Teen fronts court over alleged shootings livestream
A TEENAGER has appeared in a New Zealand court charged with distributing the livestream video of a deadly mass shooting at Christchurch's Al Noor mosque.
The 18-year-old, whose name was suppressed by the judge, was also charged with publishing a photograph of the mosque with the message "target acquired", and for inciting violence.
He faces a maximum of 14 years in prison for each charge, prosecutors said.
A judge did not grant him bail and he is due back in court on April 8.
The news comes as New Zealand's Corrections confirmed accused Australian gunman Brenton Tarrant is being held in a "specialist security facility".
The chief custodial officer would not detail where this facility is but said Tarrant was segregated from other prisoners and being observed 24-7, Stuff NZ reports.
"He is being managed in accordance with the provisions set out in the Corrections Act 2004 and our international obligations for the treatment of prisoners."
The revelation comes as Tarrant was warned he's a "marked man" in prison.
Gang members who came to pay their respects to the victims of Friday's shooting have told the New Zealand Herald that Tarrant could be targeted in prison.
"That stuff that happened (on Friday), that was disgusting, there was no need for it. We're a club, we do our things but, nah, that's just wrong in every way possible," one man told the New Zealand Herald.
In what seemed a clear warning, another man told the newspaper, "we've got friends inside, too."
Criminal justice advocate Sir Kim Workman told the New Zealand Herald he had heard that Tarrant could be in danger.
"That's a matter I'm sure Corrections will be talking about as we speak," he said.
"Those sorts of feelings will run high with the prisons. The only thing that Corrections can do is to segregate them and keep them in separate custodial management regimes."
Foreign Minister Marise Payne is in "constructive" talks with New Zealand about what to do with Tarrant, who came from Grafton in NSW.
"The legal proceedings - trial and the adjudication of these horrific crimes - will go through its processes in New Zealand," she told Sky News.
"If there are questions to be raised after that in relation to the location of anyone who is convicted out of this process, then they would be dealt with according to the normal processes.
"We work within the laws as they stand, we would have those discussions with New Zealand if and when the time comes. And I'm sure we will work with that very constructively together."
TURKEY SENDS ENVOY
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan's has used the live stream footage allegedly filmed by Australian gunman Brenton Tarrant during his killing spree to rally support ahead of elections next fortnight.
Erdogan drew some condemnation after running extracts of the video on a giant screen as he claimed the Australian had targeted him and his country by killing Muslims in New Zealand.
Now he has backed up on his apparent anger by dispatching a high-level government delegation including his deputy Vice President Fuat Oktay and the Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu to Christchurch to see the killing scenes for themselves.
At this stage just one person of the 50 victims have been determined to have originally come from Turkey.
The visiting Turks will meet with NZ Foreign Minister Winston Peters tonight in the city.
"Taking effective precautions against issues linked to anti-Muslim ideology has become more than just an obligation, it has become vital," Oktay said as he prepared to board a flight to Christchurch. "The international community must undertake responsibility in this regard."
Local elections in Turkey are due to take place at the end of March and Erdogan has been criticised by the Opposition Republican People's Party for using the tragedy and apparent hate speech on the other side of the world to support his cause.
Tarrant did visit Turkey twice during years of globe trotting and Erdogan has ordered his intelligence services to find out whether he had planned anything during his two 2016 visits.
ACCUSED SHOOTER SACKS LAWYER
In other developments, Tarrant will represent himself during his trial for the biggest mass murder in New Zealand modern history, raising fears he will use the courtroom as a platform for his views.
He did have a duty lawyer for his very brief appearance on Friday to be formally charged with one count of murder, but advised that number may rise to 50 in coming days ahead of his next appearance.
But duty lawyer Richard Peters confirmed Tarrant had told him he wanted to represent himself in future.
He said the decision could be because the 28-year-old Grafton man wanted to use the trial to amplify his beliefs.
It would be open to a trial judge to shut that down.
"What did seem apparent to me is he seemed quite clear and lucid, whereas this may seem like very irrational behaviour," Mr Peters told local media.
"He didn't appear to me to be facing any challenges or mental impairment, other than holding fairly extreme views."
Tarrant is to appear next in the High Court on April 5 where he is expected to enter a plea. Bail was not applied for and formally refused.
COUNTER-TERROR POLICE RAID NSW HOMES
Australia's religious schools and places of worship are being offered an extra $55 million in community grants to boost their security after the Christchurch mosque massacre.
Religious groups will be offered grants worth between $50,000 and $1.5 million to spend on security measures such as CCTV cameras, lighting, fencing, bollards, alarms and loudspeaker systems.
The money will be made available through an "acceleration and extension" of a community fund that has provided $70 million to schools, preschools, community groups and local councils since 2016, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced today.
It comes as counter-terrorism police raided two homes on the NSW mid-north coast as part of investigations into the Christchurch terrorist attack.
Officers from the NSW Joint Counter Terrorism Team searched a property in Sandy Beach, near Coffs Harbour, about 8.30am today, before storming a second house at Lawrence, near Maclean.
"The primary aim of the activity is to formally obtain material that may assist New Zealand Police in their ongoing investigation," the Australian Federal Police and NSW Police said in a joint statement.
"The community can be assured that there is no information to suggest a current or impending threat related to this search warrants."
BURIALS TO BEGIN FOR VICTIMS
Hearses began leaving Christchurch Hospital since mid-morning reportedly taking bodies to other centralised locations to be prepared for burial by family and volunteers.
At least 10 bodies are expected to be handed to families today.
The first burial is expected after 5pm.
One burial is expected to be made public as representative of the other expected 49 burials.
The burial sites were inspected by imams earlier this morning.
Mo, a volunteer who had flown in from Brisbane to wash the bodies, said the people who died in the mosques were classified as martyrs.
That meant there were different views as to whether they would be washed or not because he said Islamic jurisprudence said martyrs are not to be washed as their blood was witness to their martyrdom.
"But some people have said because it was not a battlefield it is okay to wash the body. But it is at the discretion of the family," said Mo.
He asked to be identified by just one name.
HOW TWO NZ COPS TRACKED GUNMAN
The two New Zealand police officers who dragged Tarrant from his car after the mosque shootings had come straight from a training session on learning to deal with armed offenders.
According to a report in the New Zealand Herald, the two officers responded to reports of the shooting and took to the streets to find the 28-year-old Grafton man.
The pair's boss, rural response manager Senior Sergeant Pete Stills said the officers had travelled to Christchurch for a training session at Princess Margaret Hospital in Cashmere.
"They were actually training when the call came through that there was an active armed offender in Christchurch," Sergeant Stills told the New Zealand Herald.
The pair reportedly spotted a "suspicious car", "weaving in and out of lanes with its hazard lights on."
Sergeant Stills said the officers confirmed the car's registration and saw that someone fitting Tarrant's description was behind the wheel.
"They were trying to catch up with him, they were discussing tactics - did they want to pursue him?" Sergeant Stills told the newspaper.
Stills said the officers thought about pursuing the car but had concerns the gunman could have got away and "unleashed" on more members of the public.
The two then decided to "ram" Tarrant's car to stop any further bloodshed.
"They decided to bring it to an end as quickly as possible and they decided to immobilise the car by ramming it," Sergeant Stills told the outlet.
They then dragged Tarrant from the car, before one officer detected "high risk" items in the back.
"He yelled at members of the public to get back," Sergeant Stills said.
"The car posed a danger."
Once Tarrant was contained both officers reportedly alerted other police to the situation.
New Zealand Police Commissioner Mike Bush said the alleged gunman did not give himself up and was "non compliant".
Sergeant Stills said he was "proud" of his officers and said he was "surprised how calm and collected they were".
"They wouldn't have been scared, we practice for this stuff - to be honest, it was lucky two officers with that amount of service and experience were there.
Sergeant Stills said the officers have more than 40 years of policing between them and had the experience to handle the situation.
NZ CABINET TO MEET ON GUN REFORM
Ms Ardern's promise of tightened gun laws in the wake of the Christchurch mosque shootings has been widely welcomed by a stunned population.
The New Zealand Prime Minister said her Cabinet will consider the details of the changes today and that Cabinet would meet this morning to be briefed on the tragedy and to discuss work on gun laws.
"I know there is understandable grief in New Zealand and anger, too. There are questions that need to be answered," Ms Ardern said.
"Our gun laws will change."
She has said options include a ban on private ownership of semiautomatic rifles that were used with devastating effect in Christchurch and a government-funded buyback of newly outlawed guns.
NZ BEGINS TERROR FIGHTBACK
It comes as Prime Minister Ardern said she has sought advice on the possible deportation of Tarrant to Australia.
Ms Ardern was asked by reporters whether Tarrant was likely to be deported to Australia.
"I don't want to go to far down that track while we're obviously in early stages. Charges have been laid, we can expect additional charges, he'll be appearing in the High Court on the 5th of April, so there's obviously a process that needs to be gone through here.
"But I can say I am seeking advice on what will happen thereafter."
Ms Ardern would not say how long Tarrant had been in New Zealand but said he had visited "sporadically".
Currently, Tarrant is charged with one count of murder under the Crimes Act.
Meanwhile, police have been deployed across Christchurch as Ms Ardern said public safety remained her top priority in the wake of the devastating terror attack that claimed its 50th victim.
Ms Ardern said 120 extra police would be largely on the beat in the city for public safety and 200 staff mobilised for grief and trauma support, some specialists assigned to schools particularly where the victims were studying.
She said the city was distressed and all had to be done to assure them.
Ms Ardern's assurance during a live broadcast on Sunday came as police made another arrest on the periphery of the central investigation.
FAMILY 'GOBSMACKED' BY SHOOTINGS
Meanwhile, relatives of Tarrant have spoken of their devastation of the shootings.
Speaking to Nine, his grandmother Marie Fitzgerald said the family was gobsmacked he'd been allegedly involved in the shootings.
"It's just so much of everything to take in that somebody in our family would do anything like this," Fitzgerald, 81, told Nine from Grafton where Tarrant grew up.
"The media is saying he has planned it for a long time so he is obviously not of sound mind." Tarrant reportedly went to Europe after his father died of cancer in 2010 and came back a different man, Mrs Fitzgerald said.
"It's only since he travelled overseas, I think, that the boy has changed completely to the boy we knew," she said.
Tarrant's uncle Terry Fitzgerald apologised on behalf of the family for his nephew's alleged crime.
"We are so sorry for the families over there, for the dead and the injured," he told Nine.
"What he has done is just not right."
Tarrant's grandmother added that he had spent most of his time in high school "playing computer games".
The family said they had seen Tarrant a year ago at a dinner for his sister's birthday in Grafton.
Tarrant's sister and mother have been put under police protection after the attack.
Islamic Council of Victoria spokesman Adel Salman spoke about his sympathy for the victim's of Friday's attack, including the alleged gunman's relatives.
"It is a horrendous massacre and has many victims … even the family of the alleged killer. My heart goes out to them as well," he told AAP.
FAMILIES EAGER TO BURY DEAD
Anguished relatives continue to wait for authorities to release the remains of those who were killed in massacres at two mosques in the New Zealand city of Christchurch, after the death toll from the racist attacks had risen to 50.
Islamic law calls for bodies to be cleansed and buried as soon as possible after death, usually within 24 hours. But more than two days after the worst terrorist attack in the country's modern history, relatives remained unsure when they would be able to bury their loved ones.
Police Commissioner Mike Bush said police were working with pathologists and coroners to release the bodies as soon as they could.
"We have to be absolutely clear on the cause of death and confirm their identity before that can happen," he said. "But we are so aware of the cultural and religious needs. So we are doing that as quickly and as sensitively as possible."
Ms Ardern said a small number of bodies had started being released to families on Sunday evening, and authorities hoped to release all the bodies by Wednesday. But by the end of Sunday night, it was not clear whether any bodies had been released.
Police said they had released a preliminary list of the victims to families, which has helped give closure to some relatives who were waiting for any news.
The scale of the tragedy and the task still ahead became clear as supporters arrived from across the country to help with the burial rituals in Christchurch and authorities sent in backhoes to dig new graves in a Muslim burial area that was newly fenced off and blocked from view with white netting.
Thirty-four injured victims remained at Christchurch Hospital, where officials said 12 were in critical condition. And a 4-year-old girl at a children's hospital in Auckland was also listed as critical.
Javed Dadabhai, who flew from Auckland after learning about the death of his 35-year-old cousin, Junaid Mortara, said the Muslim community was being patient.
"The family understands that it's a crime scene. It's going to be a criminal charge against the guy who's done this, so they need to be pretty thorough," he said.
Still, it was hard, he said, because the grieving process wouldn't really begin until he could bury his cousin.
Dozens of Muslim supporters gathered at a centre set up for victims, families and friends across the road from the hospital, where many had flown in from around New Zealand to offer support. About two dozen men received instructions on their duties on Sunday, which included Muslim burial customs.
Abdul Hakim, 56, of Auckland, was among many who had flown in to help. "As soon as people die we must bury them as soon as possible," Mr Hakim said. "We are all here to help them in washing the body, putting them in the grave."
- with staff writers, AAP