April 4 (UPI) — The man arrested in connection to the Christchurch terror attacks has been charged with 50 counts of murder and 39 counts of attempted murder, New Zealand police said Thursday.
“Other charges are still under consideration,” the New Zealand Police Department said in a statement.
Australian Brenton Tarrant, 28, will face those charges for the first time Friday when he is due back in court.
Tarrant, a suspected white supremacist, was initially charged with one count of murder in connection to the March 15 shootings at two Christchurch mosques that left 50 people dead and scores injured.
Friday’s hearing at the Christchurch High Court, where Tarrant will appear via an audio-visual link, will be to establish his legal representation if any as he has previously said he would represent himself, Radio New Zealand reported.
He will not be required to enter a plea deal, High Court Justice Cameron Mander said.
He is being held in isolation at a high-security wing of Auckland Prison in Paremoremo, about 620 miles from Christchurch.
The media will be allowed in the courtroom for the hearing but filming, photographing or recording audio will be prohibited in order to persevere the trial’s integrity, the High Court justice said.
The media were permitted to take photographs during Tarrant’s first court hearing on March 16, but images of him were distorted before they were published or distributed to foreign news companies, Stuff reported.
Friday’s hearing is “likely to be relatively brief,” Justice Mander said.