Experts say mosque shooter's sentence highlights ongoing debate over consecutive life sentences

Legal experts say the sentence handed down to Quebec City's mosque shooter last week highlights the ongoing debate over consecutive life sentences in Canada.

A Quebec Superior Court justice sentenced Alexandre Bissonnette to life in prison with no chance of parole for 40 years for killing six men in an attack on a mosque.

The judge rewrote Canada's consecutive sentencing law to give himself the discretion to deliver sentences that aren't in 25-year blocks.

University of Calgary law professor Lisa Silver says many judges seem to be grappling with the 2011 law that allows judges to order sentences that can exceed an inmate's life span and deny them any hope of parole.

She says the issue can be problematic because the public doesn't always understand why some killers are sentenced to at least 75 years in prison while others such as serial killer Bruce McArthur will be able to apply for parole after 25 years.

University of Toronto law professor Kent Roach says the Quebec judge took an innovative approach by trying to modify the law rather than simply imposing the traditional 25-year parole ineligibility.

Both Roach and Silver believe the sentence is likely to be appealed.