Tarrant tried to avoid appearing in court for sentencing

Christchurch mosque murderer Brenton Tarrant tried to avoid appearing in person in court for his sentencing, which involved three days of victim statements before he was sentenced to life imprisonment with no parole.

After his first appearance in person in court in Christchurch last year Tarrant had appeared via AVL link from prison in Auckland for further appearances until this week’s sentencing. The Courts (Remote Participation) Act 2010 allows AVL to be used at sentencing but at a judge’s discretion.

Tarrant’s lawyers submitted that AVL technology wouldn’t adversely affect their client’s ability to follow proceedings or engage with them.

But his sentencing wasn’t only about him and his convenience.

The judge said: “I am concerned that the defendant’s request could be interpreted as an attempt to withdraw from the sentencing process to avoid having to face the consequences of being publicly held accountable for his offending. The interests of justice do not favour the encouragement or aiding of such a strategy.”

“Justice must not only be done but must be seen to be done.”

ODT/NZH: Mosque terrorist tried to avoid fronting up to victims

Christchurch mosque killer Brenton Tarrant, repeatedly branded a “gutless coward” by his victims this week, tried to get out of appearing at his own sentencing, it can be revealed.

New court documents released to the New Zealand Herald show that the 29-year-old Australian mass killer applied for permission to appear at his sentencing by way of audio-visual link (AVL) only.

The move – lodged in May after his shock guilty pleas and opposed by Crown lawyers – was rejected by Justice Cameron Mander.

The judge raised concerns that Tarrant was trying to avoid facing the consequences of being publicly held accountable for his offending.

Tarrant’s then lawyers – before he sacked them – tried arguing that suitable technology would’ve been available and that it had been used at earlier court appearances. They said there had been no issues with the quality of the link and that AVL technology wouldn’t have adversely affected their client’s ability to follow proceedings or engage with them.

They also claimed it would have resulted in “significant cost saving” by not having to securely transfer him from Auckland to Christchurch.

In the Crown’s strong opposition, they pointed to the “nature and seriousness of the charges” and the number of victims, along with the impact of his offending.

The Crown lawyers said sentencing would “assume greater importance for the victims, as it has now become the focal point of the criminal proceeding and there is no reason why such an important part of the criminal justice process ought not to be conducted in the usual way with the defendant physically present in the courtroom”.

The judge said Tarrant would be a “critical participant and his physical presence is an important component of the administration of justice in this case”.

“The only apparent justification appears to be the defendant’s preference, which cannot displace the ordinary need for a defendant to be physically before the court for the purpose of being sentenced in the circumstances of such a serious case as this,” Justice Mander ruled.

“Justice must not only be done but must be seen to be done.”

The judge expressed concern that Tarrant “may well now be seeking to distance himself or disengage from the criminal process”.

“His trepidation may be understandable but the sentencing hearing will be conducted in accordance with the ordinary rules and disciplines that apply to such a proceeding and arrangements will be made to ensure his security,” he said.

So Tarrant’s threats he would use his court appearances to promote his sick ideology changed over time to not wanting to appear in person in front of the victims and judge. Judge Mander at sentencing:

Your plan was to be captured alive and to use your subsequent interactions with the police and the court process to advance your ideological cause. I accept that insofar as you may have thought to use your trial as a platform, you discarded that opportunity when you pleaded guilty and have taken no steps in the course of this hearing to advance the ideology that motivated you.

And despite choosing to represent himself he also chose to not speak at all apart from a couple of brief responses to questions from the judge.

He also did not oppose the life without parole sentence, the first time it has been imposed in New Zealand.

Tarrant sentenced to life without parole

This afternoon Justice Mander condemned the Christchurch mosque killer Brenton Tarrant and sentenced him to life without parole.

“A life sentence without parole… The rhetorical question – if not here, then when?”

On each of the 51 charges of murder (charges 1-51) you are sentenced to life imprisonment. I order that you serve the sentences without parole.

On each of the 40 charges of attempted murder (charges 52-91) you are sentenced to concurrent terms of 12 years’ imprisonment.

On the charge of committing a terrorist act (charge 92) you are sentenced to life imprisonment.

The sentences will be served concurrently, which means little with a no parole life sentence .

Judgment: R v Tarrant
(Note: start from paragraph 145 to skip some harrowing details and go to the sentencing)

Date of Judgment 27 August 2020

Summary Offender pleaded guilty to 51 charges of murder, 40 of attempted murder and one of committing a terrorist act after shooting worshippers at two mosques in Christchurch. Court held that no minimum period of imprisonment would be sufficient to satisfy the purpose of sentencing. Offender sentenced to life imprisonment without parole under s 103 (2A) Sentencing Act 2002.

From the judgment:

The distribution of your manifesto, the livestreaming of your crimes, during which you addressed your online audience and provided a running commentary;andthe affectation of decorating your weapons and playing music, were all undertaken to obtain maximum attention and notorietyboth to yourself and your cause. You saw your interview with police as an opportunity to boast about what you had done and to rationalise your actions. If anything more is required beyond your murder of innocent lives, these features point to the depth of your motivation, as does the long period of time over which you planned this terrorism and the lengths you went to execute your ideologically-driven crimes.

lives, these features point to the depth of your motivation, as does the long period of time over which you planned this terrorism and the lengths you went to execute your ideologically-drivencrimes.[173]I am sceptical of your recent representations of having abandoned the ideology that motivated you. You have admitted having lied in the course of earlier assessments and both health assessors express reservations regarding the extentto whichyour most recent statements and changing motives can be relied upon.Your admission that you were aware that what you intended to do was wrong,andyet,thatyou went ahead despite such knowledge,points both to the hold your extremism had over you and its potential to continue to influence you in the most catastrophic of ways.

While you have expressed a willingness to engage in some form of restorative justice process inthe future,it is not apparent from the reports I have read that you have shown muchinterest in your victims, let alone any remorse or empathy for the people you have killed and wounded, or for the wider harm you have caused.You haveto datebeendismissive of any potential rehabilitative interventions.While perhaps reflective of your fluctuating moods,your pastresponseshave beenthat you do not want help; that professionals do not have the training or expertise to deal with your issues. More recently you have indicated an unwillingness to engage with the Department of Corrections.

On the sentence:

Having given the matter much consideration, I am satisfied that no minimum period of imprisonment would be sufficient to satisfy the legitimate need to hold you to account for the harm you have done to the community. Nor do I consider that any minimum term of imprisonment would be sufficient to denounce your crimes. The nature and circumstances of your offending, unprecedented in this country, are such that I consider the requirement that you serve your sentences of life imprisonment for murder without parole is a necessary sanction that provides a proportionate response.

If I was to impose a minimum period of imprisonment in an endeavour to meet the purposes that I am required to achieve in sentencing you for murdering 51 people, it could not be less than your natural life. If the murders at the two mosques were approached as separate attacks,each realistically would have to attract minimum terms in the region of 40 years.In the case of the Al Noor Mosque where you murdered 44 people,a significantly higher term would have to be imposed. Even after factoring in your guilty pleas,that feature is quickly superseded by the need to reflect the associated offending that includes your convictions for attempting to murder 40 other people, all of whom suffered serious gunshot wounds and, most, lasting life-altering injuries. In committing this terrible act you of course attempted to kill many more.

The need to make an order that you serve your sentence without parole does not primarily arise from deterrence nor from the need to protect the community from you, powerful as both considerations are when dealing with an offender capable of such terrible crimes and the necessity of delivering a cogent message that the commission of such an atrocity will be met with the most condign response. However, I am mindful that as the years pass and you become a much older man,the risk you pose could be reassessed.The need for deterrence is also clear but the deluded motivation of zealots capable of such crimes, with their overvalued beliefs that feed such extreme violence,are less likely to be tempered by the fear of penal consequences no matter how severe.

Your crimes, however, are so wicked that even if you are detained until you die,it will not exhaust the requirements of punishment and enunciation. Those legitimate penological grounds for continued detention will remain. At nearly 30 years of age, you are a relatively young man and the justifications for your continued detention over time may shift as the years pass. Some may change but I do not consider, however long the length of your incarceration during your lifetime, that it could, evenin a modest way, at one for what you have done. Ordinarily such an approach would be a poor guarantee of just and proportionate punishment, but I consider yours one of those exceedingly rare cases which is different.

For completeness, I record that if I am wrong tosentenceyou on the basis that the Court retains a residual discretion todecidewhether to impose a life sentence without parole,despite having concluded that no minimum term of imprisonment would be sufficient tohold you to account for the harm you have done,or to denounce your conduct, a whole-of-life sentence would have to follow in any event.

Patrick Gower has done a brief summary of the judge’s address on Twitter:

“Vicious malevolence.” “Pitiless cruelty.” ““Warped and malignant ideas.”

“Anathema to our values.” “It has no place here.” “You remain entirely self-obsessed.” “Your offending is without precedence.”

“Such malice, such callous indifference.”

“Even if you are detained until you die it will not contain enough punishment and denunciation.”

To victims: “I wish them peace and happiness.”

Tarrant to be sentenced today

Victim impact statements continued yesterday in court in Christchurch as part of the sentencing process of mosque murderer Brenton Tarrant.

Tarrant was referred to as a coward, scum and a piece of shit. This seems extreme for a court but if people are to be alowed to say what they think these emotions are understandable. Tarrant committed the worst criminal acts in New Zealand, so the worst of descriptions are appropriate.

Tarant has already pleaded guilty to  51 counts of murder, 40 of attempted murder and one charge under the Terrorism Suppression Act.

Late yesterday the court was advised the gunman has instructed standby counsel Pip Hall QC to speak on his behalf and will not speak today.

A submission will also be made by Crown counsel.

The judge has been asked by a number of victims to impose the longest possible sentence in New Zealand, life without parole. This sentence has never been imposed before, but a crime this bad has never been committed before.

RNZ: Life without parole

In a small number of cases, the Crown has argued for life to mean life – in which a prisoner remains in jail until they die.

In a case last month, Paul Wilson was sentenced to life in jail with a minimum non-parole period of 28 years.

The longest sentence imposed by a New Zealand court is life imprisonment with a non-parole period of 30 years for the triple killings at an Auckland RSA in 2001.

New Zealand’s longest serving prisoner is Alfred Thomas Vincent, who has been in jail since 1968 for indecently assaulting five boys.

Being given a non-parole period does not mean a prisoner with a life sentence will be given parole. And if they are given parole they can be recalled to prison if the breach life long conditions of parole.

I think that for Tarrant life without parole is justified. It’s hard to imagine what would justify this maximum sentence if Tarrant isn’t given it. It would have to be at least longer than the current highest non-parole period of 30 years.

Tarrant will have to serve his whole prison sentence in New Zealand. There is currently no legal means of transferring him to Australia.


Reports of victim statements:

RNZ: Family of 3yo killed in mosque attacks confront gunman: ‘True justice is waiting for you in the next life’

The small child was clinging to his father’s leg among a group of worshippers – some dead or badly injured – in the north-eastern corner of the mosque’s main prayer room.

The young boy’s age and stature made no difference to the terrorist.

He took deliberate aim at the little boy and fired two shots.

Mucaad’s family this morning confronted his killer.

The family emigrated from Somalia in 1995 as refugees.

They were all New Zealand citizens and little Mucaad was born here.

“You killed my son, but to me it is as if you have killed the whole of New Zealand,” his father, Aden Diriye, said.

“He was adored by all and loved by any who gazed upon him.

“He used to engage in play with the police. At home he used to run around the house and pretend to be a cop and wear the police uniform. We thought one day he would become a cop.”

He could not understand the killer’s callous hatred, Mr Diriye said.

“I don’t know you. I never hurt you, your mother, your father or any of your friends. Rather I’m the kind of person who would help you with anything,” he said.

He told the terrorist he had united the country in grief.

Also from RNZ:

‘I saw the fear in his eyes,’ says man who chased killer

The contrast cannot be more stark. The bravery of a 15-year-old girl, and the cowardice of a 29-year-old terrorist.

A 15-year-old girl, who cannot be named, this afternoon confronted the terrorist directly during her victim impact statement.

“Why did you kill my dad? Why did you take the most important person away?” she asked him.

“He will always be in my heart and the hearts of those who love him. But you, you will be alone in prison.

“The only one who lost everything was you. Congratulations Mr Terrorist, you have failed.”

The terrorist’s cowardice was often pointed out during this afternoon’s session.

Sehan El Wakil told the terrorist he was a coward.

“If you were a real man you would have faced them [the victims], face-to-face, not with a gun behind their backs,” she said.

Abdul Aziz Wahabzadah, who chased Tarrant from Linwood Islamic Centre using an eftpos machine, told the terrorist he should thank Allah he did not catch him on 15 March 2019.

“He acts very tough but, to be honest with you, he’s nothing,” Wahabzadah said.

“You are a terrorist. You are a racist. You are a cold-blooded murderer who hides behind his weapons,” Feroz Ditta told Tarrant.

“Your time will come – that I can assure you, mate.

“For the rest of your life you won’t be able to embrace your parents and your family, and be part of their lives.

“You will no longer be able to hug your mother. They are at a loss because they have lost their son for the rest of their lives.”

And: Christchurch mosque attacks: ‘We defy your actions of hatred’ 

“I don’t go to the mosque so much now because I’m too scared to go there. It’s just too hard for me now because of the gun shooting that day and my best friend being shot dead there in front of me. This has changed everything in my life. I miss my best friend Matiullah – he was like a brother to me.”

– Taj Kamran, who was shot on 15 March 2019

“Burying one dead friend is heartbreaking but imagine burying a one of a kind. A one of a kind that is my son Ata and 49 beloved brothers and sisters in one go. No words can describe what my heart experienced at that time and is still experiencing.”

– Mohammad Alayyan, whose son Ata Elayyan was killed on 15 March 2019

“You took away not just the most amazing son, but the best father, husband, brother, friend, relative, neighbour, employer, team member, motivational speaker and a pious Muslim.”

– Maysoon Salama, whose son Ata Elayyan was killed on 15 March 2019

“Eternal happiness only exists in the hereafter in the highest heavens where one day my daughter and I will be reunited with our beloved Ata. Until then I will carry the heavy weight of our dreams and daydream about the uncompleted trips and plan the goals I wanted to achieve with my love. Our daughter will live in the shadows of her beloved father. She will know him through her eyes, as she has his, through our love and the love everyone has for him. His legacy will live forever.”

– Farah Kamal, whose husband Ata Elayyan was killed on 15 March 2019

“The first shots I heard made me turn and see the gunman enter. I witnessed fellow peaceful worshippers innocently gunned down. The gunman and I looked into each other’s eyes. I saw the moment when I was the target of his gun. I was shot nine times.”

– Temel Atacocugu, who was shot on 15 March 2019

“Syed left behind myself and three children, all under five years of age.”

Amna Ali, whose husband Syed Jahandad Ali was killed on 15 March 2019

“We always celebrated our birthdays together, which are one day apart. I’ll never be able to wake up to his cheeky gifts or contagious smiles again. My best friend was executed in cold-blooded murder out of hatred.”

– Aya Al Umari, whose brother Hussein Al-Umari was killed on 15 March 2019

“It was extremely painful to feel so helpless while watching your soulmate breathe his last breathe.”

– Saira Patel, whose husband Musa Patel was killed on 15 March 2019

“The day of the shocking mosque shooting at Linwood Mosque was like living a nightmare with everything coming to a stop and life revolving just around that one phone call I received and those messages from my mum saying ‘We are about to die and love you all’.”

– Irfan Patel, whose father Musa Patel was killed on 15 March 2019

“When I first got the news of the events of 15th March 2019 I was in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. We were heartbroken and clueless as we did not have any information on him. Once on the news we even saw a picture of someone on a stretcher wearing the same jacket as the one Ozair had. Those moments were the most difficult ones in our lives.”

– Kadir Habib, whose son Ozair Kadir was killed on 15 March 2019

“My parents and brother were the source of all emotional support, happiness and comfort for me. I used to visit my parents and stay with them in Pakistan regularly. The sudden death of all of them has really jolted me.”

– Mariam Gul, whose parents, Karam Bibi and Ghulam Hussain, and brother Muhammad Zeshan Raza were killed on 15 March 2019

“You killed 51 people and injured so many who were there to attend Friday prayers. We have grieved as a community. We have cried along with those families that have lost loved ones and yes we are stronger and defy your actions of hatred. We still find New Zealand to be one of safest countries to live.”

– Mohammad Siddiqui, who was shot on 15 March 2019

“I have spent a lot of time thinking about what transpired and what took place was unjust, unfair and there was no right for anyone to interfere in our place in our peaceful prayer time. My brother’s three children now yearn for their father and continue life without their daddy.”

– Zahid Ismail, whose brother Junaid Ismail was killed on 15 March 2019

“After the events of 15th March 2019 I don’t feel I have to hide my faith at work anymore. This has been a positive outcome for me. I have been more open in practicing my faith in the workplace . . . which was supported and respected by my colleagues.”

– Raesha Ismail, whose brother Junaid Ismail was killed on 15 March 2019

“The shot went through my right underarm and fortunately back out again. I was screaming to Ibrahim and Mostafa to get out, as they were at the front of the mosque. I remember seeing the defendant spray his bullets at the men sitting on the seats at the rear of the prayer room and as you can imagine this was so traumatic for me.”

– Salwa El Shazley, who was shot on 15 March 2019

“When the shooting started I remember I tried to get through a doorway into another room. It was then that I felt something, like a shudder, in my leg. I reached down and I saw and I felt the blood and the hole, and I knew I had been shot. I fell down. Someone else fell down near me and I saw people falling and being shot. I heard people calling for help.”

– Motasim Hafiz Uddin, who was shot on 15 March 2019

“My son now leaves this temporary world as a martyr. That’s a blessing that connects me more to God and helps me through life as I’m missing my son. I too was present in the mosque when so many lives left this temporary world by your hands. My survival comes as a great blessing and when I reflect on that day I’ve decided that I will live my life doing great things for our people and our community.”

– Noraini Milne, whose son Sayyad Milne was killed on 15 March 2019

“As a parent no matter how old your children are they will still be your babies forever. Our children bring out the best and worse in us. Two days later I went with my wife Rosemary to the mortuary to view Tariq’s body and to identify him. It was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. Tariq was lying on the table lifeless. I couldn’t hold back my tears even though I was trying so hard to be strong for my wife. The tragic sudden loss of my son Tariq has taken a huge toll on me. I couldn’t function properly for a long time.”

– Rashid Omar, whose son Tariq Omar was killed on 15 March 2019

“I’m so proud to have him as my son. It’s good to remember the positives in Tariq’s life and not his tragic death and the circumstances surrounding that. But at times it’s very difficult to see any positives and even have the will to live.”

– Rosemary Omar, whose son Tariq Omar was killed on 15 March 2019

“He was three or four metres from me when he went and shot at me, missing my head by one inch and it went into my shoulder. I didn’t move, I didn’t make any noise. It took all my strength to continue to play dead even though I had been injured. The shooter seemed to think I was dead and left me alone.”

– Hazem Mohamed, who was shot on 15 March 2019

“My 71-year-old dad would have broke you in half if you challenged him to a fight, but you are weak. A sheep with a wolf’s jacket on.”

– Ahad Nabi, whose father Haji Daoud Nabi was killed on 15 March 2019

“You will be remembered as a scared killer and nothing more. And, yes, without even your name. Just an insignificant killer who’s lonely, scared and left behind to suffer for eternity.”

– Mustafa Boztas, who was shot on 15 March 2019

“As a family our lives have changed because now my wife has to do everything. Everyone relies on her and she is also worried about our financial situation because we don’t know how long ACC can cover me financially.”

– Rahimi Ahmad, who was shot on 15 March 2019

“I no longer feel safe in my own home, in my own country and I was always carry this heavy stone in my heart for a tragedy that was one tragedy too many. Though that aside with the aroha the beautiful people of Aotearoa have given us I can find pockets of hope and temporary freedom from this terror, this nightmare that we aren’t awakening from and I will always return to the reality that my beautiful father, Abdelfattah, is someone I can no longer speak to, hear or hug. All a daughter ever wants is her dad.”

– Sara Qasem, whose father Abdelfattah Qasem was killed on 15 March 2019

“I have forgiven you Brenton. Even though you murdered my 14-year-old son Sayyad. Not a single bullet hit me. I wasn’t even there, but there was a huge hole in my heart which will only heal when I meet Sayyad again in heaven. I hope to see you there too Brenton and if you get the chance I would love you to say sorry to Sayyad. I’m sure he’s forgiven you too.”

– John Milne, whose son Sayyad Milne was killed on 15 March 2019

“I want you to know you have not broken our society. You have made us even more visible as a Muslim community. You have made us even more visible globally on the map. You have shown New Zealand how important multiculturalism is. We are not broken because of your actions.”

– Jibran Safi, whose father Matiullah Safi was killed on 15 March 2019

“You put bullets into my husband and he fought death for 48 days, 18 surgeries until his last breathe. My eldest son has only five years’ worth of memories with his father. My wee one much less, not enough.”

– Hamimah Tuyan, whose husband Zekeriya Tuyan was killed on 15 March 2019

Mosque shooting summary of facts

The sentencing of Brenton Tarrant began in Christchurch yesterday with the reading of the Police summary of facts. He faces 51 charges of murder, 40 charges of attempted murder and one charge of commiting a terrorist act.

Then victim impact statements began – these are expected to take about three days.

The judge indicated that the actual sentencing won’t happen until Thursday morning at the earliest. Tarrant will get a mandatory life sentence and will presumably get the longest non-parole period imposed, or possibly no chance of parole.

The summary of facts shows how callous Tarrant was. From Stuff – Mosque gunman killed worshippers as they pleaded for their lives:

New details emerged as the summary of facts was read in court on Monday morning, including the gunman’s planning of the attack and graphic accounts of the “systematic” shootings he carried out, including of young children.

He slowly and deliberately shot people who were wounded and crying out for help with his AR-15. They included a 3-year-old boy clinging to his father’s legs. He shot the child twice.

The gunman fired 32 shots from his AR-15 into the mass of people huddled in the corner.

As the gunman drove off, he drove over the body of a woman who was lying on the side of the road where he had killed her earlier.

Various news reports give quite a lot of detail, but I don’t see a need to repeat more here.

Reading the statement of facts is a requirement of New Zealand’s judicial process.

It is hard to imagine how anyone could be so callous and cowardly, killing and injuring so many innocent people going about their normal lives, but Tarrant was.

Christchurch mosque murderer pleads guilty to all charges

This is a surprise, but a good one – Christchurch mosque attacks: Gunman pleads guilty to all charges

At the High Court in Christchurch, Brenton Tarrant admitted 51 of murder, 40 of attempted murder and one under the Terrorism Suppression Act.

Until today he had denied all of the charges and was scheduled to stand trial in June. The guilty plea means he has become New Zealand’s first convicted terrorist.

The 29 year old showed no emotion as he appeared via audio visual link in the High Court at around 10am.

No explanation for Tarrant’s change of heart was given during today’s hearing. He has been remanded in custody until May.

No sentencing date has been set as the courts continue to grapple with widespread disruption from the Covid-19 outbreak.

Any possible ambitions of using the trial for grandstanding seems to have dissipated.

This is great news for the victims’ families who now don’t have to have the horror brought up time and time again in court.

From the Judge’s minute on today’s hearing that explains some of the proceeding:

[1] Earlier this week the Court received an indication from the defendant’s counsel that he may seek to change his plea to the charges. Yesterday, counsel received formal written instructions to that effect. A formal request was then made by the defendant that he be brought before the Court, in accordance with s 42(1) of the Criminal Procedure Act 2011, to change his plea.

[2] As a result of that request the charges have been put to him this morning. He has pleaded guilty to 51 charges of murder, 40 charges of attempted murder and the charge of committing a terrorist act. He has been convicted of each and every one of
those charges. There is now no need for a trial and the six week hearing set down for June can be vacated.

[12] Despite the defendant having provided his counsel with written instructions of his intention to change his plea to guilty and he having now done so, there was of course no guarantee that when the charges were read to him this morning he would in fact do so. It was therefore necessary to suppress the fact that the matter was being called and the purpose of the hearing.

[13] Section 43 of the Criminal Procedure Act provides that where a defendant indicates an intention to plead guilty but does not go ahead and plead guilty, the defendant must be treated in all respects as if he or she had not indicated any intention
to plead guilty, and no comment may be made in any subsequent proceedings of that fact. The fact that a defendant has indicated an intention to plead guilty is not admissible in evidence against a defendant. It follows that any prior publication or
disclosure to the public of the defendant’s intention to plead guilty had the potential to prejudice his trial and taint the jury pool with information that should not be within their knowledge.

[14] For that reason no prior notice was able to be provided to the victims and their families of the defendant’s intention to plead guilty, nor of the convening of this morning’s hearing. Because of that requirement and the circumstances that prevent
them being here today, were I to permit members of the media to immediately report on the content and outcome of this morning’s hearing, it is likely that the first those persons – victims and their families – would hear of this significant development, in which they have so much invested, would be through the media, in the same way as the general public. That would be an undesirable state of affairs and is directly linked with having to proceed in their absence.

[15] To try and avoid that situation or, at least, to some degree mitigate the impact on the victims and their families’ of the lost opportunity to immediately learn of the defendant’s change of plea first-hand by attending Court, I intend to embargo publication of any report about this morning’s hearing for one hour – that is until 11.30 am this morning. The police and Victim Support Advisors have made arrangements in anticipation of the defendant pleading guilty to notify victims and their families as soon as possible. I would ask for your forbearance in permitting them the opportunity to carry out that task. There will be an interim suppression order suppressing publication of the fact of this morning’s hearing and the content and outcome of the
hearing, including of course the fact that the defendant has changed his pleas until 11.30 am.

Click to access R-v-Tarrant-20200326.pdf

Media agreement on coverage of Tarrant trial

David posted this comment:

https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2019/05/01/self-censorship-media-new-zealand-white-supremacist-2019-226766

Kiwiblog also covers this. Its an outrage that the press has self censored itself as a collective with the government complicit.

“The Kiwi editors don’t appear to trust their readers and viewers to handle the difficult and disturbing material that’s sure to billow out of the Tarrant trial. They regard New Zealanders as children who must be sheltered from the heinous and despicable lest they become tainted with its influence.”

Its worth reading the story from an outsiders point and shines a light on the paternalistic overview that our “betters” in the media exhibit. I would like to see full coverage without sensationalizing the bits that irresponsible media usually do, I want the different perspectives of a varied and uncensored free press usually give. And its appalling that the government and the press think that if we hear what this loon says we will see it as a call to arms. Bloody ridiculous.


Here are the “agreed editorial guidelines” – Reporting the Trial of Brenton Tarrant

MEDIA STATEMENT – NZ MEDIA FREEDOM COMMITTEE
REPORTING THE TRIAL OF BRENTON TARRANT
[1 May 2019]

Senior editors of the major accredited news media companies in New Zealand (TVNZ, Stuff, Mediaworks, NZME and RNZ) have committed to a united approach in reporting the trial of Brenton Tarrant following the shootings at two mosques in Christchurch on Friday, 15 March, 2019. The group of editors, representing the New Zealand Media Freedom Committee, has agreed a set of protocols to ensure that the outlets they represent cover the upcoming trial comprehensively and responsibly.

A group statement and a copy of the agreed editorial guidelines is attached for your information.

Requests for further information or comment should be directed to the respective media organisations.

MEDIA STATEMENT – NZ MEDIA FREEDOM COMMITTEE

REPORTING THE TRIAL OF BRENTON TARRANT 

We are the senior editors representing the major accredited news media companies in New Zealand (TVNZ, Stuff, Mediaworks, NZME and RNZ).

As a group and as individual editors we are committed to ensuring the outlets we represent cover the upcoming trial of Brenton Tarrant comprehensively and responsibly.

We have agreed to abide by these guidelines throughout the trial.

BACKGROUND 
Brenton Harrison Tarrant is charged with 50 counts of murder and 39 charges of attempted murder relating to shootings carried out at two mosques in Christchurch on Friday, 15 March, 2019.

Victims of the terror attack include citizens of twelve different countries.

We represent accredited New Zealand media organisations that plan to attend the trial and associated proceedings for the purposes of reportage.

As editors we are mindful of the public interest in the trial, in New Zealand and internationally.

We are also mindful of our role as the “eyes and ears of the public” in the context of court reporting. In this instance, we acknowledge the particular importance of this function, given the many victims’ friends and families outside New Zealand who may otherwise be unable to engage in the trial process.

We are aware that the accused may attempt to use the trial as a platform to amplify white supremacist and/or terrorist views or ideology.

GUIDELINES
We agree that the following Protocol will apply to our outlets’ coverage and reportage of the trial:

(a) We shall, to the extent that is compatible with the principles of open justice, limit any coverage of statements, that actively champion white supremacist or terrorist ideology.
(b) For the avoidance of doubt the commitment set out at (a) shall include the accused’s manifesto document “The Great Replacement”.
(c) We will not broadcast or report on any message, imagery, symbols or signals (including hand signals) made by the accused or his associates promoting or supporting white supremacist ideology.
(d) Where the inclusion of such signals in any images is unavoidable, the relevant parts of the image shall be pixellated.
(e) To the greatest extent possible, the journalists that are selected by each of the outlets to cover the trial will be experienced personnel.
(f) These guidelines may be varied at any time, subject to a variation signed by all parties.
(g) This Protocol shall continue in force indefinitely.

SIGNED:
Miriyana Alexander (NZME and chair of the Media Freedom Committee)
John Gillespie (TVNZ)
Shayne Currie (NZME)
Mark Stevens (Stuff)
Paul Thompson (RNZ)
Hal Crawford (Mediaworks)


This is an unusual approach for what is an extraordinary situation.

Media always make judgements about what court cases they will report on and what they will report. What is different here is agreement between all the major media organisations.

Thins could change if circumstances change – “These guidelines may be varied at any time, subject to a variation signed by all parties.”

Terrorist Tarrant to appear briefly in court today

The person accused of the Christchurch mosque massacres, Brenton Tarrant, will appear briefly in a Christchurch court today via video link from prison (video links are common these days, especially on procedural matters).

Initially Tarrant was charged with just one count of murder. He will now be charged with 50 murders and 39 attempted murders.

NZ Police:  Christchurch terror attacks — further charges laid

National News

Police can now confirm 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 5 April.

Other charges are still under consideration.

As the case is before the court, Police is not in a position to comment further.

It is standard practice for the Police not to comment on cases that are ‘before the court’.

RNZ: Christchurch mosque attacks: Accused to face 50 murder charges, police confirm

He will appear via audio-visual link for what will be a “relatively brief” hearing.

The judge said the accused will not be required to enter a plea and the primary purpose of the hearing was to establish the accused gunman’s legal representation, if any, and other administrative matters.

The accused had earlier told his duty solicitor he did not want further legal representation.

The media will have a right to remain in court for the hearing, but 12 in-court media applications to film, photograph and record sound at the hearing were declined by the judge.

While the media want fodder for stories I think there is little to be gained by recording or filming this proceeding. It is very early in the prosecution process. Showing more face fuzzed images of Tarrant are not necessary for justice to be seen to be done.

Auckland University law professor Bill Hodge said that on a practical level that number of charges just would not work.

“Each one of these is painstaking, each one involves medical experts, cause of death, witnesses and so on. I think the police are trying to avoid any hiccup or any mistake.

“If they just laid one charge and they got it wrong … I think they’ve got them all in reserve.”

It doesn’t take a law professor to assume that the Police will want to get things done as thoroughly as possible.

Time will tell how the Police take this case to trial. They have to make sure they prove things sufficiently for a legal ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ verdict.

Time will also tell how Tarrant deals with his defence. He may have planned some sort of publicity exercise, but by the time this gets to trial he may have different ideas. He will have plenty of time to ponder the predicament he has put himself in.

(The correct term at this stage is ‘alleged’ killer but that seems a bit farcical with what is known).

In his murky online world associations Tarrant did not factor in the Kiwi spirit, the superb job the Prime Minister did, and the way most New Zealand Muslims have reacted to the horrendous act against them.

Hopefully he is dismayed and disillusioned that his grand plan to divide and incite has backfired big time.

Tarrant mad or bad?

Christchurch mass murderer obviously did a very bad, despicable thing. But can his badness be explained by madness?

The only viable starting point for opposing such people is to understand them as neither mad nor bad, but wrong.

In response to Understanding the ideology of the Christchurch killer barrieseargant posted this comment:


“Mad or Bad?

Is Tarrant a psychopath? He may be. The vast majority of ordinary people could not kill in cold blood as he has done.

Tarrant’s manifesto and actions are bad, not mad. Driven, cold and calculating, and fully responsible for his actions, he had been captured by an evil ideology, which made him a hero in his own eyes”

Why is it such people are often framed within a false dichotomy of mad/bad? Its true people have difficulty killing in cold blood, hence the millions of dollars governments spend on taking 18-year-olds, putting them in the army and indoctrinating them to kill people they otherwise wouldn’t say boo to if left to think for themselves.

I doubt the Christchurch terrorist is mad. That would be too easy to dismiss him as “not one of us” if he was just crazy. He could be safely dismissed as the ‘other’, we could locate his decision using some kind of pop-psychology…he was neglected as a child or bullied or didn’t get enough vitamins or his mum was an alcoholic or etc.

I suspect he had a normal childhood, went to the same schools as the rest of us, probably didn’t litter, watched the same TV programmes, and did all the other things the rest of us did. We don’t like the idea, but he is as sane as anyone else.

As for the ‘bad’ part. I don’t find the use of such moralistic categories useful analytically. Sure, his actions may have had repugnant consequences in moral terms but it fails to appreciate the political motivation. Having read his manifesto, it is undoubtedly an eclectic hodge podge of ideas that have been circulating on the far Right for decades, along with personal experiences. Isn’t that how everyone forms the basis of their political views ie reading stuff and experiencing things?

Again, the implicit assumption in a lot of discourse around such people is that if we hugged them enough and they had a better sense of morality, they would choose to repent and become good liberals/social democrats or conservatives like the rest of ‘us’. Few people can handle the idea that the terrorist, in this case, took an internally consistent (once he accepted his initial working premise, which could externally be viewed as faulty) and in that sense ‘rational’ decision as part of a political ideology.

The only viable starting point for opposing such people is to understand them as neither mad nor bad, but wrong. Then the challenge comes in offering a more attractive political alternative. That’s hard work but its the only starting point that has any real hope of working. Locating his actions in personal psychology or moral failure won’t do that.


See Mark Durie’s The Christchurch Killer’s Anti-Humanist Ideology

Understanding the ideology of the Christchurch killer

Understanding the ideology of the Christchurch mosque mass murderer may help prevent a repeat of something so bad happening again, or at least reduce the risks.

Mark Durie gives some good explanations in The Christchurch Killer’s Anti-Humanist Ideology

In the wake of the horrific Christchurch shootings, we need to thoughtfully engage with the ideology which influenced it. Just before the massacre, the self-confessed killer, Brenton Tarrant, distributed what is being called a manifesto, in which he unashamedly describes what he was about to do as a “terrorist attack”, and gives and account of his ideology.

We need to understand this ideology, not to give it a platform, but to learn and to equip ourselves to stand against such hatred.

Is Tarrant an Islamophobe?

Tarrant chose Muslims as a target, but his hatred is directed at all non-white immigrants. It is their “race” he objects to. He has nothing to say about Islam as a religion, making no mention of Muhammad, the Qur’an, or the Sharia.

Although Tarrant nurtures a number of grudges against Muslims, for example for the history of jihad against Europe, he makes clear that his primary reason for targeting mosques is to incite white people to rise up against immigrants in general, not just Muslims. He would drive them all out if he could.

Worshipping Strength

In Tarrant’s fascist vision, the primary good, overriding all else, is the success and dominance of the race-nation. This is a law-of-the-jungle, survival-of-the-fittest view of morality, which considers it entirely legitimate for one tribe to dominate and destroy another to its own advantage.

Tarrant’s solution to his crisis of white demographic decline is to incite conflict so that whites will be compelled to awaken, radicalise and grow strong. This is what his attack in Christchurch was all about.

Anti-Humanitarian

The deeply anti-humanitarian features of Tarrant’s ideology are particularly troubling, not least because Western societies’ movement away from humanitarianism is a discernible long-term trend, and not just among violent extremists.  Reverence for human life is no longer as dominant a characteristic of Western people’s thinking as it used to be.

…one of the reasons he says he hates migrants is that they come, he says, from groups that are “overpopulating” the world, so, he rants, “kill the overpopulation and by doing so save the environment”.

A Chaotic View of Past and Present

Tarrant’s ideology is as chaotically self-contradictory as it is revolting. His theory of history and of nations is all over the place: a complete mess.

Mad or Bad?

Is Tarrant a psychopath?  He may be. The vast majority of ordinary people could not kill in cold blood as he has done.

Tarrant’s manifesto and actions are bad, not mad. Driven, cold and calculating, and fully responsible for his actions, he had been captured by an evil ideology, which made him a hero in his own eyes.

How Tarrant was Radicalised

It is necessary to explore Tarrant’s passion over the “great replacement”.  He describes visiting France, and feeling grief-struck by the ebbing away of the French: “The french people were often in a minority themselves, and the french that were in the streets were often alone, childless or of advanced age. While the immigrants were young, energised and with large families and many children.”

In disgust and despair Tarrant pulled over by a military cemetery, overwhelmed, and wept at the sight of crosses from soldiers who were killed fighting in the two World Wars, stretching out to the horizon. He was weeping over their seemingly vain sacrifice.

By his own account, this was how Tarrant was radicalised. That was it. In front of those crosses he demanded of himself “Why don’t I do something?” Then and there he committed himself to violence in the belief that the radicalisation of other Western young men will be inevitable.

If radicalisation is to be prevented, the crucial thing is to short-circuit the progression from lament and trauma to violence. A sense of loss is and will be unavoidable, but a descent into violence need not be. To prevent this outcome moral leadership is required.

The Threat of Tarrant’s Ideology

The greatest threat is that the option of violence might become increasingly attractive to people who have turned their backs on love-thy-neighbour morality, despising it as weakness, and who also feel deeply challenged and uprooted, both emotionally and morally, by our rapidly changing world, not only by rapid demographic shifts, but also by cultural loss, environmental degradation and all of the other ills Tarrant rails against.

The greater the sense of loss, the more attractive the worship of strength could appear.  What ethical alternatives will be made available to those who are tempted by this path?

The Real Battle We Must Face

Calls to suppress Tarrant’s views from being known and discussed are mistaken. The real struggle we face in the West is over moral worldviews which despise the value of human life.

It was Tarrant’s rejection of the inherent value of each and every human life that opened the door to his raging collectivist hatred.  The challenge for us all is to discern and uproot the seedlings of his deadly ideological trend, and to plant something better in its place.

To do this we must understand and acknowledge such thinking, understand how such a worldview might germinate and grow, and be able to trace the paths of its influence, so that we can intervene and oppose it, lest it spread.

But to achieve all this we must take our heads out of the sand, not put them in it.

To understand more it’s worth reading Durie’s whole post – The Christchurch Killer’s Anti-Humanist Ideology