In Canada there has been a strange new phenomenon occurring in our courts.
Heinous criminals are getting off easier, instead of maximum sentences being utilized, recent sentences handed out to these individuals are lackluster.
Alexandre Bissonnette, the infamous Quebec City mosque shooter, who gunned down 6 men will be serving a life sentence, with parole available after 40 years.
Even though, he could’ve been locked away for 150 years before parole. But the judge believed that any more than 50 years would’ve been “cruel and unusual punishment.”
A Toronto Star article describes how the judge actually may have had to ignore the law in order to pass this judgement.
Bruce McArthur, the serial killer from Toronto who murdered eight gay men just received life in prison and parole after twenty-five years.
That’s the equivalent sentence for murdering one person.
These light sentence left many victims extremely upset and shocked. In their eyes it was as if the judge was more concerned with the dignity of the killer and not the grief, suffering, and pain of the family and victims.
In the past we’ve seen murder charges stacked on each other such as with, Justin Bourque who received 75 years without parole eligibility for murdering three New Brunswick RCMP officers in 2014.
These differentiation in sentences have sparked a different kind of debate.
Problems of different sentencings
How can a person receive a shorter sentence for murdering eight people than one who murdered three?
People have tied ties back to the identity of the people as it seems in Bourque’s case that the lives of three RCMP officers hold more weight than the eight gay men that McArthur killed.
The inconsistency in the sentencing of multiple murders has the potential to cause harm among different types of communities who may see it through a racial lens.
In order to eliminate that there needs to be a review of the laws so judges can have more clarity when deciding the sentences of these killers.
But, the confusion still leaves many baffled because at a quick glance it does appear that some groups do hold more weight, if we don’t account for other circumstances surrounding the cases.
This begs us to ask the question: Why is this able to happen?
A new grey area in our laws is being utilized in these most recent court rulings.
Due to the lack of consistency with judges ruling in multiple murder cases, it’s clear that the laws surrounding these circumstances must be reviewed.
There’s a continuous dialogue about whether multiple murders should be served concurrently or stacked upon each other. In essence this is a large reason for the differentiation in sentences and interpretations of our laws.
The way things are looking, it’s as if the courts have different levels of worth for different groups of people. It also appears that they’re prioritizing the criminals over the victims that’ve been left behind.
There shouldn’t be a reason these men aren’t being sentenced for the all the murders they committed. But, our justice system has given these heinous criminals the hope of seeing the day where they can appeal leaving a gap in closure among the victims.
It’s alarming to see two of these unjust sentences given within the same week. This trend should have all Canadians concerned because it shows a glaring weakness within our courts.
These holes in our judicial system must be taken care of promptly as to prevent anymore controversial sentences.
We have laws in place to punish those who break them. So when people commit crimes as gruesome as those above, we should be punishing them people to the full extent of the law.
If our courts aren’t able to do that, then our justice system has failed.