Christchurch attacks accused Brenton Tarrant facing new charges

Christchurch attacks accused Brenton Tarrant facing new charges

Brenton Tarrant, 28, will face an unprecedented count of engaging in a terrorist act when he returns to court on June 14, police announced on Tuesday afternoon.

Mourners arrive for a burial service of a victim from the March 15 mosque shootings at the Memorial Park Cemetery in Christchurch, New Zealand, Thursday, March 21, 2019.

More charges have been laid against the Australian man accused of the Christchurch terrorist attacks.

Tarrant was arrested on March 15 for his involvement in the shooting deaths of 51 people at two mosques in Christchurch.

"The charge will allege that a terrorist act was carried out in Christchurch", Commissioner of Police Mike Bush said in a statement.

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Legal experts said any conviction for engaging in terrorism would not make much practical difference, given murder charges attract a higher maximum penalty, but were likely added to reflect the traumatic impact on those beyond the named victims.

Tarrant, a 28-year-old Australian, is now in a high-security prison undergoing tests to determine if he is mentally fit to stand trial for the worst massacre in modern New Zealand history.

He live-streamed himself as he opened fire in the packed Al Noor mosque during Friday prayers and then travelled across town to continue the carnage in the suburban Linwood mosque.

The police met the victims' families and survivors to inform them of the new charges and update them on the ongoing investigation and court process to come, Bush said.

"It will cement in people's minds that terrorism has no race or religion", he told Reuters in a Whatsapp message.

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