Man accused of murder in mosque attacks due in court Friday

Australian Brenton Tarrant was previously charged with only one murder following the attack and has been remanded without a plea

New Zealand shooting suspect Brenton Tarrant faces 50 murder charges

The accused in the Christchurch mosque attacks in New Zealand will be charged with 50 murder charges and 39 attempted murder charges when he appears in the court on Friday, Reuters reported, quoting the police.

The 28-year-old, a self-confessed white supremacist, sat still with an impassive face during the preliminary hearing, in contrast to his first court appearance when he smirked at the media and appeared to flash a white nationalist hand signal.

Auckland lawyer Shane Tait said in a statement on his website that he and another Auckland attorney will represent Tarrant.

The judge says the brief hearing will mainly be about Tarrant's legal representation.

He will face the new charges when he appears in front of the Christchurch High Court here on April 5, according to New Zealand police.

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He is not required to enter a plea.

The prosecutors were also considering whether to lay charges against Tarrant under the seldom-used Terrorism Suppression Act, which was introduced after the September 11, 2000 USA terrorist attacks, reports The New Zealand Herald.

Yama Nabi, whose 71-year-old father, Haji Daoud Nabi, was killed at Al Noor Mosque, had come to spare others from having to attend.

Mr Tarrant made no comment during the short hearing.

Tarrant earlier dismissed lawyer Richard Peters, who was assigned to represent him during his district court appearance.

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The judge said he had received applications from 25 media organizations to take film, photographs or audio recordings of Friday's hearing but had denied all of them. "He looks insane and it was very upsetting", he said after the hearing.

Shortly after the tragedy, on 21 March, New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern introduced a ban on military-style semi-automatic firearms and assault rifles.

The Christchurch mosque gunman has now formally been charged with 50 counts of murder and 39 counts of attempted murder.

The public gallery was packed to standing capacity with members of the Muslim community and journalists from New Zealand and around the world.

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"At this time, he has no access to television, radio or newspapers and no approved visitors", the department said.

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