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New Zealand Massacre Suspect Pleads Not Guilty to Terrorism, Murder Charges

New Zealand Massacre Suspect Pleads Not Guilty to Terrorism, Murder Charges

Brenton Tarrant, the accused Australian gunman in the mosque shootings in Christchurch, New Zealand three months ago, pleaded not guilty to 92 charges stemming from the massacre and will stand trial in May next year.

On March 15, Tarrant, a 28-year-old suspected white supremacist from Australia, stormed into two mosques during congregational prayers and indiscriminately opened fire on the assembled, as per the police.

Previously charged with 50 counts of murder and 39 of attempted murder, Tarrant faced an amended charge of murder Friday following the death of Turkish national Zekeriya Tuyan, 46, on May 2, two additional charges of attempted murder and a charge of engaging in a terrorist act under the Terrorism Suppression Act of 2002, developed in the global fallout after the September 11, 2001, attacks.

Wearing a grey sweatshirt, Tarrant smirked as his lawyer entered the pleas but otherwise showed little emotion.

Victims had only recently emerged from court in Christchurch when the man confronted them. Among those who spoke was Farid Ahmed, the husband of Husna Ahmed, one of those who died in the attack in the Al Noor mosque.

A trial has been scheduled to begin on May 4, 2020, and prosecutors estimate it may run six weeks.

Four cultural advisers and other staff were assigned to help the victims and family members understand the proceedings and the next steps in the case. His link had been muted, and he didn't attempt to speak. "A fitness hearing is not required", Judge Cameron Mander said in a statement issued shortly after the hearing.

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Mander said the findings of two mental-health assessments showed Tarrant had no issues related to his ability to enter pleas and stand trial.

The man walked down the street, where he was involved in a second confrontation with another member of the Muslim community, before being led away by the police. Judge Mander said that courts usually endeavoured to bring cases to trial within a year of the event, but that "the scale and complexity of this case makes this challenging" Tarrant has been remanded in custody until August 16 when a case review hearing is scheduled.

Boztas said the man made racist comments and shouted at them.

Today is the first time RNZ has published an unpixelated court photograph of the accused gunman's face.

"He is the loser and we are the victor", he said.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern introduced tough new firearm laws banning semi-automatic weapons after the attack, which also wounded dozens more people. The attacker broadcast the shooting live on Facebook.