NZ court told killer spent years preparing for mosque attacks

Prosecutor opens sentencing saying self-confessed white supremacist wanted to instil fear among Muslim community.

    im????While most of Tarrant's victims were at Al Noor mosque, he attacked a second mosque before being detained en route to a third.

    The attacks prompted a global outpouring of grief, as well as a ban on weapons in New Zealand and closer scrutiny of online platforms around the world.

    Families to address court

    Security was tight outside the court, with police dogs pacing the streets and snipers on rooftops, television footage showed.

    High Court judge Cameron Mander said he had received more than 200 victim impact statements, along with submissions from various organisations.

    "I have read them all," said Mander, who added that he would not sentence Tarrant before Thursday morning to allow survivors and family members of victims an opportunity to address the court.

    Many of the people who will give victim impact statements have travelled from overseas for the sentencing, undergoing two weeks of quarantine so they can participate.

    im????Due to coronavirus-related restrictions, hundreds more will have to observe physical distancing as they watch proceedings via live feeds to seven courtrooms in Christchurch. Others have been granted permission to monitor the hearings online, all part of a massive logistical exercise that includes the live translation of proceedings into eight languages to accommodate the diversity of the Muslim community.

    im????Live reporting from the courtroom has been banned, and other restrictions have been put in place on what the media can report.

    im????A murder conviction carries a mandatory sentence of life in prison. The judge can impose a life term without parole, a sentence that has never been used in New Zealand.

    New Zealand's Dark Days

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    New Zealand's Dark Days

    SOURCE: News agencies