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.