Christchurch mosque attacks: Emotional scenes as coronial inquest closes

The Coroner closed the March 15 inquest today indicating some of the things she is examining, including whether the Linwood mosque attack could and should have been avoided.

There were tears and hugs at the end of the inquest and, in closing on Friday, police acknowledged the distress some decisions caused, admitting some things could have been done better on the day.

It was the end of a long and difficult seven-week inquest which many of the survivors and families have watched every single day. 

"We acknowledge survivors and your pain and daily struggles to deal with your trauma, we acknowledge your pain and memories that continue to plague your lives," counsel for families Fatimah Ali said.

"Their motivation has been to learn and understand what happened to their own family members so they can have closure on that… but also to help future potential victims or people at risk for all of New Zealand," counsel for families Anne Toohey said.

The Coroner reserved her findings.

"No one, including this court, seeks to undermine these positive and courageous aspects of the response," Deputy Chief Coroner Brigitte Windley said.

But she indicated she has much to examine in this, the first comprehensive review of Police and St John after that incomprehensible day.

"We have heard for the first time evidence that police had been advised that Linwood was a target around eight minutes prior to the attack there. I will need to determine whether this presented an opportunity to disrupt the attack that police could and should have acted on," Windley said.

Police acknowledged some things could have been done better.

"In some cases, those caused distress to victims and families," counsel for Police Mark Zarifeh said. "Whatever Police can do to improve, they are committed to doing so."

St John also acknowledged it can change.

"St John affirmed its commitment to continue to learn from this tragedy and continuing to improve its care of those in need," St John lawyer James Wilding said.

From week one, this inquest has viewed the events of that dreadful day frame by frame.

There have been many tough questions and stories of tough decisions that were made on March 15.

Witnesses and experts from across New Zealand and the globe were called to give evidence with an overarching goal: to make New Zealand a safer place.

Families, first responders and thousands of New Zealanders had their lives impacted by the atrocities of that day, but none more than the 51 brutally murdered.