Prosecutors have said that Tarrant wanted to instil fear in those he had described as “invaders” and that he carefully planned the murders
Brenton Tarrant, the white supremacist who murdered 51 Muslim worshippers in Christchurch, in what is New Zealand’s deadliest mass shooting, has been sentenced to life in prison without parole.
It has been the longest prison term ever handed out in the country’s legal history and is a penalty that has never before been used in New Zealand.
Justice Cameron Mander delivered Brenton Tarrant’s fate after a marathon four-day hearing that has seen around 91 of the victims of the Mosque attacks face the killer in the courtroom, telling him of the physical, mental and emotional trauma that his atrocities have left on their lives and on the nation.
“You showed no mercy. It was brutal and beyond callous – your actions were inhumane,” Justice Mander told him.”
He went on: “As far as I am able to gauge you are empty of any empathy to your victims.”
“You have said you were in a poisoned emotional state at the time, and terribly unhappy. You felt ostracised by society and wanted to damage society as revenge.”
This comes after COVID-19 once again broke out in New Zealand for the first time in over 100 days and has prompted the nation’s government to put its largest city into a strict form of lockdown.
Tarrant, who was representing himself at the hearing decided not to address the courtroom, but instead instructed his standby lawyer Pip Hall to speak on his behalf.
Mark Zarifeh, a Crown Lawyer, was arguing that life imprisonment without parole was the only appropriate sentence for Tarrant. “The enormity of the offending cannot be compared.”
“The offender planned and prepared his attacks, he has caused permanent and immeasurable harm. The offender is clearly New Zealand’s worst murderer.”
Mr Zarifeh told the court that “Tarrant appeared to show some remorse describing his own offending to a psychiatrist as abhorrent”.
But he added: “Tarrant could not control his impulse to offend, despite knowing on some level it was wrong.”
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she was relieved “to know that person will never see the light of day”.
“The trauma of 15 March is not easily healed but today I hope is the last where we have any cause to hear or utter the name of the terrorist behind it. His deserves to be a lifetime of complete and utter silence,” she said.
The PM added:
“I want to acknowledge the strength of our Muslim community who shared their words in court over the past few days. You relived the horrific events of 15 March to chronicle what happened that day and the pain it has left behind.”
“Nothing will take the pain away but I hope you felt the arms of New Zealand around you through this whole process, and I hope you continue to feel that through all the days that follow.”
This comes after New Zealand was announced to be no longer free of COVID-19 after health officials say two women who flew from London to see a dying parent had tested positive for the coronavirus.