Teen who shared mosque attack videos discharged without conviction

1:28 pm on 20 September 2019

A 17-year-old who downloaded videos of the Christchurch mosque shootings and showed it to other students at his school has been discharged without conviction.

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The teenager admitted possessing objectionable material when he appeared in the Thames District Court last month. Photo: Supplied / Ministry of Justice

The teenager pleaded guilty to possessing objectionable material at the Thames District Court last month.

His name and the name of the North Island school have been permanently suppressed.

Today Judge Christina Cook said the school's principal found the young man with a USB containing multiple videos of the Christchurch shooting and a copy of the accused gunman's manifesto in early April.

The young man had shown the footage to his classmates, Judge Cook told the court.

The teenager was also overheard talking about school shootings and had a drawing of his school's layout, but Judge Cook determined this behaviour fell outside of the offending and had no sinister overtones.

Police were called to the school after the USB stick and drawing were discovered.

The teenager later told the police the footage was graphic and he wished he hadn't watched it, Judge Cook said.

He downloaded the footage on the evening of 15 March and told police he didn't know it had later been deemed objectionable by the Chief Censor, Judge Cook said.

Judge Cook said the offending had caused extreme stress for both teachers and students at the school.

This morning, she discharged him without conviction, pending further tasks the court is yet to determine.

His lawyer, Amanda Bean, applied for the S106 at his last appearance.

Judge Cook said by discharging him, she was not condoning his actions - nor was it discounting the impacts of the Christchurch shooting and the harm of the footage.

She factored in his age and the level of offending in her decision.