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.

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.