The man accused of the Christchurch mosque attacks gave a slight smile when his not-guilty pleas were entered this morning.
Families of the victims were watching from two overflow rooms inside the courthouse via video link
Many victims were visibly upset, keeping their eyes glued to the alleged gunman - who appeared via video link.
The defendant was constantly looking around, but he couldn't see the public gallery where the families were.
Waikato University Law Professor Al Gillespie told Heather du Plessis-Allan the plea of not guilty means the crown now has to prove the case against him.
Gillespie says it's important the trial is fair and the accused has the right to answer the charges put against him.
"The media shouldn't report anything where the trial goes off topic. To avoid that, prosecutors need to make sure the charges are ones easily proved."
He says murder charges need to prove one's intent to kill someone - but the WHY doesn't really matter.
"While he is in court, he will be looking for a soundbite which will go as viral as the live streaming of the event."
LISTEN TO THE AUDIO ABOVE AS AL GILLESPIE SPEAKS TO HEATHER DU PLESSIS-ALLAN