Tarrant sentencing begins today

Brendon Tarrant pleaded guilty to the murder of 51 people and the attempted murder of 49 people at two mosques in Christchurch on 15 March 2019.

His sentencing begins in Christchurch today. As it will allow victims to have a say via Victim Impact Statements it will take three days.

As Tarrant has chosen to represent himself he will also get a say. It will be interesting to hear what approach he takes now he has had a 17 months to contemplate what he has done, and also what he didn’t achieve apart from near universal condemnation.

Tarrant will get a mandatory life sentence. The unknown at this stage is what sort of non-parole period he will get, if any. It has to be the most severe sentence given in New Zealand since capital punishment was abolished.

Christchurch mosque killer shouldn’t have been granted firearms license – report

There were obvious questions about how Christchurch mosque Brendon Tarrant was granted a firearms license that allowed him to buy firearms and ammunition. A report confirms that police made basic errors in their procedures.

Stuff: Mosque terrorist was wrongly granted firearms licence due to police mistakes, sources say

The March 15 terrorist was wrongly granted a firearms licence due to a string of police failures, sources have told Stuff.

The terrorist, who pleaded guilty to New Zealand’s worst mass shooting in March, was not properly inspected by police vetting staff when he applied for a firearms licence in 2017.

Stuff has been told that, among other errors, police failed to interview a family member as required, instead relying on two men who met the terrorist through an internet chatroom.

More than a year on from the March 15 terror attack, police insiders say the error was the product of a long neglected police firearms system that did not have the resources to properly handle applications.

Police have previously confirmed he applied for the licence in September 2017, was interviewed at his Somerville St, Dunedin home in October, and was granted the licence after the application was reviewed in November.

However, a police source has told Stuff the licence application should not have been granted, as police vetting staff failed to properly interview appropriate referees for the terrorist.

A licence applicant must provide two referees to be interviewed by police vetting staff, who are tasked with assessing the risk a person could pose if granted a firearms licence.

The terrorist’s licence was granted without a family member being interviewed, or even called, according to a source with knowledge of the matter.

Instead, the only referees interviewed by a police vetter were a Cambridge father and son. They knew the terrorist through an internet chatroom.

Police sources, who include both current and former staff who spoke to Stuff on the condition of anonymity, say the licence would not have been granted if proper procedure was followed.

Another arms officer is supposed to check the applicant has been properly vetted before issuing the licence, yet no red flag was raised about the terrorist’s incomplete file.

Instead, the only referees interviewed by a police vetter were a Cambridge father and son. They knew the terrorist through an internet chatroom.

Police sources, who include both current and former staff who spoke to Stuff on the condition of anonymity, say the licence would not have been granted if proper procedure was followed.

Another arms officer is supposed to check the applicant has been properly vetted before issuing the licence, yet no red flag was raised about the terrorist’s incomplete file.

I was granted  firearms license (renewal) by Dunedin police in July 2018. I was interviewed in my home for about an hour, and my firearm security was also checked. A family member was interviewed for about half an hour, and someone who has known me for thirty years was also interviewed via phone.

It seemed to be very through, almost intrusive, asking about my attitude the use of firearms, my mental health and whether I had  associations with gangs.

The process did take a couple of months.

Maybe the police were under less pressure when I was vetted, but the laxness in granting Tarrant a license is inexcusable.

Stuff understands New Zealand First and Labour have agreed to possibly removing the firearms licensing regime from police’s control, and establishing a separate independent firearms authority.

Police are also making changes to how they vet people applying for firearms licences, Stuff understands, with the pay and training of vetting staff being reviewed.

Of course the problem should be rectified, but it’s too late for all those murdered or affected by the murders in Christchurch.


RNZ – Gun laws: MPs continue debate on second phase of firearms reform

More charges including terrorism laid against Christchurch terrorist

The police have laid more charges against the man accused of the Christchurch massacres, Brendon Tarrant, including a terrorism charge.

NZ Police: Further charges filed following March 15 attack in Christchurch

Police have met with victim’s families and survivors of the March 15 Christchurch attack to inform them of new charges which have been filed, and update them on the ongoing Police investigation plus the court process to come.

A charge of engaging in a Terrorist Act under section 6A of the Terrorism Suppression Act 2002 has now been filed against Brenton Tarrant.

The charge will allege that a terrorist act was carried out in Christchurch on 15 March 2019 and follows consultation between Police, Crown Law and the Christchurch Crown Solicitors Office.

An additional murder charge and two additional attempted murder charges have also been filed.

51 charges of murder, 40 of attempted murder and one charge under the Terrorism Suppression Act have now been filed against Tarrant.

Just over 200 people attended the meeting this afternoon in Christchurch.

It was led by Detective Superintendent Peter Read and Detective Superintendent Dave Lynch who are joint Senior Investigation Officers, as well as Superintendent John Price, Canterbury District Commander. Also present were Detective Inspector Greg Murton, officer in charge of the investigation, Detective Senior Sergeant Sarah Illingworth who is managing the family liaison process for Police and a number of Court Victims Advisers.

Police are committed to providing all the support necessary for what will be a challenging and emotional court process to come for the victim’s families and survivors of the attack.

As the case is before the courts no further commentary on the charges will be made by Police, Crown Law or the Christchurch Crown Solicitors office.

Edgeler added:

The murder charges are still there. It’s not an all or nothing risk.

I think this is the right decision. If convicted it shouldn’t make much if any difference to the sentence, which would surely have to be the most severe handed down in a modern New Zealand court as the seriousness of the crime is unprecedented, but the police should not decide against the most serious charge for fear of the defendant grandstanding in court. There are ways that the court can deal with that.