Christchurch mosque gunman pleads guilty

Publish Date
Thursday, 26 March 2020, 11:49AM
Getty Images

Getty Images

The Christchurch gunman has today made a shock admission that he was the lone gunman who murdered 51 people at two Christchurch mosques on March 15 last year.

The 29-year-old Australian entered the guilty pleas at a special, hastily-arranged High Court hearing in Christchurch this morning.

The gunman, who appeared from prison on a screen via audio-visual link (AVL) wearing a grey prison sweatshirt, pleaded guilty to all 51 murder charges.

He also admitted 40 charges of attempted murder relating to the two attacks at Masjid Al Noor and Linwood Islamic Centre on March 15 last year - and pleaded guilty to one charge of engaging in a terrorist act laid under the Terrorism Suppression Act 2002.

New Zealand's worst-ever act of terrorism was filmed by the shooter and livestreamed on Facebook, leading to gun reforms and a global political summit initiated by New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to eliminate terrorist and violent extremist content online.

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Justice Cameron Mander convicted the man on all charges today and remanded him in custody to a nominal date of May 1 when it's expected that a sentencing date will be set - once coronavirus-imposed court restrictions are eased.

None of the victims knew about today's remarkable, hurriedly-organised hearing.

The city's two imams, Imam Gamal Fouda of Masjid Al Noor and Imam Alabi Lateef from Linwood Islamic Centre, were asked to come to court today to witness proceedings on behalf of their Muslim communities.

But it's understood that even they didn't know what it was going to be about.

Fouda wept while the court registrar took several minutes to read aloud all 51 murder victims named on the Crown charge list, before asking Tarrant if he pleaded guilty or not guilty.

-nzherald.co.nz