Australian arrested over New Zealand shooting massacre to face 50 murder charges

Alleged Christchurch Shooter Formally Charged With 50 Counts Of Murder

Suspect in Christchurch mosque attack to face 50 murder counts, police say

For many, it was their first glimpse of the man accused over the March 15 gun massacre which targetted two mosques in Christchurch as people gathered for Friday prayers.

Tarrant was initially charged with one murder count as a holding measure when he made his first court appearance a day after the killings.

The charges against Brenton Harrison Tarrant, 28, comes ahead of his second appearance at the High Court in Christchurch on Friday, reports The New Zealand Herald.

No pleas to the charges were entered.

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

"The principal objective of the call on 5 April will be to ascertain the defendants position regarding legal representation and to receive information from the Crown regarding certain procedural steps and when it is envisaged those steps will be completed", said Judge Cameron Mander.

The courtroom was filled with more than two dozen reporters and about 60 members of the public.

Muslims worldwide have praised New Zealand's response to the massacre, with many singling out Ardern's gesture of wearing a headscarf to meet victims' families and urging the country to unite with the call: "We are one".

"I$3 just want to see what he has to say, what sort of feeling he's got [his] emotion, to see what his reaction is, good or bad and the truth will come out of him", Yama Nabi told RNZ before this morning's court hearing.

The Australian man arrested over a terror attack on two mosques in New Zealand will undergo a test to determine if he is mentally fit to stand trial before his case proceeds.

He's now being held at New Zealand's only maximum security prison in Paremoremo, Auckland.

"Other charges are still under consideration", the police said in a statement.

Under this law, New Zealand's longest-serving prisoner, Alfred Thomas Vincent, 81, has been in jail since 1968, for committing indecent assaults on five boys.

Tofazzal Alam, 25, said he was worshipping at the Linwood mosque when the gunman attacked.

"Lawyers always look for precedent, and we haven't seen anything like this before", she said.

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