Police confirm wrong person recorded as being killed by Christchurch mosque shooter

7:39 pm on 21 March 2019

Police have confirmed a person recorded as being allegedly murdered by the Christchurch terror attack shooter is not dead.

Police generic

Photo: RNZ / Richard Tindiller

After RNZ reporters reviewed names and numbers of the dead, it was discovered that there were 51 names, not 50.

After getting confirmation from police one person was wrongly named as dead, the total number remains at 50.

Police wrongly charged the Christchurch shooter with the murder of a person who - it has emerged - turned out to be alive. That person's name is being suppressed by the court.

A police spokesperson said an error was made in the document laid in court during the first appearance of Brenton Tarrant.

Police said they apologised to the person incorrectly named on the document and would amend the document.

Police Minister Stuart Nash appeared on RNZ's Checkpoint tonight and said he had only been told about the error 10 minutes before he was on air.

"It was an administrative error, it will have no impact whatsoever on the court process, I understand it's been rectified," he said.

"Let's bring this guy to justice."

When asked how they had found out about the error, he said: "You're probably best to talk to [police] Commissioner Bush on that.

"It will make absolutely no difference."

Auckland University of Technology law professor Warren Brookbanks said it was a big error, but there was no risk the accused could be released.

"They can alter the charges, they can have the information withdrawn and have the fresh information, which has the proper facts. I mean, it's an unfortunate error and it puts a lot of people under some stress I guess, but in the circumstances and given the nature of the offences, I don't think there's any chance he's going to be released."

Mr Brookbanks said the police would have to apply to a judge to make the change.