New Zealand court sentences mosque shooter Brenton Tarrant to life imprisonment without parole

WELLINGTON (REUTERS) – A New Zealand court sentenced a man who killed 51 Muslim worshippers in New Zealand’s deadliest shooting to life in prison without parole, the first time such a sentence has been handed down in the country.

Brenton Tarrant, a 29-year-old Australian, admitted to 51 charges of murder, 40 counts of attempted murder and one charge of committing a terrorist act during the 2019 shooting rampage at two Christchurch mosques which he livestreamed on Facebook.

High Court Judge Cameron Mander said in Christchurch on Thursday (Aug 27) that a finite term would not be sufficient.

“Your crimes, however, are so wicked that even if you are detained until you die it will not exhaust the requirements of punishment and denunciation,” said Mr Mander in handing down the sentence.

“As far as I can discern, you are empty of any empathy for your victims,” he said.

Tarrant, dressed in grey prison clothes and surrounded by guards, did not react to the sentence.

Prosecutors told the court earlier that Tarrant wanted to instil fear in those he described as invaders and that he carefully planned the attacks to cause maximum carnage.

Tarrant, a white supremacist who represented himself during his trial, said through a lawyer in court on Thursday that he did not oppose the prosecution’s application for a life without parole sentence.

“The hatred that lies at the heart of your hostility to particular members of the community that you came to this country to murder has no place here – it has no place anywhere,” Mander said.

The judge asked Tarrant before handing down the sentence if he had any comment.

Tarrant just nodded when asked if he was aware he had the right to make submissons, but he did not speak.

Before Tarrant, triple-murderer William Bell was serving the longest sentence in New Zealand with a minimum non-parole prison term of 30 years for his 2001 crimes.

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