Victims of Quebec City’s mosque shooting should not to blame the shooter’s parents for the tragedy that took the lives of six men and injured 19 others on Jan. 29, 2017, said Judge François Huot Wednesday.
“It is easy to throw the stone at the parents of the accused in any case,” he said. “In part because it’s reassuring to point the finger.”
Huot was responding to remarks made by one of the victims in his testimony during sentencing arguments for Alexandre Bissonnette.
The 28-year-old is facing 150 years in jail.
Huot continued that “a man must take responsibility for his own actions” at a certain age, pointing out that Bissonnette was 27 when he decided to enter the mosque that night.
He explained Bissonnette’s parents are “collateral victims” who are “suffering enormously.”
At the mention of his parents, Raymond Bissonnette and Manon Marchand, the killer broke down, sobbing loudly.
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Huot called for a short recess in order for Bissonnette to compose himself.
The court will hear a total of 16 victim testimonies and the Crown will present another 12 written statements from victims and family members before they wrap up their arguments.
Wednesday morning, Ibrahim Bekkari Sbai told the judge that he was consulting a psychologist for the mental trauma he has experienced since the night of the shooting.
“The people who were shot that night were the best among us,” Sbai said.
The Moroccan immigrant moved to Quebec in 2002.
One of the first friends he made was Azzedine Soufiane, who was killed that night.
Sbai explained how he called 911 and then ran to the side of Soufiane’s lifeless body.
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“I saw his face, I saw him laying on the ground. He was someone who was always standing up. To see him on the ground was unconscionable,” he told the judge.
Sbai, who was not shot, said he worries another shooting could happen again.
Earlier, the Crown submitted letters from the widow and daughter of another victim, Khaled Belkacemi.
Belkacemi’s children told the court their father moved his family to Canada to escape extreme violence in Algeria.
They grew up in the same neighbourhood as Bissonnette.
Daughter, Megda, who is only one year older than Bissonnette, said, “the evidence showed that Mr. Bissonnette was afraid for his family’s security. And I think it’s deplorable that it was my family who was directly affected.”
Her brother, Amir, called Bissonnette “a monster.”
“When I looked directly into his eyes, I didn’t see any humanity… I saw nothing,” he said.