Brenton Tarrant, the 28-year-old man accused of the Christchurch mosque shootings, plead not guilty to 51 charges of murder, 40 charges of attempted murder and one terrorism related charge, in Christchurch on Thursday.
Family members of victims, as well as survivors, filled the court, while Tarrant appeared at the hearing in video link from his maximum security prison in Auckland.
Abdul Aziz... Еще, who chased the gunman away as he was attacking the Linwood mosque, said that Tarrant was «laughing» during the hearing.
A woman who lost her son during the shooting was distraught after leaving the court. «We don't have a single right, that we are Muslims and he killed himself Muslims, and there is no death penalty! My grievance...he has to have a death penalty. If he has a right to play with us games, and 'I'm not guilty, I'm not guilty', no, you are guilty! And you deserve a death penalty,» she said.
A bystander, reportedly a white supremacist, was escorted away from the court building after antagonising the victims' relatives and survivors of the attack, and was subsequently arrested by police.
The trial date has been set for May 4, 2020.
The twin shootings at the Al-Noor and Linwood Christchurch mosques killed 51 people and left a further 49 injured, in what is New Zealand's worst terrorist attack to date.
The attack was livestreamed by the gunman on Facebook.