Updated:03/26/2020 12: 56h
The Australian Brenton Tarrant pleaded guilty Thursday to the supremacist attack March 2019 against two mosques in New Zealand, which left 51 dead, and is expected to be sentenced to life in prison once the quarantine imposed in the country by Covid-19 passes.
Tarrant, who pleaded not guilty to the 92 charges against him in June last year, appeared by videoconference at a hearing before the New Zealand High Court, which She was summoned last night by surprise without knowing why the 29-year-old defendant changed his mind.
“Guilty,” Tarrant replied three times impassively, before the 51 counts of murder, 40 counts of attempted murder and one count of terrorism, according to partial images of the view broadcast by the media in which the judge and lawyers appeared in different rooms due to the national quarantine imposed this week.
The sentence will be known after the Covid-19 crisis
Judge Cameron Mander indicated in a court document released after the hearing that the guilty plea “represents a very decisive step to end this criminal process, ”especially since the pandemic will cause massive delays in the holding of trials in the country.
“There is no intention to sentence the defendant before the Court resumes its judicial operations to do so at a time when victims and family members can attend in person ”, emphasized the magistrate.
The court has been marked until May 1 to announce what day will make the sentence publicAlthough the announcement may be delayed even further depending on the situation due to the new coronavirus.
Tarrant will remain in a high security prison in Auckland City until he knows his sentence, which is expected to serve a life sentence.
Tarrant’s guilty plea at today’s hearing, which was attended by less than twenty people, carries a conviction, as well as cancellation of the six-week process that was planned for early June.
For her part, the Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, expressed upon learning of Tarrant’s guilty plea that while “nothing will return their loved ones, this is a little relief».
Point blank massacre broadcast by networks
Tarrant is the first person accused of terrorism since New Zealand implemented the Terrorism Suppression Act following the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States.
The accused broadcast on social networks part of the assault on March 15 from last year in which he shot at close range against Muslims, including children who were in mosques for Friday prayers.
In the Al Noor mosque killed 42 people in less than six minutes and at the Linwood Islamic Center, where he arrived ten minutes later, he killed seven others by shooting from outside.
At Linwood, a parishioner named Abdul Aziz managed to stop the attack Throwing a bank card reader at Tarrant and he even threw one of the attacker’s weapons at his car windshield.
Tarrant fled in his car and was arrested shortly thereafter by the police, ending a half-hour attack.
Others two victims died within 48 days after from wound attacks.
Tarrant, who also published his supremacist ideology on social networks, took the authorities by surprise since he had no background and obtained the arms license in November 2017 after complying with legal requirements.
Since the attack in Christchurch, the New Zealand Government took several measures as a reform to the possession of semi-automatic weapons and pushed regulations on social networks worldwide to prevent the spread of hate messages, while creating a special commission to investigate the facts.