Alleged Christchurch Terrorist Charged With 50 Counts Of Murder

NZ Accused shooter to undergo mental assessment

Alleged Christchurch Terrorist Charged With 50 Counts Of Murder

The March 15 attack was the worst mass shooting by a lone gunman in New Zealand.

Australian Brenton Tarrant appeared in a New Zealand court on Friday where the suspected white supremacist was charged with an additional 49 counts of murder at two mosques last month.

Brenton Tarrant is expected to front the High Court in Christchurch tomorrow via audio-visual link.

During the half-hour hearing Justice Cameron Mander ordered Tarrant undergo two assessments to determine whether he may be mentally impaired, legally insane or fit to stand trial.

The prosecutors were also considering whether to lay charges against Tarrant under the seldom-used Terrorism Suppression Act, which was introduced after the September 11, 2000 United States terrorist attacks, reports The New Zealand Herald.

It is the defendant's second court appearance, after briefly appearing in Christchurch District Court on 16 March, the day after the mosque attacks.

At the moment, he is detained in Auckland, in the one maximum security prison the country has.

"The man arrested in relation to the Christchurch terror attacks will face 50 murder and 39 attempted murder charges when he appears in the High Court in Christchurch on Friday", they said in a brief statement. Peters said Tarrant told him that he wants to represent himself.

The judge said Tarrant was charged with 50 counts of murder and 39 counts of attempted murder.

Fifty people were killed in the two mosques and dozens of others were shot and wounded.

Following the attack, New Zealanders came together to offer support and solidarity to the victims and the wider Muslim community.

Hodge said New Zealand and Australia were trying to preserve the ancient common-law approach to a fair trial, but that it seemed quaint in an era where people could easily find more information or images on the internet.

The judge explained that from his end, Tarrant could see the judge and lawyers but not those in the public gallery.

The media will be allowed to attend the hearing, but the judge has denied access to film, photograph and recordings at the hearing. The gunman was armed with semi-automatic weapons and broadcast his attack live on Facebook.

"Lawyers always look for precedent, and we haven't seen anything like this before", she said.

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