Christ Church, NZ massacre suspect to face 89 charges

Mourners pay their respects at a makeshift memorial near the Masjid Al Noor mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand, Saturday, March 16, 2019.

WELLINGTON (TIP): The man accused of carrying out the Christchurch mosque attacks will face 50 murder charges and 39 attempted murder charges when he makes his second court appearance, the New Zealand police said on Thursday, April 4.

The police had earlier filed a single, representative murder charge against 28-year-old Australian Brenton Harrison Tarrant. He is due to appear via video link during a brief hearing on Friday, April 5, and won’t be required to enter a plea.

Fifty persons died in the March 15 attacks on two mosques and another 50 were injured.

The police said in a brief statement that they were considering filing more charges against Tarrant but couldn’t comment further as the case was before the court.

Tarrant’s first appearance was on the day after the attacks in the Christchurch District Court. His case has now been moved to the High Court due to the seriousness of the charges. Tarrant has reportedly been moved to a high-security prison in Auckland, which is why he’ll appear via video link.

During the scheduled court hearing, media photographs won’t be allowed and reporting on the proceedings will be severely restricted under New Zealand law. The intent of the law is to avoid the possibility the reporting and images would taint the views of potential jurors before they hear evidence in court.

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