Accused Christchurch mosque shooter to undergo mental health tests

Accused Christchurch mosque shooter to undergo mental health tests

Accused Christchurch mosque shooter to undergo mental health tests

BrentonTarrant, 28, appeared in court in Christchurch Friday and was ordered to undergo a mental assessment to determine his fitness for trial over the attacks.

The man accused of murdering 50 people in the Christchurch mosque terror attacks appeared in court this morning. Today, that has been significantly upgraded: He will face court tomorrow charged with 50 counts of murder and an additional 39 counts of attempted murder. The next court hearing was scheduled for June 14, and the mental health findings would determine whether he is required to enter a plea then. The judge did not set a trial date.

A largely motionless Tarrant - on mute - appeared on a large screen in the courtroom on Friday, wearing a grey jumper, a small cell in the background.

The two lawyers instructed to act on behalf of Brenton Tarrant, the accused Christchurch shooter - Shane Tait, left, and Jonathan Hudson. The police have stated that other charges against Tarrant are "still under consideration".

Mr Mander said the mental heath test order was a normal step in such a case.

The New Zealand Police on Thursday laid down 50 charges of murder and 39 attempted murder charges against Tarrant.

The Pacific island nation does not have the death penalty and the longest previous sentence of prison time without parole was 30 years. A section of the courtroom has been reserved for victims' families and survivors of the attacks.

Thousands of visitors to the reopened Al Noor mosque, where 42 people were killed, have offered condolences and sought to learn more about Islam, said Israfil Hossain, who recites the daily call to prayer there.

"I wanted to see him because he killed so many of my friends".

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern described the massacre, the worst mass shooting by a lone gunman in New Zealand, as a "terrorist attack" and some legal experts thought it could result in charges under New Zealand's terrorism laws.

On Thursday, the government held a single day of public hearings as it rushed to implement new gun-control laws, due to be passed on April 11.

A ban on military-style semi-automatic rifles, like those used in the attack, are expected to be put in place by the end of next week.

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.

Tofazzal Alam, 25, said he was worshipping at the Linwood mosque when the gunman attacked.

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