Christchurch mosque shooter pleads not guilty to all charges 1 month ago

Christchurch mosque shooter pleads not guilty to all charges

The trial is scheduled to take place next year.

Brenton Tarrant, the man accused of carrying out the worst mass shooting in New Zealand's history, has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

51 people were killed during the shooting in Christchurch on 15 March when a gunman opened fire in a coordinated attack.

The attacker filmed himself as he arrived at two mosques, and continued recording as he shot and killed dozens of Muslims during Friday prayers.

Tarrant is charged with 51 counts of murder, 40 counts of attempted murder and one terrorism charge, the first such charge that has been brought in New Zealand to date.

Appearing in court via video link from prison, 28-year-old Tarrant sat silently as his lawyer read aloud his not guilty pleas.

BBC News notes that relatives of victims were present in court for the hearing, a number of whom gasped when Tarrant's pleas were voiced.

Tarrant's trial is currently scheduled to commence on 4 May, 2020.

He will be remanded in isolated custody until a case review hearing takes place on 16 August.

Following an assessment to see if Tarrant was mentally fit to stand trial, Judge Mander stated:

"No issue arises regarding the defendant's fitness to plead, to instruct counsel, and to stand his trial.

"A fitness hearing is not required."