Accused Christchurch shooter ordered to undergo psychiatric assessment

Brenton Tarrant is led into the dock in his first appearance for murder following the deadly terror attacks on two Christchurch mosques

Brenton Tarrant is led into the dock in his first appearance for murder following the deadly terror attacks on two Christchurch mosques

Tarrant has reportedly been moved to a high-security prison in Auckland, which is why he'll appear via video link.

Tarrant earlier dismissed lawyer Richard Peters, who was assigned to represent him during his district court appearance.

The next court hearing was scheduled for June 14, and the mental health findings would determine whether he is required to enter a plea then.

The man accused of the Christchurch mosque shootings sent money to a French far-right group and once bought a ticket to Bavaria's "fairytale castle", German police say.

The former NSW resident is being held in New Zealand's only maximum detention prison, in Auckland, where he has no visitors or access to media reports. He listened calmly throughout the hearing, which lasted roughly 20 minutes.

Survivor Tofazzal Alam lay down in the Linwood mosque to avoid being shot during the attack and never saw the gunman up close. "He looks all right", Alam said.

"It is an entirely ordinary step taken in the process and I don't think anything should be read into it", Mander said.

Local media have reported the accused had fired his lawyer and meant to represent himself at trial, raising concerns he could use the legal process to espouse white supremacist views.

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"We just have to sit in the court and listen", Nabi said. "He can still give evidence.that's possible, but if he's represented by lawyers and it goes to trial he won't be asking questions of people".

The hearing was carried out under strict media conditions, including a ban on photography or video recording.

Justice Mander also suppressed the names of those the accused allegedly attempted to kill.

Following the incident, New Zealand has tightened gun laws while the country's Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, has been hailed for her prompt actions and support following the terror acts.

Hodge said New Zealand and Australia were trying to preserve the ancient common-law approach to a fair trial, but that it seemed quaint in an era where people could easily find more information or images on the internet. Sorry for my friends who have been killed.

Nabi said he felt helpless watching.

Tarrant is facing 50 murder and 39 attempted murder charges over the March 15 attacks on the al Noor mosque and Linwood Islamic Centre, which stunned the normally peaceful New Zealand and shocked the world.

"Everybody has their own problems and they have their own ideas about religions, and that's fine, and we should all have that, we're all different", said one nun, Sister Dorothea.

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