Mosque shootings: Families to get information package on how loved ones died

Author
Lincoln Tan, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Wed, 6 Jan 2021, 4:45PM
A police officer helping to attach messages to the fence at Al Noor mosque in Christchurch on the first anniversary of the terror attacks last year. Photo / Mark Mitchell
A police officer helping to attach messages to the fence at Al Noor mosque in Christchurch on the first anniversary of the terror attacks last year. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Mosque shootings: Families to get information package on how loved ones died

Author
Lincoln Tan, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Wed, 6 Jan 2021, 4:45PM

Families of the ChristChurch mosque shootings will receive packages with specific information about how their loved ones died, Chief Coroner Judge Deborah Marshall says.

Marshall said she has written last month to the families of the 51 victims who died in the March 15, 2019, shootings at the Al Noor and Linwood mosques regarding the coronial process.

"The purpose of the letter is to offer access to as much information as possible about the events of 15 March 2019, particularly around the cause and circumstances of how their loved ones died," she said.

"This is the purpose of the Coroners Court – to establish the facts of how someone died and, where possible, to make recommendations for how similar deaths could be prevented in the future."

Marshall said that together with police, she was making available to the families a package of information relating to the event and the cause and circumstances of death.

There will be two sets of information, one with a general level of detail and another with more specific information about how a particular person died.

The package will include a timeline of events as recorded by police, photos of victims as they entered the mosque for prayers that day and a schematic view of where each victim was when they died.

There will also be a report from the forensic pathologist on the nature of the victims' fatal injuries.

"Over the following weeks they will also be able to write to me to request any further details or to set out issues that come within the coronial jurisdiction and which they consider are not resolved by the prosecution process or the Royal Commission of Inquiry report," Marshall said.

She said the Coroners Court and Police Family Liaison Officers will work together to resolve any issues and provide as much information as legally possible.

"If there are any issues that cannot be resolved through this information sharing process, an inquest may follow," Marshall said.

"I will inform families of this decision when the time comes."

A total of 51 worshippers, including children, were killed in what is New Zealand's worst terrorist attack in the country's modern history.

The gunman has been sentenced to life imprisonment without parole, meaning he will never be released from prison and will spend the rest of his life behind bars.