Brenton Tarrant who is accused of shooting and murdering 51 Muslim worshipers in the mosque attacks in March was seen smiling on Friday. His lawyers have entered a not guilty plea to multiple charges of murder and terrorism.
Survivors and family members of the deceased were angered when Brenton Tarrant’s Lawyers entered the Not Guilty plea, claim sources.
The accused White Supremacist did not appear personally in court, however, he was brought on via audio-visual link from a maximum-security prison in Auckland for the hearing. Tarrant, a 28-year-old Australian national, has been committed to stand trial next year on 51 counts of murder, 40 of attempted murder and engaging in a terrorist act following the attacks on Christchurch mosques earlier in the year.
As the accused smiled, it enraged survivors, who are still recovering from the worst bloodbath in modern New Zealand history, survivors had packed the court’s public gallery for a glimpse of the accused.
“It just shows he’s an animal,” Mustafa Boztas, who survived with just a wound to the thigh, spoke to reporters outside the court.
“I feel sad that someone can be so inhuman and take the lives of innocent people.” said Abdul Aziz, who had confronted and later chased Tarrant off the premises of the Linwood Mosque, said he wanted to see the face of the accused.
“He was laughing there and he thinks he was so tough, but he was a coward when he faced me and he ran,” he said.
“He was not man enough to stand up that time and (now) he is standing there and laughing.
“Put me for 15 minutes in one cell and then we will see if he can laugh any more.”
Tarrant allegedly opened fire on worshipers in the packed Al Noor mosque during Friday prayers, after which he casually drives across town to continue the blood bath in the suburban Linwood mosque, while live streaming his shootout on social media.
The court heard that Tarrant was fit to stand trial.
“No issue arises regarding the defendant’s fitness to plead, to instruct counsel, and to stand his trial. A fitness hearing is not required,” Judge Cameron Mander said in a statement issued shortly after the hearing.
A trial date has been set for May 4 of next year, and it is expected that proceedings will last at least six weeks.
Mander said, that the court endeavors to bring “serious criminal cases” to trial within a year of arrest. “The scale and complexity of this case makes this challenging”, he continued.
Didor Hussain was not happy with the delay in the case, he lost a few close friends and an uncle in the shooting. “It should be finished in six months, we are not happy,” he said.
Tarrant was sent on physical remand till August 15 for a case review.
Judge Mander has barred news outlets from taking photographs or making videos of the accused Tarrant’s appearance, although earlier images taken on other occasions could be used.
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