The Supreme Court's decision in the Alexandre Bissonnette case restores the fundamental principle of the right to rehabilitation, say jurists who welcome the decision by recalling that the murderer of the Quebec mosque is serving a life sentence as long as he does not won't convince the parole board.
• Read also: The Muslim community disappointed and worried about orphans
• Read also: Bissonnette may apply for parole after 25 years
For the experts consulted by Le Journal, the decision rendered unanimously on Friday restores the balance between the possibility of rehabilitation and the protection of the public.
“If there was no possibility of release one day, of rehabilitation, what is the point of going to prison in this case? This is the cruel and unusual punishment that the [Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms] aims to avoid, ”supports Me Richard Dubé, recalling that the parole board has the expertise to analyze the files after 25 years.
“They are experts, you have to trust them.”
Examples of a system “that worked” before 2011
As proof, insist the specialists consulted by Le Journal, there are many examples on both sides which prove that the possible release after 25 years does not guarantee either an automatic right of exit or a recidivism once free.
“Let us remember Denis Lortie. We had seen the drama on TV, we saw that the accused was not stable at the time of the crime, people all wanted him to spend his life in prison, but he was released by the commission and he proved that he had been rehabilitated”, quotes Me Rénald Beaudry to illustrate that the commission has the tools to properly manage these heavy and complex cases.
And conversely, cases like those of Gilles Pimparé who was refused release nine times or of Paul Bernardo demonstrate that the machine does not need concurrent sentences to control offenders according to Me Jean-Claude Hébert .
"Good examples, there are on both sides, this is what shows that the system works", analyzes the lawyer who has practiced for 50 years.
“We are going back to the basics that have proven themselves and which reflect the society that is Canada,” says Me Richard Dubé.
Do not minimize the suffering
The decision is still likely to cause a stir among the victims of Bissonnette like other multiple murderers convicted since 2011 and who may see their concurrent sentence be revised. This is a disappointment for Daniel Petit, who was parliamentary secretary for justice when the Conservatives passed the law in 2011.
"It's boring, the message that will be sent is sad for those who have lost a loved one", reluctantly qualifying the whole thing as a "great victory" for the murderer of the Mosque.
However, the experts consulted believe that the Supreme Court did not question the suffering of the victims in its judgment.
“The judges did not minimize the impact of the gestures, it is clearly underlined, but they weigh everything with the importance that Canada, by its charter, places on human dignity, even for an accused. […] It reminds us that the right to rehabilitation is part of Canadian values”, illustrates Me Beaudry.
“If people take the time to read the judgment, they will have no choice but to admit that it is a decision which does not come out of nowhere, which is fleshed out and above all, which is based on the law elsewhere in the world, in countries like ours,” adds Jean-Claude Hébert.
More details to come...
– With the collaboration of Nicolas Saillant