Alleged Christchurch mosque shooter facing 50 murder charges, 39 of attempted murder

Alleged Christchurch mosque shooter facing 50 murder charges, 39 of attempted murder

The Australian man accused of murdering 50 people at two New Zealand mosques has appeared in a court by video link from a maximum security prison in the country's capital, Auckland.

Brenton Tarrant is to stand before Christchurch High Court on Friday, as police revealed that further charges remain under consideration.

Despite labelling the shooting an act of terrorism, authorities had not said whether the former NSW resident would be the first person charged under New Zealand's anti-terror laws before his appearance in the High Court on Friday.

Brenton Tarrant, 28, appeared via a video link from Auckland Prison in for what was a quiet, ordered hearing.

If convicted, Tarrant will be sentenced with life imprisonment without parole, and a confirmation that he is one among the deadliest white-nationalist-inspired mass murderers in recent years.

In the March 15 attacks, 42 people were killed at the Al Noor mosque, seven were killed at the Linwood mosque and one more person died later.

"This is not New Zealand", Ardern said, condemning the attack on March 16.

Police said that more charges might follow over the shootings in Christchurch, which were videoed using a head-mounted camera and shown live on the internet.

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During the scheduled court hearing, media photographs won't be allowed and reporting on the proceedings will be severely restricted under New Zealand law.

"I didn't see any emotion on his face", Tofazzal Alam, who survived the attack on the mosque in Linwood, told reporters afterwards.

Tarrant was not on government watchlist in New Zealand or Australian.

Home Affairs secretary Michael Pezzullo said Tarrant had spent just 45 days in Australia over the past few years.

The largely procedural hearing is expected to confirm whether Tarrant, as reported, intends to represent himself at trial.

Criminal charges, such as murder and attempted murder are easier to pursue, although prosecutors may want the accused tried as a terrorist to make the point that right-wing extremism is just as risky as its Islamic counterpart. The act of terrorism left the entire Muslim community shaken, with the global community and locals showing their solidarity with the affected.

"At this time, he has no access to television, radio or newspapers and no approved visitors", the department said.

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