Heather du Plessis-Allan: Christchurch gunman failed in what he wanted to do

Author
Heather du Plessis-Allan,
Publish Date
Thu, 27 Aug 2020, 5:06PM
Flowers outside Al Noor Mosque after the shootings last year. (Photo / File)

Heather du Plessis-Allan: Christchurch gunman failed in what he wanted to do

Author
Heather du Plessis-Allan,
Publish Date
Thu, 27 Aug 2020, 5:06PM

The Christchurch shooter has got what he deserved. He’s been sentenced with the harshest possible sentence under our law, which is life in prison with no chance of parole 

No one has been sentenced to this before in this country and this obviously underscores just awful Brenton Tarrant’s crime was on March 15 last year. 

The judge, in his sentencing today, read out a summary of 200 victim impact statements:  The injuries of victims still living, the loss of people killed on that day, the loss of children on that day, the impact on households of losing their providers. 

That list was so long that the judge only dedicated a few sentences to each victim’s story, and still, it took more than an hour to read out. 

I watched the TV news immediately after the sentencing where a reporter who’d been in court came out to tell us what had happened, and you could hear his voice crack with the emotion of having been in that court room.  

You know, reading the judge’s comments, something stood out to me, which was the part when he told Tarrant how he failed at what he wanted to do which was to incite terrorism and racism in this country.

In the words of the judge, “Your design was to divide but the public’s response was to stand with the people of the community, with their fellow New Zealanders.” 

You know, he failed because this country didn’t let him succeed.  In the days afterwards, in the months afterwards, we haven’t wavered.  There has been no truck for this kind of hatred and racism. 

And I think we should be proud that that was the way we reacted as a country when one man targeted a group of us  

And this sentence just reinforces exactly how New Zealand feels about what happened that day:  The harshest punishment anyone in this country could possibly have, for the crime we consider the most despicable ever committed here.