Accused mosque shooter set for next court appearance

NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Thursday, 13 June 2019, 2:49PM
The alleged Christchurch mosque gunman is set to appear in court on Friday. Photo / New Zealand Herald
The alleged Christchurch mosque gunman is set to appear in court on Friday. Photo / New Zealand Herald

The man accused over the Christchurch mosque shootings will make another court appearance tomorrow.

He will appear in the Christchurch High Court via a video link and is expected to enter pleas at a hearing beginning at 9.15am.

The court is also likely to hear the results of psychiatric reports around his fitness to enter a plea.

The Herald reported earlier this month that the Crown was likely to formalise the laying of another murder charge, two additional attempted murder charges, and a charge under the Terrorism Suppression Act 2002.

That will mean the accused gunman will face a total of 51 murder charges and 41 alleged murder charges - along with the terrorism charge.

He is being represented by his Auckland-based defence lawyers Shane Tait and Jonathan Hudson.

Applications from media to film or take photography for the hearing have previously been declined.

Several family members of those shot in the March 15 tragedy, and some survivors, are expected to be present in court for the hearing.

At the defendant's second court hearing in the High Court at Christchurch on April 5, mental health reports were ordered to explore whether he is mentally fit to enter pleas to the charges.

His defence team asked for mental health experts to assess the accused under section 38 of the Mental Health Act.

Justice Cameron Mander ordered two health assessors' reports and stressed that the move was "normal procedure" and an "entirely ordinary and regular step" to be taken at this stage of the judicial process.

Nothing should be read into the ordering of the reports, he added.

Around 50 family members and survivors of the Al Noor Masjid and Linwood Islamic Centre came to court last time to witness proceedings.

Fifty-one people died after the dual attacks on the Christchurch mosques.

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