Christchurch terror attack: Alleged gunman pleads not guilty to all charges

The accused Christchurch mosque gunman has pleaded not guilty to all charges after making his third appearance in court.

Brenton Harrison Tarrant, 28, appeared in the Christchurch High Court via video link from prison on Friday.

He faces 51 charges of murder, 40 of attempted murder and one charge under the Terrorism Suppression Act, following the March massacre at two mosques in Christchurch.

There were gasps from the gallery when he entered his not guilty pleas.

Christchurch terror attack: Alleged gunman pleads not guilty to all charges

The court heard Tarrant has received mental health assessments, and no issues arose regarding his fitness to plea, to instruct counsel or to stand trial.

His trial is expected to commence on May 4 next year.

It's been 13 weeks since the Christchurch terror attack, where it's alleged Tarrant opened fire at Christchurch's Al Noor and Linwood mosques.

Fifty-first vicitm named

Suppression of the 51st murder charge lifted following Friday's appearance.

Zekeriya Tuyan has been named as the 51st victim. He died in hospital on May 2.

An interim order to suppress the names of the injured has now ended, with the exception of those aged under-18.

In this courtroom drawing, Brenton Tarrant, the man accused of killing 51 people at two Christchurch mosques on March 15, 2019 appears via video link at the Christchurch District Court, from the maximum security prison in Auckland where he's being held, Christchurch, New Zealand, Friday, June 14, 2019. Tarrant pleaded not guilty to all the charges filed against him.
In this courtroom drawing, Brenton Tarrant, the man accused of killing 51 people at two Christchurch mosques on March 15, 2019 appears via video link at the Christchurch District Court, from the maximum security prison in Auckland where he's being held, Christchurch, New Zealand, Friday, June 14, 2019. Tarrant pleaded not guilty to all the charges filed against him. Photo credit: AP / Stephanie McEwin

'It's going to be hurtful'

Families and vicitms started arriving at the court before 8am, with the hearing commencing about 9:15am. About 140 were in attendance, as well as 28 media personnel.

Yama Nabi's father was one of those killed in the shootings.

He told Newshub outside the court the prospect of a trial would be tough, adding "it's going to be hurtful".

"I knew he would play the game; drag it along and play with families lives," he said following the hearing.

Newshub.

 

 

Contact Newshub with your story tips:
news@newshub.co.nz