Brenton Tarrant, alleged Christchurch shooter, pleads not guilty

Clay Curtis
June 14, 2019

Tarrant, faces one count of engaging in a terrorist act, 51 counts of murder and 40 of attempted murder for the mass shootings he allegedly committed at the Al Noor and Linwood mosques as Muslim worshipers were conducting their Friday prayer. There was reserved seating for 80 in the public gallery.

Outside the courtroom, a man reportedly speaking in support of white supremacy was escorted away by police, according to The Associated Press.

It was important he was there today, he said, but it has left him "feeling nothing".

The courtroom was filled with victims - survivors and family members of the 51 killed during the March 15 attack at two Christchurch mosques - with many more watching from two overflow rooms inside the courthouse via audio visual link.

Brenton Tarrant, the 28-year-old Australian accused of the attacks, was seen smirking as his lawyer entered not guilty pleas to the charges.

The not guilty plea was met with some gasps among the audience, which included survivors and relatives of the victims.

'He's a coward. He was laughing.

'It was very hard for us even just to look at him'.

He faces a total of 92 charges after the country filed two further attempted murder charges, one more murder charge and one terrorism charge.

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Aziz Abdul (pictured) defended the Linwood mosque with an Eftpos machine during the live-streamed shootings.

Mr Boztas said you can be a good, tax-paying New Zealand resident "and then you get idiots, like this that put you down".

'We are strong. He is the loser and we are the winners. "He will lose", told reporters.

Shutters clicked as the gunman's lawyers, Shane Tait and Jonathan Hudson, dragged suitcases of court documents through entrance A1.

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".

The terror charge against Tarrant, laid last month, is the first in New Zealand and legal experts say it could potentially lead to a complex trial. He will appear at the Christchurch High Court through a video link. Military-style semi-automatic and automatic firearms like those used in the March 15 attack are to be banned from April 11.

Major New Zealand news organisations, including RNZ, have agreed to protocols for covering the trial of the person charged for the Christchurch mosque attacks.

Ambulance staff take a man from outside a mosque in central Christchurch, New Zealand, Friday, March 15, 2019.

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