Man accused of Christchurch shooting pleads not guilty

Christchurch [New Zealand]: The man accused of shooting people at two New Zealand mosques on Friday pleaded not guilty of 92 charges including 51 counts of murder.

Australian citizen Brenton Tarrant appeared before Christchurch High Court via an audiovisual link, reported CNN.
He has filed a not guilty plea to 51 charges of murder and 40 charges of attempted murder and one charge under the Terrorism Suppression Act, the first time such a charge has been used inside the country.

Tarrant was smiling as he appeared before the bench in Auckland, however, he remained silent throughout his appearance.

Judge Cameron Mander told the court that Tarrant mental assessment has been completed and no issues had arisen in terms of Tarrant’s mental fitness to enter pleas or stand trial.

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The trial date has been set for May 4, next year.

Tarrant last appeared in court in April, when the court ordered he undergoes a mental health assessment.

He was arrested on March 15, within 21 minutes of the first emergency calls being received by police.

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.

The act of terrorism left the entire Muslim community shaken, with the international community and locals showing their solidarity with the affected.


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