Quebec mosque shooting accused going straight to trial

QUEBEC — The accused in the slayings of six men at a Quebec City mosque last January will bypass his preliminary hearing and go straight to trial, the Crown announced on Monday.

Prosecutors filed a direct indictment against Alexandre Bissonnette during a brief hearing before Quebec court Judge Jean-Louis Lemay.

Crown prosecutor Thomas Jacques also announced another charge — one more count of attempted murder with a restricted weapon.

The new charge involves 35 people, including four children, who were in close proximity when the alleged attack occurred, Jacques explained.

But the indictment won’t include any terrorism charges, Jacques added.

Boufeldja Benabdallah, vice-president of the Islamic Cultural Centre, lamented the lack of terror-related charges.

“This terrorist act must be recognized and condemned, so that it serves as a strong lesson for Quebec society, Canadian society and … globally,” Benabdallah said.

Jacques said the charges reflect what the Crown had to work with.

“All the evidence gathered by the various police forces involved in this large scale investigation has been rigorously analyzed and the charges laid are the result and the evidence gathered, the available evidence and the current laws in Canada,” Jacques said.

Bissonnette, 27, now faces six counts of first-degree murder and six counts of attempted murder using a restricted firearm.

Six people, aged between 39 and 60, were killed when a gunman stormed the mosque and opened fire on men who were attending prayer.

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