Accused Christchurch shooter ordered to undergo psychiatric assessment

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The man accused of killing 50 people in last month's attacks on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zeeland, has been ordered to undergo mental health tests.

In the aftermath of the deadly 15 March 2019 attack on several Christchurch mosques that left 50 people dead the New Zealand government made a decision to change the country's gun laws.

Australian Brenton Harrison Tarrant had been charged with one count of murder after his arrest the day of the March 15 massacre.

The man accused of murdering 50 people in the Christchurch mosque terror attacks appeared in court this morning.

But Mander said the mental assessment was "an entirely normal, regular step to be taken at this stage of the process".

The court remanded Tarrant in custody until his next court appearance on June 14. The horrific attacks which were live streamed on Facebook by the terrorist began at the Al Noor Mosque in the suburb of Riccarton at 1:40 pm and continued at the Linwood Islamic Centre at about 1:55 pm.

He was not required to enter a plea. The judge explained that from his end, Tarrant could see the judge and lawyers but not those in the public gallery.

Christchurch terror accused faces 89 charges
The terror attacks at the al Noor mosque and the Linwood Islamic Centre led to a major overhaul of the gun laws in New Zealand. Tarrant earlier dismissed lawyer Richard Peters, who was assigned to represent him during his district court appearance.

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.

Outside the courtroom, Yama Nabi, whose father died in the attacks, said he felt helpless watching.

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

No-one could stop the suspect from responding directly to the charges he faces, "but if someone wanted to talk about irrelevant matters, the court could say "we're not going to hear this, move on", Peters said. "I don't feel fear", he said.

"It seems he don't care what has been done". He had sacked a court-appointed lawyer after his first appearance in court.

"At the moment, if someone commits a crime against someone who is gay, or due to their religion, that's recorded as an assault or a homicide", said Janet Anderson-Bidois, legal manager for the Human Rights Commission, adding that the organisation has called on the government to record hate crimes for years. Sorry for my friends who have been killed.

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.