Judge Mander said that courts usually endeavoured to bring cases to trial within a year of the event, but that "the scale and complexity of this case makes this challenging" Tarrant has been remanded in custody until Aug. 16 when a case review hearing is scheduled.
Tarrant faces total of 92 charges after New Zealand filed two additional attempted murder charges, one murder charge and one terrorism charge. This is the first time a terrorism charge has been brought in New Zealand. Tarrant stood facing the camera from a high security facility in Auckland, mostly with an impassive expression but smirking at times including as his lawyer entered a not guilty plea on his behalf.
Around 80 members of Christchurch's Muslim community sat in the back of the court, solemn and quiet throughout the appearance. There were some quiet gasps when the not guilty plea was entered by the Tarrant's lawyer. At the last hearing on April 5, the court had ordered Tarrant to undergo mental assessment first to determine whether he was fit to stand trial.
The Judge said on Friday that there were no issues arising from mental health assessments and defendant is fit to stand trial. (Reporting by Charlotte Greenfield; Writing by Praveen Menon; editing by Grant McCool and Sandra Maler)
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