Mass shooter places a legal appeal over terrorist status
White supremacist Brenton Tarrant, the killer of 51 people in the Christchurch mass shooting incident, has set forth a legal challenge for the review of his prison conditions and his current designated status as a “terrorist entity”.
Brenton was sentenced for life in August, without parole, for the shootout of 51 people and attempted murder of 40 others in two mosques (Masjid An-Nur and Linwood mosque) in Christchurch, New Zealand. This worst mass shooting event of the country’s history happened on 15 March 2019.
Tarrant, who is an Australian national, is the sole person in New Zealand to be given the status of a terrorist. He is contesting the restrictions he has been placed under, during his life imprisonment, on grounds of human rights. New Zealand court authorities said that a judicial review is to be held on Thursday at the High Court in Auckland to address the issues that Tarrant wishes to raise.
Initial information given to court officials shows that Tarrant wants the Court to reconsider decisions taken by the Department of Corrections regarding his prison conditions, and his designation, under the Terrorism Suppression Act, as a “terrorist entity”. It has been made clear by the court that the hearing will have no impact on the outcome of the criminal cases against Tarrant, or his sentence or conviction whatsoever.
As per the court records, Tarrant will be allowed to represent himself and lay his case out. Families of the victims and the survivor community were told about the hearing on Wednesday. Though the media has been permitted to attend the hearing, it will not be open to the public. Tarrant is looked after behind bars at the Auckland Prison by members Prisoner of Extreme Risk directorate group.
In August last year, it was told by Nigel Hampton QC that the mosque shooter’s confinement would enhance the risks of isolation to his physical and mental health, including psychosis, depression, suicide, and anxiety.