Mosque shooter no-show at NZ court hearing

·2-min read

Christchurch mosques terrorist Brenton Tarrant has failed to show at a judicial review hearing he requested to gain access to information from the outside world.

The New Zealand High Court was to hear a complaint from Australian-raised Tarrant on Thursday morning, only for him to back out.

Tarrant had requested a judicial review into his prison conditions and into the NZ government's designation of him as a terrorist entity.

The 30-year-old is serving a term of life imprisonment without parole, and the review would not have had any bearing on his sentence.

A minute published by High Court Justice Geoffrey Venning following the abandoned hearing revealed Tarrant wanted a review of his access to news and mail.

"Mr Tarrant advised the prison authorities this morning that he had a complaint about a lack of access to documents and wanted the conference postponed," Justice Venning wrote.

"If Mr Tarrant does not wish to attend he cannot be compelled."

The hearing was set for 9am NZDT, with New Zealand's worst modern day mass murderer to represent himself via phone from prison.

Tarrant is housed in isolation at the Prisoners of Extreme Risk Unit inside Auckland's Paremoremo Prison, at great care and expense from NZ authorities.

Thursday's hearing - first requested by Tarrant back in February - was to be a preliminary assessment of claims, from which Justice Venning would determine an appropriate way forward.

The court has left the door open for Tarrant to resume his claim, should he wish to.

Thursday's no-show is not the first time he has made erratic legal moves.

In October 2019, he dropped a bid to move his trial to Auckland, a move many interpreted as an attempt to play with the emotions of the victims of his attack.

Last March he unexpectedly changed his plea to guilty, sparing the bereaved community a lengthy trial.

This week's hearing was scheduled for the first week of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

Rosemary Omar, whose son Tariq was murdered by Tarrant at Al Noor Mosque, told Radio NZ the timing was hurtful and probably part of a "cat and mouse" game.

Tarrant was in August convicted of 51 counts of murder for his atrocity, committed on March 15 2019.