Court Orders Christchurch Shooter to Undergo Mental Health Tests

Mental health assessments ordered for accused shooter

Shane Tait, a member of Tarrant's legal team, said he was concerned the publication of the news that Tarrant's mental health was being assessed could prejudice the trial.

Mr Tarrant appeared in the courtroom - packed with relatives of some of his victims - via video link from prison.

In the aftermath of the deadly 15 March 2019 attack on several Christchurch mosques that left 50 people dead the New Zealand government chose to change the country's gun laws.

Tait on Friday said he was arranging for his client to receive psychiatric assessment and that the process would take "some months", according to court minutes. Tarrant was remanded in custody until his next court appearance on 14 June. Today, that has been significantly upgraded: He will face court tomorrow charged with 50 counts of murder and an additional 39 counts of attempted murder.

While the public gallery could see Tarrant on screen, the position of the camera in court ensured his view from prison was restricted to the judge and lawyers.

Survivor Tofazzal Alam lay down in the Linwood mosque to avoid being shot during the attack and never saw the gunman up close.

Tarrant has turned down his legal counsel and said he wants to defend himself against the charges.

The judge said he had received applications from 25 media organizations to take film, photographs or audio recordings of Friday's hearing but had denied all of them. His case has now been moved to the High Court due to the seriousness of the charges. A court registrar greeted people in Arabic and English as the hearing got underway.

He also ordered the names of the 39 attempted murder victims to be suppressed, saying identifying them could hinder their recovery, and ruled a summary of the prosecution's allegations would not be made public as it contained sensitive information.

Shortly after the tragedy, on 21 March, New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern introduced a ban on military-style semi-automatic firearms and assault rifles.

Thousands of visitors to the reopened Al Noor mosque, where 42 people were killed, have offered condolences and sought to learn more about Islam, said Israfil Hossain, who recites the daily call to prayer there.

"(I) just want to see what he has to say, what sort of feeling he's got, (his) emotion, to see what his reaction is, good or bad", Yama Nabi, whose 71-year-old father was killed, told Radio New Zealand outside the court.

"Everybody has their own problems and they have their own ideas about religions, and that's fine, and we should all have that, we're all different", said one nun, Sister Dorothea.



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