Published: Sun, April 07, 2019
Global Media | By Garry Long

New Zealand police say Christchurch accused to face 50 murder charges

New Zealand police say Christchurch accused to face 50 murder charges

A New Zealand judge on Friday ordered that the man accused of killing 50 people at two Christchurch mosques undergo two mental health assessments to determine if he's fit to stand trial.

Police said today Australian Brenton Harrison Tarrant, 28, will face the charges when he appears in court tomorrow via audio-video link from Auckland's Paremoremo Prison, the country's only specialist maximum-security unit.

Yama Nabi, whose father Haji Daoud Nabi was killed in a shooting at Al Noor Mosque, speaks to the media outside the High Court in Christchurch, New Zealand, Friday.

The accused also faces 39 attempted murder charges in relation to the March 15 attack on two mosques in the city of Christchurch.

The accused - laregly motionless and on mute - appeared on a large screen in the courtroom on Friday, wearing a grey jumper and with a small cell in the background.

"I don't want a heart that is boiling like a volcano, a volcano has anger, fury, rage, it does not have peace", he said.

Mander suppressed the names of the 39 survivors, citing concern for their welfare.

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"It is an entirely ordinary step taken in the process and I don't think anything should be read into it", Mander said.

While upset after the court appearance, Mr Alam said he was no longer afraid.

He remanded him in custody without plea to next appear on 14 June.

The media will be allowed to attend the hearing, but the judge has denied access to film, photograph and recordings at the hearing.

The public gallery was packed to standing capacity with members of the Muslim community and journalists from New Zealand and around the world.

Tarrant sacked a court-appointed lawyer after his first court appearance on March 16, raising fears he wanted to represent himself and attempt to use any trial as a propaganda platform.

Two Auckland lawyers, Shane Tait and Jonathan Hudson, are to represent him. The news comes as MPs heard oral submissions on the government's gun law reform bill, which seeks to ban military-style semi-automatics, assault rifles and related components and arrange a buyback scheme for guns that become illegal, according to the Guardian.

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