Christchurch mosque attack: Gunman to be sentenced after three days of victim impact statements

Warning: This article contains details that may disturb some people.

The Christchurch mosque gunman will be sentenced on Thursday after three days of victim impact statements. 

Brenton Tarrant, New Zealand's worst-ever killer, will learn in his fate at the Christchurch High Court.

In an unexpected turn, the 28-year-old Australian has decided he will not speak in his defence before he is sentenced.

Instead, he has asked his stand-by counsel to say something on his behalf.

People have travelled from across the world to attend the sentencing, with 47 victims and their family members being granted an exemption to enter New Zealand to provide support during the proceedings.

Ninety-one victim impact statements have been read over the past three days - one of the last was from Esam Alzhqhoul.

"We hope the authorities will reveal the network behind you," he told the court. "We don't believe you acted alone."

One victim said Tarrant did not deserve a second chance to walk in society again. He deserved to be held in prison until his last breath, and he deserved no credit for his guilty pleas. 

Hashmatullah Lafraie read a victim impact statement on behalf of the communities, including the Muslim community, minority communities, and faith communities. Faith communities reported reduced numbers of attendees, reduced sense of safety and security, and elevated levels of suspicion and anxiety after the attack. 

It also brought increased pressure including unwelcome attention from the media. Safety fears were expressed by these various communities. 

There had been sympathy and support for minority communities. But also, since the attack, organisations had seen an emboldening of white supremacy online and on social media, he said. 

The reaction also showed there was hope for a New Zealand without racism or hate, said Lafraie.