Quebec mosque shooter who killed six men pleads guilty

Quebec mosque shooter who killed six men pleads guilty
2 min read
28 March, 2018
The man due to stand trial over the Quebec mosque shooting has changed his mind and pleaded guilty to the attack which left six men dead in January 2017.
Bissonnette faced six charges of first-degree murder and six of attempted murder [Getty]
The man accused of opening fire in a Quebec City mosque, killing six men, has pleaded guilty ahead of his planned trial.

Alexandre Bissonnette originally pleaded not guilty to the 12 charges on Monday morning but that afternoon announced he wanted to plead guilty.

Superior Court Justice Francois Huot refused to accept the pleas on Monday pending a psychiatric assessment of the accused to ensure he fully understood the consequences of his decision.

Huot placed a publication ban on Monday afternoon's proceedings but agreed on Wednesday to accept the 12 guilty pleas.

Bissonnette faced six charges of first-degree murder and six of attempted murder. More than 50 people were at the Islamic Cultural Centre in January 2017 when the shooting began during evening prayers. Six men aged between 39 and 60 were killed.

Read more: Who were the victims of the Quebec mosque shooting?

Bissonnette said he didn't want the families to have to "relive the tragedy."

Bissonnette told Huot on Monday he had been thinking for some time of pleading guilty but that he was missing certain pieces of evidence, which were relayed on Sunday.

"In my heart, it's the decision I've made," Bissonnette said.

When Huot asked him if he was fully aware of what he was doing, Bissonnette replied: "Yes."

Huot asked Bissonnette whether he knew he would be getting a life sentence and he answered: "I understand."

Jury selection was scheduled to start on April 3 and the trial to last two months.

Many members of Quebec City's Muslim community were present in court Monday and Wednesday.

At the time, Canada's prime minister Justin Trudeau condemned the shooting spree as a "terrorist attack" adding: "Muslim-Canadians are an important part of our national fabric, and these senseless acts have no place in our communities, city and country."