TORONTO — A man who gunned down two people in a crowded downtown food court was sentenced Thursday to at least 30 years behind bars — an unprecedented sentence for second-degree murder.
Ontario Superior Court Justice Eugene Ewaschuk, who denounced the crimes as horrific and outrageous, decided Christopher Husbands will be ineligible for parole for 15 years for each killing. Ewaschuk also decided the periods of parole ineligibility should be served consecutively.
Husbands is a Guyanese national.
“It’s an unprecedented sentence for second-degree murder in Canada– it’s literally never been given,” defence lawyer Dirk Derstine said.
“He’s in shock because of the sentence.”
Husbands was convicted of two counts of second-degree murder for the shooting at the landmark Eaton Centre in June 2012 that also critically injured a 13-year-old boy.
The 26-year-old was also convicted of five counts of aggravated assault, one count of criminal negligence causing bodily harm and one count of recklessly discharging a firearm.
The murder convictions carry an automatic life sentence with no parole for at least 10 years. However, the federal government recently changed the law to allow periods of parole ineligibility in murder cases to be consecutive, rather than concurrent.
Husbands’ defence team had launched a constitutional challenge to the sentencing provisions, arguing they amounted to cruel and unusual punishment, but Ewaschuk rejected the challenge. (CP24)