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Tight Restrictions Surround Mosque Shooting Suspect

Brenton Tarrant will make 2nd court appearance Friday
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 4, 2019 12:10 AM CDT
In this March 15, 2019, photo, a police officer patrols at a cordon near a mosque in central Christchurch, New Zealand.   (AP Photo/Mark Baker, File)
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(Newser) – Police say the man accused of the Christchurch mosque attacks will face 50 murder charges and 39 attempted murder charges at his second court appearance on Friday. Australian citizen Brenton Harrison Tarrant was charged with one representative count of murder after his arrest the day of the March 15 massacre, the AP reports. Fifty people were killed in the two mosques and dozens of others were shot and wounded. Tarrant, 28, won't be required to enter a plea on Friday. The judge says the brief hearing will mainly be about Tarrant's legal representation. He has said he wants to represent himself. Tarrant is due to make his appearance via video link, although media photographs and reporting on the proceedings will be limited by New Zealand law.

New Zealand tightly restricts what can be reported about upcoming court cases to avoid tainting the views of potential jurors. Tarrant's first appearance was on the day after the attacks in the Christchurch District Court. His case has now been moved to the High Court in Wellington due to the seriousness of the charges. Tarrant has reportedly been moved to a high-security prison in Auckland, which is why he'll appear via video link. New Zealand's Department of Corrections said in an email they wouldn't answer questions such as where Tarrant was being held due to operational security reasons. "At this time, he has no access to television, radio, or newspapers and no approved visitors," the department said. (Read more New Zealand mosque shootings stories.)

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