/Christchurch mosque shootings accused appears in court on murder charge

Christchurch mosque shootings accused appears in court on murder charge

Updated

March 16, 2019 10:38:33

The man charged over the Christchurch mosque shootings has appeared in court and been remanded in custody until April 5.

In a brief appearance on Saturday morning, 28-year-old Australian man Brenton Harrison Tarrant did not apply for bail or for the suppression of his name.

Handcuffed and wearing a prison robe, he was not required to speak, and appeared calm during his three-minute appearance, gazing around a packed courtroom.

As he was being brought into court he made a white power gesture.

Mr Tarrant was charged with one count of murder, although the judge hearing the mention said it was “reasonable to assume” there would be more charges.

Armed police officers were on hand and nearly 50 reporters had packed the courtroom in downtown Christchurch.

The judge barred members of the public from entering the courtroom “for reasons of public safety”.

The attack, labelled terrorism by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, was the worst ever peacetime mass killing in New Zealand and the country has raised its security threat level to high.

Armed police were also deployed at several locations in New Zealand cities, unusual in a country where levels of gun violence are low.

Ms Ardern has flagged changing the country’s gun laws in the wake of the attack.

She said Mr Tarrant had a gun licence which allowed him to legally obtain weapons.

Ms Ardern said he had travelled extensively in the past four years, spending time only sporadically in New Zealand, had no criminal history and was not on any watchlists in New Zealand or Australia.

Two other people remain in custody.

ABC/AP

Topics:

law-crime-and-justice,

terrorism,

courts-and-trials,

new-zealand

First posted

March 16, 2019 09:30:36