Why Canada is unwilling to put even its most heinous murderers permanently behind bars

Together, the crimes of Bruce McArthur and Alexandre Bissonnette extinguished up to 510 years of human life and guaranteed decades of nightmares and trauma among the shattered communities they targeted.

There was federal legislation and even judicial precedent to ensure that both men would be guaranteed to die in prison. And yet, on Friday judges in two provinces ruled otherwise, even going so far as to unilaterally rewrite legislation to do so.

The fate of Alexandre and Bissonnette may be the most glaring example yet that there is no crime heinous enough in Canada to stop a killer from one day being able to regain their freedom.

“Many in the community were shocked by the sentence and had expected something more stern that would send a message about how seriously the state took this heinous crime,” said Ihsaan Gardee, head of the National Council of Canadian Muslims.

Gardee was present at the Centre culturel islamique de Québec only hours after it saw Bissonnette murder six of its worshippers in 2017. “While we know that the justice system doesn’t exactly work like this, the crude calculation for many is that this translates to about 6.5 years per life,” he said.

Saïd El Amari, a man wounded in the mosque attack, said in a victim impact statement “I am scared … that the accused will one day regain his liberty in the same society as me and my children.” Safia Hamoudi, who lost her husband, told the court “I hope that justice will be done and that the sentence will amply reflect the odiousness of the crimes committed.”

Hassan Guillet, spokesman for the Council of Quebec Imans, spoke of a likely future in which the orphans of Bissonnette’s victims will be forced to attend the murderer’s parole hearing. “They will re-live what we lived today. It seems to me the wound is still open,” he said.

Fairly sure that if Bruce McArthur had murdered 8 white women he would have got consecutive life sentences. I don’t care if he is likely to be dead before 91, the judge had the opportunity to send a message about the value of the lives of LGBT POC and chose not to #brucemcarthur

— b r u c e (@PassTheBruce) February 8, 2019

A similar pall of shock and disappointment existed outside the Toronto courthouse where McArthur was sentenced. “(The sentence) is not enough for the families, it’s not enough for the lives lost and it’s not enough ,” Nicole Borthwick, a friend of one of McArthur’s victims, told Newstalk 1010.

Under a 2011 amendment to the Criminal Code of Canada, both Bissonnette and McArthur could have received periods of parole ineligibility longer than 100 years apiece.

The Ending Sentence Discounts for Multiple Murders Act mandated that if an offender had killed multiple people, they would receive 25 years in prison for every person they had killed. Previously, 25 years had been the maximum sentence regardless …read more

Source:: Nationalpost – News


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