Christchurch attacks: NZ suspect ordered to undergo mental health tests


International desk, April 05: The man accused of killing 50 people in last month’s attacks on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, has been ordered to undergo mental health tests.He would be seen by experts to decide if he was fit to stand trial or insane, said high court judge Cameron Mander.

The suspect faces 50 murder charges and 39 attempted murder charges.

Australian Brenton Tarrant, 28, appeared in the courtroom – packed with relatives of some of the victims – via video link from prison.

He was not required to enter a plea.

It is the deadliest mass shooting attack New Zealand has ever seen.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern called it one of New Zealand’s “darkest days”.

She has vowed to ban all types of semi-automatic weapons and assault rifles.

On Friday morning, Judge Mander ordered that two assessments would be carried out to determine the state of the suspect’s mental health.

The suspect listened intently during the short court hearing. He made no comments.

The suspect was able to see the judge and lawyers and hear the proceedings – but the camera was turned away from the public gallery.

The judge remanded him in custody, and his next court appearance is now due on 14 June.

Omar Nabi lost his father in the attack on the Al Noor mosque. Speaking to reporters outside the court he said “we don’t want to kill him. We want him to suffer here”.

“We want him to be punished, you know, a punishment for a crime of killing 50 people and injuring how many.”

Tofazzal Alam who survived the attack on the Linwood mosque also spoke to reporters outside the court.

“I lost 50 friends whom I use to see in the mosque every Friday. And during the shooting, I couldn’t see him. I want to see how he feels after killing 50 people, so that’s why I’m here today.”

Source: News Agencies