The suspect in New Zealand mosque shooting pleads not guilty to all charges

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The suspect from Australia accused of  killing 50 people three months ago at two mosques in the southern New Zealand city of Christchurch pleaded not guilty on Friday to all the 92 charges filed against him.

Janna Ezat, wearing a T-shirt in memorial of her son who was killed at Al Noor mosque on March 15, reacts outside the Christchurch High Court after accused gunman Brenton Tarrant pleaded not guilty to all charges, New Zealand (Reuters)

On March 15, a lone gunman armed with semi-automatic weapons attacked Muslims worshiping in Christchurch on New Zealand’s South Island killing 50 people in what has become New Zealand’s worst peacetime mass shooting. The shooting was broadcast live on Facebook by the gunman.

The suspect, 29-year-old Brenton Tarrant, from Australia appeared in Christchurch High Court via video link from a maximum security facility in Auckland. He sat silently as his attorney,  Shane Tait pleaded “not guilty to all charges” on his behalf.

The white supremacist was charged with 51 counts of murder, 40 counts of attempted murder and engaging in a “terrorist” act over the March 15 shooting at two mosques in New Zealand.

Tarrant will face trial on May 4 next year in what happens to be the first terrorism charge brought in New Zealand.

High Court Justice Cameron Mander said;

“The court endeavours to bring serious criminal cases to trial within a year of arrest. The scale and complexity of this case makes this challenging,” Mander said.

Brenton Tarrant was remanded in custody until August 16 when a case review hearing is scheduled.


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