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New Zealand teen appears in court charged with distributing video of Christchurch mosque shootings

Separately, Brenton Tarrant has dismissed his court-appointed lawyer and will represent himself.

Mourners lay flowers outside the Al Noor mosque in Christchurch
Mourners lay flowers outside the Al Noor mosque in Christchurch
Image: Vincent Thian AP/PA Images

AN 18-YEAR-OLD has appeared in a New Zealand court charged with distributing the livestream video of a deadly mass shooting at Christchurch’s Al Noor mosque.

The teenager, whose name was suppressed by the judge, was also charged with publishing a photograph of the mosque with the message “target acquired”, and for inciting violence.

He faces a maximum of 14 years in prison for each charge, prosecutors said.

A judge did not grant him bail and he is due back in court on 8 April.

The hearing came after 28-year-old Australian Brenton Tarrant allegedly carried out the shootings at Al Moor and Linwood mosques in Christchurch on Friday in which 50 people were killed and dozens more injured.

Investigators had said that the teenager was so far not believed to be directly involved in his attacks.

District Court Judge Stephen O’Driscoll added that details related to the charges were also to be suppressed.

Lawyer

The court-appointed lawyer to Tarrant, meanwhile, has said the alleged attacker plans to represent himself and appears “rational”.

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.

Tougher gun laws

New Zealand’s government agreed measures today “in principle” to tighten gun control laws in the country.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said details of the measures would be rolled out before a cabinet meeting next Monday, saying “the time to act is now”. 

“We have made a decision as a cabinet, we are unified,” she added, flanked by her coalition partner and deputy prime minister, Winston Peters.

Peters, whose New Zealand First party has previously opposed changes, said he backed the prime minister fully.

“The reality is that after 1pm on Friday our world changed forever and so will our laws,” he said.

Ardern has also announced that an inquiry will be launched into how and why the suspected gunman was not picked up by intelligence agencies prior to last Friday’s attacks.

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