Alleged mosque gunman lodges complaint - report

6:55 pm on 31 March 2019

The gunman accused of the Christchurch mosque attacks is being denied contact with the outside world.

Flowers at the gate of the Al Noor mosque in Christchurch today.

Flowers at the gate of the Al Noor mosque in Christchurch today. Photo: RNZ / Isra'a Emhail

Corrections said Brenton Tarrant, who is understood to be held in solitary in Auckland Prison, is being denied access to television, radio or newspapers and no visitors are being allowed.

He dismissed a court-appointed lawyer and intends to represent himself in future court appearances.

Stuff has reported that he has lodged a complaint with the Department of Corrections about the breach of his human rights.

Prisoners are supposed to have the right to visitors and a phone call each week, but there can be exceptions for health and safety or because they are in protective custody.

When asked this morning, Corrections would not confirm nor deny if a complaint had been received, but said the man was being held in accordance with the law.

A spokesperson said he was not allowed visitors or access to TV, radio or newspapers.

Lawyer Michael Bott said prisoners do not have the right to contact who they like while behind bars.

"There's a logical reason for that. That is to stop people basically transacting offending, or to minimise the risk of offending from being conducted from behind bars."

However Mr Bott said people have the "absolute right" to ring their lawyer for legal advice, or the Ombudsman, a prison inspector or their local MP.

It appeaerd Corrections were controlling the alleged gunman's access to others tightly, and for good reason, he said.

"There's a justifiable reason for being cautious at this stage, and doing things in an appropriate fashion. This man's been remanded in custody for very serious offending for which there is strong evidence," he said.

"There's a real risk if he's allowed unchecked access to the media, the public or to certain contacts, friends or associates, then other people or other extremsists could do something similar, or destroy or remove evidence," Mr Bott said.

"So there are good reasons for the Department of Corrections to be reticent in this case."

Donations to crowdfunding website unprecedented

The crowd funding website Givealittle said the response to the Christchurch mosque attacks has been unprecedented.

More than 95,000 donors have raised more than a $9.2 million on the platform for Victim Support.

Information pulled from the IP addresses of the donations shows donors were based in 139 different countries.

The majority - just more than 80 percent - were from New Zealand, with six percent based in Australia, followed by the US, UK, Canada and Singapore.

A Givealittle spokesperson said the number of donors, and the range of international donors, was unprecedented in its 10-year history.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs