This March 19, 2019 photo, shows the apartment, left, in Dunedin, New Zealand, that belongs to the Australian man, 28-year-old Brenton Tarrant who is charged with murder for the March 15 attacks. New Zealanders are debating the limits of free speech after their chief censor banned a 74-page manifesto written by a man accused of massacring 50 people at two mosques. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)

Man accused in New Zealand mosque killings pleads not guilty

The 28-year-old Australian appeared via video link from a small room

The man accused of killing 51 people at two Christchurch mosques pleaded not guilty on Friday to all the charges filed against him.

Brenton Tarrant smirked as his lawyer, Shane Tait, entered the not guilty pleas, but otherwise showed little emotion during the hearing at the Christchurch High Court.

READ MORE: New Zealander pleads guilty to sharing mosque shooting video

The 28-year-old Australian appeared via video link from a small room at the maximum security prison in Auckland where he’s being held.

The courtroom was filled with 80 survivors and family members, while about another 60 watched the proceedings on video in an overflow room.

Four cultural advisers and other staff were assigned to help the victims and family members understand what was going on in court and the next steps in the case.

A man who addressed the survivors said they had been praying during the holy month of Ramadan and that the Muslim community would help and support each other during the coming weeks and months.

Tarrant has been charged with 51 counts of murder, 40 counts of attempted murder and one terrorism charge in relation to the March 15 massacre.

Wearing a gray sweat shirt, Tarrant was shown being brought into the room by three prison officers. His link had been muted, and he didn’t attempt to speak. When Judge Cameron Mander asked if he could hear and see what was going on in the courtroom, Tarrant nodded.

Mander said that two mental-health assessments of Tarrant had been completed, and there were no issues in relation to the accused’s ability to enter pleas and stand trial. Such mental-health assessments are standard procedure in murder cases.

The judge scheduled a six-week trial to begin May 4. Tarrant will remain in custody ahead of his next hearing on Aug. 15.

In the March 15 attacks, 42 worshippers were killed at the Al Noor mosque and seven were killed at the Linwood mosque during Friday prayers. Two more people died later at the Christchurch Hospital.

The shooter livestreamed much of the attack on Facebook.

New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has vowed never to say the accused man’s name. Last month she helped lead a global pledge named the “Christchurch Call,” aimed at boosting efforts to keep internet platforms from being used to spread hate, organize extremist groups and broadcast attacks.

Nick Perry, The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Police find shoes, backpack of the man found dead in Saanich

Officers credit public’s help, continue to seek information

Head of Greater Victoria builders says Saanich’s new climate goals require meaningful action

VRBA’s Casey Edge says Saanich must launch a retrofit program for local building stock.

Saanich resident leads crusade against cigarettes in B.C. drugstores

Province allows drugstores to sell cigarettes and some feel policy should change, retailers disagree

Saanich councillor fears weed could crowd out food as greenhouses convert

Head of provincial association representing greenhouse vegetable farmers not worried about issue

PHOTOS: Check out the bells and whistles added to Westhills Stadium

Rick Stiebel/News Staff Clusters of tradespeople buzzing around busy with last-minute preparations… Continue reading

VIDEO: Come along for the ride on Tour de Victoria

Reporter captures video footage of his Tour de Victoria ride

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of Aug. 23

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Should there be a ban on gas-powered leaf blowers?

We’ve all heard them, and most likely cursed them under our breath.… Continue reading

Five hedgehogs quickly adopted after being left at BC SPCA

Lucky new owners picked up their pets from Maple Ridge branch on Aug. 20

B.C. cricket players get interrupted by racist remark

Community has had protocols in place for years to respond to prejudice

Groovy B.C. wedding a throwback to Woodstock ‘69

Couple hosts themed wedding 50 years after legendary festival

Nearly 50% of Canadians experience the ‘post-vacation blues’: poll

48 per cent of travellers are already stressed about ‘normal life’ while still on their trip

Vancouver Island senior found safe with help from six search and rescue teams

Wayne Strilesky found safe in thick brush in north Nanaimo

Most Read