Criminal Lawyer Edward Prutschi Discusses the Mosque Shooter Sentencing

Toronto criminal lawyer Edward Prutschi discussed the sentencing of the Mosque Shooter, Alexandre Bissonnette, with Jerry Agar on NewsTalk1010.

Bissonnette pleaded guilty to six counts of first-degree murder and six counts of attempted murder. The Crown has threatened him with up to 150 years in prison to be served consecutively. This means he would serve his sentences back to back, rather than concurrently.

Bissonnette’s lawyer is arguing that stacking life sentences is unconstitutional and that it is essentially a death sentence. The death penalty is illegal in Canada. However, Prutschi says the defense’s case is weak. Bissonnette is far from the ideal poster child for a constitutional challenge. The Crown isn’t executing Bissonnette, they are simply saying that until he dies a natural death he should remain in prison.

Consecutive sentencing is nothing new in Canada. In fact, criminal lawyer Prutschi says it’s used sparingly, reserved for the worst cases. Even if they didn’t stack his sentences, Canada has indeterminable sentencing, meaning if someone is deemed to be such a threat and committed such horrible acts, they can be detained in prison even after their sentence is up.

Prutschi says the defense likely won’t win. Every victim needs justice and the sentencing should reflect that.

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About the author

I am one of the senior partners at Bytensky Shikhman, a criminal litigation firm in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. In my 25+ year career, I have conducted numerous trials and appeals before all levels of Court in Ontario, defending just about every type of charge in our criminal law. I am also an Adjunct Professor of Trial Advocacy at Osgoode Hall Law School and currently the Treasurer of the Criminal Lawyers' Association of Ontario. I am also an Adjunct Professor for Trial Advocacy at Osgoode Hall Law School, York University and a regular lecturer and placement supervisor for Osgoode's Intensive Programme in Criminal Law.
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