.

The young man of Cap-Rouge, fascinated by the mass murderers, was animated by “a visceral hatred towards the immigrants of Muslim confession” and the choice of the place of his massacre testifies to “an unfathomable hatred toward Islam”, he said, describing sometimes as “villainous”, “abject”, “outrageous” and then “abominable” gestures marked by “racism” and “unbridled violence” posed by the murderer .

Mental disorders

The magistrate also took into account mitigating factors, including the difficult childhood of Bissonnette, marked by intimidation.

The court determined that the murderer, who was plagued by anxiety and depressive disorders, was suffering from mental disorders on January 29, 2017, and that they had a role to play in his acting out.

“No sentence of imprisonment will pour a balm on the hearts of their loved ones, condemned by Alexandre Bissonnette to live in mourning and sorrow until their last breath,” said the president of the court to the attention of six widows and 17 orphans, many of whom could not hold back their tears in the room.

Bissonnette, dressed in a white shirt and a blue jacket, short hair and pale complexion, received his sentence without apparent emotional reactions. Throughout the long hearing, the killer often glanced at his parents, sitting in the room.


“On January 29, 2017, a date that will remain forever written in letters of blood in the history of this city, this province, this country, Alexandre Bissonnette, 27, was engaged in a premeditated, gratuitous, devious attack and murderous at the expense of 46 of our fellow Muslims 

“Bissonnette told [a speaker] regret not to have exterminated more people during the attack. These remarks, made some eight months after the events, show that intolerance and racism are deeply rooted in the mind and heart of this individual. “

“Despite the horror of his crime, Alexandre Bissonnette can not be compared to a serial killer or a hitman. Barely two minutes of his existence would have been enough to turn him into the assassins’ camp, with no other reward than having had the “moment of glory” he coveted so much. ” 

” The tragic events […] have resulted in a tearing of our social fabric. […] Fortunately, evil did not have the last word. “


  1.  The great premeditation of the crimes while he caressed the project of committing a massacre since 2014
  2.  The number of victims
  3.  The place of the offense, which has “a sacred character”
  4.  The vulnerability of the victims, gathered in a peaceful place
  5.  The young age of four victims, children who are among the victims of a head of attempted murder
  6.  The unbridled and extreme violence Bissonnette has shown
  7.  Motivations for the crime, based on his prejudices and his hatred of Muslim immigrants
  8.  The physical and psychological sequelae of victims of attempted murder
  9.  Sequelae suffered by relatives of victims and society  


  1. No criminal record
  2. “Sincere” remorse expressed
  3. Collaboration with the authorities
  4. Mental state of the accused (anxiety and depressive disorders)
  5. Guilty pleas (12 counts)
  6. Rehabilitation potential
  7. Excellent support from his parents  
  8. Vulnerability of the accused
  9. Risk of moderate recidivism


2014: Bissonnette, fascinated by the killer of Isla Vista Elliot Rodger (California), begins to caress the project of committing a killing before committing suicide. 

From December 2016 to January 29, 2017: Bissonnette has done dozens of research on the Internet about several authors of mass killings and Islam, feminist movements, the Islamic Cultural Center of Quebec and firearms. 

January 29, 2017: He burst into the Great Mosque of Quebec and killed at close range 6 men of Muslim faith, wounded 5 others and waiting for the life of 35 people also present, including 4 children.


15:30 | Alexandre Bissonnette will have to spend 40 years behind bars before being eligible for parole, slice Judge François Huot after 6 hours of reading his judgment.  

3:27 PM | “Alexandre Bissonnette your name will not be forgotten, but for the wrong reasons,” says the judge.  

3:21 pm | “Accused, get up!”  

3:14 | “The court can decide to read the law as if it were taking words that are not there.” “It actively legislates.”  

15:04 | Judge Huot denounces the fact that judges can not give cumulative sentences that are not in 25-year increments like 35 or 40 years in prison.  

15h02 | “The courts sometimes rewrite the laws.”  

15h00 | “Section 745.51 must be constitutionally invalid.”  

14h52 | The judge goes over certain pages to advance the reading faster.  

2:45 pm | “Section 745.51 therefore contravenes both sections 7 and 12 of the Charter.”  

14h42 | “Human dignity is at the heart of the Charter.” “The protection of human dignity is a principle of fundamental justice.”  

14h38 | “Parliament went too far,” says the judge on the law that provides for the cumulative penalties.  

14h34 | Everyone is a little confused in the room and wonders what’s coming. The judge resumes reading.  

2:25 pm | Judge Huot considers that the cumulation of sentences is unconstitutional. He has a last break of 5 minutes.  

14h10 | The judge conducts an international review of case law regarding periods of ineligibility.   

13h29 | The court considers that a period of ineligibility “from 35 to 42 years” is a fair and reasonable sentence. “Extreme justice is extreme injustice.”  

13h23 | “To be unconstitutional a sentence must be cruel and unusual.”  

13h20 | Alexandre Bissonnette must be imprisoned “for a period exceeding 25 years”.  

13h17 | “The court can not endorse the defense proposal” with a 25-year eligibility period.  

13:09 | Determination of sentence: “The undersigned can only conclude that the Public Prosecution’s proposal (150 years) is unreasonable.” […] “Canada has its own value system” […] “It is dangerous to import from another jurisdiction a completely different scheme.”  

12h47 | 10 minutes break. The judge emphasizes that he will still need a “certain time” to read the sentence.  

12h42 | Another mitigating factor: Bissonnette’s family support, its potential for rehabilitation.  

12:41 | On the presence of parents in court: “The court can only bow to such a show of love, loyalty and courage.”  

12h33 | “Great emotional dependence on his parents.”  

12:31 | Mitigating factors: lack of a judicial record, Bissonnette’s collaboration with the police after the crime and his plea of ​​guilty.  

12h30 | “No sentence can bring back (the six victims),” said Judge François Huot, who has been reading his sentence for nearly three hours. 

12h26 | “The city of Quebec, the province, and the country will remain deeply scarred by this event,” said Justice Huot.  

12h24 | th aggravating factor: the sequels suffered by relatives and society.  

12h22 | e aggravating factor: the physical and psychological consequences for victims of attempted murder.  

12h22 | “No sentence can bring back (the six victims),” said Judge François Huot, who has been reading his sentence for nearly three hours.  

12h18 | Bissonnette was motivated by “prejudices about race”, “visceral hatred of Muslim immigrants” and “unfathomable hatred of Islam,” says the judge.  

12h18 | “The offense committed by the offender is not a terrorist offense.”  

12h14 | Bissonnette has always managed to keep a bullet in the magazine of his weapon, the judge said. In his view, this demonstrates “a total presence of mind” and “a clear desire to follow a pre-established plan” on the part of the murderer.  

12h13 | Another aggravating factor is the gratuitous nature of Bissonnette’s animosity.  

12:08 | Premeditation, number, vulnerability of victims, and location of crime are aggravating factors.  

12h07 | Since the attack on January 29, 2017, the number of people attending the Grand Mosque of Quebec “has decreased by one third,” said Judge François Huot.  

12h06 | “The Crown has proven 9 aggravating factors,” according to Justice Huot.  

12:01 | Judge François Huot explains that “rehabilitation (of the offender) remains a valid objective”. That being said, he adds that the sentence must be “proportional” to the seriousness of the offenses committed and Bissonnette’s “degree of responsibility”.  

11h50 | The judge now refers to the principle of proportionality of sentences.  

11h42 | Alexandre Bissonnette looks more regularly in the room.  

11h41 | The judge explains the history of the death penalty and describes the history of sentences of very long duration.  

11h38 | The judge discusses the different ways to assign sentences in some countries including the United States.  

11:30 | Summary on the history of the death penalty and sentences of very long duration.  

11:30 | The judge pointed out that Bissonnette would be released from jail at the age of 177, if it is appropriate to the Crown’s request.  

11h28 | The judge refers to various schools of thought to determine a sentence: retributive currents and utilitarianism.  

(The retributive currents are relative to a justice condemning according to the severity of the acts committed and not according to the circumstances of these acts.)  

11h20 | The reading of the judgment resumes. Beginning of the judge’s analysis part.  

11h11 | The judge orders a break of 5 minutes.  

11h07 | Alexandre Bissonnette looks into the room. He seems to be looking for his parents who are in the room.  

11:05 | Judge Huot summarizes the testimony of Dr. Gilles Chamberland: “He suffers from a borderline personality disorder.” He believes that “Bissonnette really wanted to commit suicide.” A “totally racist gesture”.  

11am | Judge Huot summarizes the testimony of Dr. Sylvain Fauché: “He definitely maintains prejudices even if we can not call him a supremacist”.   

10h52 | Judge Huot continues reading. Among other things, he reviews the analysis of some specialists on the state of Bissonnette’s mental health.  

10:42 | The judge tells the story of Bissonnette’s adolescence and her problems … noting her suicidal intentions.  

10:40 | The judge summarizes the interviews with the expert Marc-André Lamontage: Bissonnette told the expert “A demon told him you can not waste you like that all those who want you harm will continue to party.”  

10:37 | Bissonnette keeps her head down, but casts a few glances to the judge and also to the room on occasion.  

10:32 | The judge is now talking about the wounded survivors of the attack and the impact of this tragedy on their lives.  

10:24 | On the testimony of the daughter of Azzedine Soufiane: “A testimony to crack the soul that the undersigned is not ready to forget.” “He just wanted to help others.”  

10:22 | The judge now reports the repercussions of the tragedy on some relatives of the victims.  

10:17 | Summary of the testimonies of the victims and their relatives:  

 On the wife of Azzedine Soufiane: “Day after day she has to deal with an enormous feeling of disgust and anger.” “That day I too am dead.”  

10:16 | The judge refers to the psychological problems of Bissonnette and the research he has done on the internet concerning mass killings.  

10:12 | Summary of the 11 days of audition.  

10:11 | The judge asks Bissonnette, standing from the beginning, to sit down.  

10:10 | The judge describes the horrible scene in every detail. Emotion in the room. Many people cry. 


The son of one of the victims

10h05 | The judge highlights the heroic gesture of Azzedine Soufiane who tried to stop the gunman before being killed. Two women come out of the room crying.  

9h56 | Relatives of the victims listen in tears to the judge’s story.  

9h54 | The judge now tells the story of the milestones of the killing.  

9h50 | Alexandre Bissonnette listens to the head base standing near the judge in the box of the accused.  

9h48 | The judge now relates the sequence of events of January 29 and the actions of Bissonnette.  

9:43 | “On January 29, 2017, a date that will remain forever written in this city, province and this country,” says the opening judge.  

9:40 | The judge begins reading the judgment.  

9h37 | The judgment is 246 pages long. The judge states that he will read part of the document.  

9:34 | Judge Huot enters the room. The reading of the judgment can be long, but it can also choose to skip some passages to concentrate on the essential, indicates our analyst Nicole Gibeault.  

9:30 | Alexandre Bissonnette enters the box of the accused. His complexion pale, his hair short, wearing a blue jacket and a white shirt, nervous twitches in his face, he looks at his parents sitting in the room.  

9h28 | The room is almost full. About 250 people are there. The judge should start reading the judgment shortly.   

9h15 | The room is crowded waiting for the sentence.    

8:45 | Security is ubiquitous. Some of the families of the victims arrive. The accused has also arrived at the courthouse. The killer’s parents are also present.  

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