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Christchurch attack

Brenton Tarrant pleads not guilty to all charges

The main suspect in the Christchurch attacks in March, has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Brenton Tarrant is charged with the murder of 51 people, 40 counts of attempted murder and one terrorism charge in New Zealand’s deadliest peace time mass shooting.

Appearing via video link from prison, the 28-year-old Australian terrorist sat silently as his lawyer read out his plea.

The 15 March attack saw a gunman open fire on Muslims during Friday prayers.

This is the first time a terrorism charge has been brought in New Zealand.

A number of the survivors of the attack and relatives of the victims were in court for the hearing, the BBC’s Sydney correspondent Hywel Griffith reported.

High Court Justice Cameron Mander said the trial had been set for the 4th of May next year, and that Mr. Tarrant would be remained in custody until a case review hearing on the 16th August.

At his last court appearance in April, he was ordered to undergo mental health assessments to determine whether he was fit to stand trial.

Judge Mander said in a statement on Friday: “No issue arises regarding the defendant’s fitness to plead, to instruct counsel, and to stand his trial. A fitness hearing is not required.”

Last week, a restriction on publishing photos of the suspect’s face was lifted.

The suspect was arrested on 15 March for the massacre incurred at the Al Noor mosque and the Linwood Islamic Centre, both located in Christchurch.

He allegedly drove first to the Al Noor mosque, parked nearby and began firing into the mosque as he walked in through the front entrance.

He allegedly fired on men, women and children inside for about five minutes. The attack was live-streamed from a head-mounted camera.

(BBC)

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