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19 March, 2019 00:00 00 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 19 March, 2019 02:10:06 AM

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Mosque attacker Tarrant faces ‘unprecedented’ sentence

AFP, Christchurch

The suspected mosque gunman Brenton Tarrant faces an "unprecedented" sentence that bars him from ever applying for release, but could yet dodge terror charges, legal experts told AFP yesterday. The 28-year-old Australian has been charged with one initial count of murder over the mass shootings that killed 50 people in the southern city of Christchurch and faces life in prison.

In New Zealand, being found guilty of murder usually comes with a minimum of 10 years in jail before possible parole. But legal experts said Tarrant's alleged crimes were so extreme they could warrant the heaviest sentence imposed by a judge in the South Pacific nation since the abolition of the death penalty in 1961. "He may be sentenced to imprisonment without parole. There is a very significant possibility,” criminal lawyer Simon Cullen told AFP, adding that such a sentence would be “unprecedented”.

“This would seem to be... the type of situation that may well attract consideration of that type of sentence.” Peters, whose New Zealand First party has previously opposed changes, said he backed the prime minister fully. “The reality is that after one pm on Friday our world changed forever, and so will our laws,” he said.

Ardern, the youthful premier who has become the face of the nation’s tragedy, said there would be an inquiry into the horrifying attack, as questions swirl over whether intelligence agencies should have spotted warning signs. The role of social media has also come under the spotlight, after the gunman livestreamed his rampage on Facebook.

A teenager, whose name cannot be published, appeared in court Monday charged with distributing that footage. New Zealand will tighten gun laws in the wake of its worst modern-day massacre, the government said yesterday, as it emerged that the white supremacist accused of carrying out the killings at two mosques will represent himself in court.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said her coalition was unified on the need to reduce the availability of the kind of weapons used by Brenton Tarrant as he went room to room shooting Muslims gathered for Friday prayers.

“We have made a decision as a cabinet, we are unified,” she said, flanked by her coalition partner and deputy prime minister, Winston Peters. The Australian charged with murder in the mass shootings at two New Zealand mosques plans to represent himself and appears “rational”, his court-appointed lawyer said.

Duty lawyer Richard Peters, who represented him during the preliminary court hearing, told AFP the 28-year-old “indicated he does not want a lawyer”. “He wants to be self-represented in this case,” said Peters, who played down suggestions that Tarrant may not be fit for trial.

“The way he presented was rational and someone who was not suffering any mental disability. That’s how he appeared. He seemed to understand what was going on,” Peters said.

 

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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