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New Zealand cabinet backs gun law changes after Christchurch attacks

The main suspect in the attack says he will defend himself in court

SAMAA | - Posted: Mar 18, 2019 | Last Updated: 3 years ago
SAMAA |
Posted: Mar 18, 2019 | Last Updated: 3 years ago

The main suspect in the attack says he will defend himself in court

An armed policeman stands guard in front of the Masjid Al Noor Mosque in Christchurch. Photo: AFP

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says the country’s cabinet has backed gun law changes “in principle” after the Christchurch shootings.

Fifty people were killed and dozens wounded in attacks at two mosques in Christchurch on Friday. The attacks sparked calls for gun law reform, with Ardern vowing soon after that “our gun laws will change”.

Australian Brenton Tarrant, 28, has appeared in court and been charged with murder. He has said that he does not want a lawyer and plans to defend himself in court.

The Australian charged with murder in the mass shootings appears “rational”, his court-appointed lawyer told AFP Monday.

Related: Death toll of Pakistanis in Christchurch attacks rises to 9

Tarrant was charged with one count of murder and appeared at Christchurch District Court on Saturday after the rampage during Friday prayers.

Duty lawyer Richard Peters, who represented him during the preliminary court hearing, told AFP the 28-year-old “indicated he does not want a lawyer”. “He wants to be self-represented in this case,” said Peters, who played down suggestions that Tarrant may not be fit for trial.

“The way he presented was rational and someone who was not suffering any mental disability. That’s how he appeared. He seemed to understand what was going on,” Peters said.

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