New Zealand mosque suspect to undergo mental health check

New Zealand mosque suspect to undergo mental health check

He ordered him to undergo a mental assessment to determine whether he is fit for trial.

Brenton Tarrant, 28, appeared via video link in Christchurch High Court in front of Justice Cameron Mander, reports CNN.

For tomorrow's court appearance, he is not yet required to enter a plea.

Tarrant is due to return to court on 14 June.

"The principal objective of the call on 5 April will be to ascertain the defendant's position regarding legal representation and to receive information from the Crown regarding certain procedural steps and when it is envisaged those steps will be completed", said Judge Cameron Mander.

Armed police were outside as survivors and relatives of victims of the attack arrived at court.

Omar Nabi, victim's son said "He's not a victim, he is the man doing all of this".

Rehanna Ali, also a member of the federation, said,"We want to reclaim the country we had before March 15 ... the outpouring of compassion, of shared grief ... has gone a great way towards reclaiming who we are, and this legislation will continue on that path".

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The Australian man first appeared in the District Court on March 16, charged only with a single count of murder following the massacre.

The law is being overhauled after Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern promised action in the wake of the mosque shootings.

New Zealand police on Thursday filed 49 counts of murder against Tarrant, bringing the total number of murder charges to 50.

It is the deadliest mass shooting attack New Zealand has ever seen.

Mr Tarrant had already said that he wishes no other legal representation.

Hodge said New Zealand and Australia were trying to preserve the ancient common-law approach to a fair trial, but that it seemed quaint in an era where people could easily find more information or images on the internet.

"It was clear from our discussions last week with social media companies, particularly Facebook, that there was no recognition of the need for them to act urgently to protect their own users ... so the (government) has taken action with this legislation", Attorney General Christian Porter said in a statement.

Although initially indicating he planned to represent himself in court, and dismissing his duty lawyer, two Auckland lawyers, Jonathan Hudson and Shane Tait, have now confirmed they will represent him, in what will be one of the most complex and lengthy court proceedings in New Zealand history.

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