Accused Christchurch mosque gunman faces new charges

FILE Journalists wait as armed police officers stand guard outside the Christchurch District Court in Christchurch on 5 April 2019 as alleged gunman Brenton Tarrant accused of shooting dead 50 Muslims during the 15 March attack on two mosques

FILE Journalists wait as armed police officers stand guard outside the Christchurch District Court in Christchurch on 5 April 2019 as alleged gunman Brenton Tarrant accused of shooting dead 50 Muslims during the 15 March attack on two mosques

Brenton Tarrant has been charged by New Zealand police with engaging in a "terrorist act", in addition to existing murder charges over the two mosque attacks in Christchurch in March.

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.

"A charge of engaging in a Terrorist Act under section 6A of the Terrorism Suppression Act 2002 has now been filed against Brenton Tarrant", said a statement from New Zealand police.

Fifty people lost their lives in the shootings at two mosques in the city.

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As the case is before the courts no further commentary will be made by police, Crown Law or the Christchurch Crown Solicitors office on the charges, Bush said.

"The terrorism act charge is about recognizing the harm to the community and the harmed individuals who were present but who weren't physically injured or killed", Graeme Edgeler, a barrister and legal commentator.

"Police are committed to providing all the support necessary for what will be a challenging and emotional court process to come for the victim's families and survivors of the attack", Bush said.

Tarrant is next due to appear in court on June 14, after being remanded in custody in April and ordered to undergo psychiatric assessment to determine if he was fit to stand trial.

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