15 Apr 2021

Christchurch terrorist could not be compelled to attend today's High Court proceedings - Judge

11:11 am on 15 April 2021

The man convicted of the Christchurch mosque shootings has held off from initiating a judicial review of his access to mail and news in prison, and his designation as a terrorist entity.

The High Court at Auckland

The hearing was due to take place at the High Court in Auckland. Photo: RNZ / Simon Rogers

He was due to appear via audio link in the Auckland High Court this morning for an initial hearing, but told prison authorities he wanted it postponed due to a lack of access to court documents.

Speaking to media at the High Court this morning, Justice Venning explained Brenton Tarrant wrote to the court in late February about the two issues, which could form the basis of judicial review.

The intended purpose of this morning's hearing was to confirm if the terrorist wished to pursue those issues "properly and formally" so the Crown could respond and the court could engage, and if he needed legal assistance.

Justice Venning said issues relating to his designation as a terrorist entity may also need to be heard in Wellington, rather than Auckland.

He said the gunman was informed he could raise any issues regarding access to court documents in the hearing.

Nevertheless, Justice Venning said he advised this morning that he did not want to attend the proceedings.

"He cannot be compelled to attend," Justice Venning said.

No next call date has been set, but Justice Venning has reserved leave for 14 days - meaning the gunman and the Crown can give the court two weeks notice, if they decide that the matter should proceed.

Any judicial review will not relate to Tarrant's convictions of murder, attempted murder or terrorism, nor his prison sentence.

It is seven months since the gunman was sentenced to life without parole.

He admitted murdering 51 people, attempting to murder 40 people and one charge of terrorism.

There were no victims or members of the public in the court room this morning.