WELLINGTON: The mass shooter who killed 51 people in New Zealand in 2019 has launched a legal challenge seeking a review of his prison conditions and his status as a “terrorist entity”.

White supremacist Brenton Tarrant was sentenced in August to jail for life without parole for the murder of 51 people and attempted murder of 40 others at two mosques in Christchurch on March 15, 2019, the worst mass shooting in the country’s history.

During the hearing of his case it was revealed that Tarrant had plans to target a third mosque. He also planned to burn down the mosques, wanting to “inflict as many fatalities as possible”.

He pleaded guilty to 51 counts of murder, 40 attempted murders and one charge of terrorism.

Tarrant, an Australian national, is the only person in New Zealand to be designated the status of terrorist.

A judicial review will be held at the High Court in Auckland on Thursday to clarify the issues Tarrant wishes to raise, New Zealand court authorities said.

Preliminary information provided to court officials indicate that Tarrant wishes the court to review decisions made by the Department of Corrections about his prison conditions, and also his designation as a “terrorist entity” under the Terrorism Suppression Act.

The hearing will have no bearing on the outcome of the criminal case against Tarrant, or his conviction and sentence, the court said.

Court records show Tarrant will be representing himself.

Victims’ families and the survivor community were notified about the hearing on Wednesday. It will not be open to the public but media is permitted to attend.

Published in Dawn, April 15th, 2021

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