Wednesday 17 July 2019

New Zealand attacks: Man charged with murder appears in court after 49 people killed in mass shootings at mosques

Brenton Tarrant (top left) is the alleged shooter behind attacks on mosques in Christchurch, condemned as terrorism by NZ Prime Minister Jacinta Ardem (bottom left)
Brenton Tarrant (top left) is the alleged shooter behind attacks on mosques in Christchurch, condemned as terrorism by NZ Prime Minister Jacinta Ardem (bottom left)
Brenton Tarrant, charged for murder, making a sign to the camera during his appearance in the Christchurch District Court, New Zealand Photo: Mark Mitchell/New Zealand Herald/Pool via REUTERS
Brenton Tarrant pictured in 2018
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern speaks to the media after at least 49 people are confirmed dead and more than 40 people injured following attacks on two mosques in Christchurch (Photo by Mark Tantrum/Getty Images)
Aftermath: Armed police patrol outside a mosque in central Christchurch, New Zealand. Photo: Mark Baker/AP
A man talks on his mobile phone across the road from a mosque in central Christchurch, New Zealand. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)
Trauma: People outside a mosque in central Christchurch, New Zealand, yesterday as they await news on the mass shootings in the city that killed 49 people. Photo: Mark Baker/AP
Police officers guard the area close to the Masjid al Noor mosque. Photo: TESSA BURROWS/AFP/Getty Images
Police stand at a roadblock (Mark Baker/PA)
Kathy Armstrong

Kathy Armstrong

A man charged with murder in relation to attacks on New Zealand mosques has appeared before a court in Christchurch.

The appearance comes after 49 people were killed and more than 40 others were injured in attacks on the mosques on Friday.

Brenton Tarrant, 28, appeared before Christchurch District Court and if convicted faces life imprisonment.

The court was closed to the public during Harrison Tarrant's appearance due to a heightened security risk.

A New Zealand police spokesperson said: "The 28-year-old man charged with murder in relation to this attack has appeared in Christchurch District Court this morning.

"While the man is currently facing only one charge, further charges will be laid. Details of those charges will be communicated at the earliest possible opportunity."

No application for bail was made and Tarrant is due to appear in court again on April 5.

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Brenton Tarrant, charged for murder, making a sign to the camera during his appearance in the Christchurch District Court, New Zealand Photo: Mark Mitchell/New Zealand Herald/Pool via REUTERS

As New Zealanders come to terms with the historic attack, they have been asked to remain vigilant.

The police spokesperson said: "Work is continuing today to build a complete picture of the tragic events in Christchurch yesterday.

"New Zealand has never seen an event like this before and NZ Police is dedicating all available resources to our response, not only in Christchurch but right across the country.

"45 additional officers were deployed to Christchurch from other districts yesterday, and a further 80 are travelling to the District this morning.

"A number of staff from our Māori and Ethnic Services unit have also travelled to Christchurch, to liaise with and support members of the Muslim community there.

"A complex investigation is under way into this terrible attack, and Police have a number of a priorities today in terms of investigation and intelligence gathering.

"However another absolute focus for us is to ensure that the victims of this attack, including family members and loved ones of those killed and injured, have the best possible structures in place to provide support and welfare.

"This attack has been an enormous shock for all New Zealanders, and I am aware that there is a real sense of fear and concern for personal safety, particularly among our Muslim communities.

"I want to reassure all New Zealanders that we are doing absolutely everything in our power to respond to this attack, and deploying all available resources in communities across New Zealand.

"There is a heightened police presence around the country, including at mosques and community events. We do need members of the public to remain vigilant however, and to report anything suspicious to us by calling 111 immediately."

New Zealand's police commissioner is due to hold a press conference alongside the Canterbury District Commander and other local emergency service leaders shortly.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has vowed that the country's gun laws will change following the attacks.

"While work is being done into the chain of events into both the holding of this gun licence and the possession of these weapons, I can tell you one things right now, our gun laws will change.

"There have been attempts to change our laws in 2005, 2012 and after an inquiry, in 2017.

"Now is the time for change," she told a press conference.

  • More to follow...

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