NZ mosque attack suspect faces 50 murder charges

CHRISTCHURCH • An Australian accused of attacking two mosques in Christchurch last month will face 50 murder charges in court today, New Zealand police said.

Brenton Tarrant was previously charged with one murder as a holding measure, but police said yesterday that all deaths and injuries in the March 15 attacks will be reflected in upgraded charges during his next court appearance.

"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," police said in a statement.

Tarrant, 28, will appear in court via video link from a maximum security prison in Auckland.

A note from the court this week said Tarrant's appearance, which is likely to be brief, will determine his position on legal representation and other procedural matters.

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

The court said Tarrant is not required to enter a plea during his hearing. It has barred media from filming or photographing him.

Police said further charges were being considered against Tarrant - a self-avowed white supremacist - but did not specify them.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 05, 2019, with the headline 'NZ mosque attack suspect faces 50 murder charges'. Print Edition | Subscribe