The man accused of carrying out the worst mass shooting New Zealand’s history will represent himself at his sentencing hearing next month.
Attorneys for Australian Brenton Tarrant said they were dismissed by Tarrant during a hearing Monday at the Christchurch High Court. The judge approved Tarrant’s request after speaking personally to him in a pre-hearing video call, saying he was assured that Tarrant understood his actions.
The sentencing hearing, which has been delayed by the coronavirus pandemic, is scheduled to begin on August 24 and is expected to last more than three days.
Tarrant has pleaded guilty to 51 counts of murder, 40 charges of attempted murder and one charge of terrorism in connection with the March 15, 2019, shootings at two mosques in Christchurch. Hours before carrying out the March 15, 2019, shootings, the now-29-year-old Australian white supremacist published a long manifesto online explaining his reasonings for the attack. He then livestreamed the attack on Facebook, which was viewed by scores of people around the world before it was taken down.
Tarrant unexpectedly entered a guilty plea in March during a court hearing via video link from his prison cell in Auckland, as New Zealand began a four-week nationwide lockdown to combat the coronavirus pandemic.