WELLINGTON: New Zealand mosque gunman 29-year-old Australian white supremacist Brenton Tarrant (a former gym instructor), who shot 51 namazis dead during Juma prayers in the country’s deadliest shooting has been incarcerated for life sans parole by a court here.
This is the first instance such a sentence has been handed down in New Zealand: “It is incumbent on the court to respond in a way that decisively rejects such vicious malevolence,” Judge Cameron stated.
Calling the the killer ‘wicked’ and ‘inhuman’ Judge Cameron Mander noted that behind Tarrant’s ‘warped’ ideology was a ‘base hatred’ that led him to attack defenseless men, women and children.
Mander further maintained that Tarrant had failed in his aim of promoting right-wing extremism as he gunned down victims in cold blood but the New Zealand Muslim community had still paid a terrible price: “It was brutal and beyond callous. Your actions were inhuman.”
Crown prosecutor Mark Zarifeh noted that the atrocity was “without comparison in New Zealand’s criminal history…The offending was motivated by an entrenched racist and xenophobic ideology…
“…in my submission, the offender is clearly New Zealand’s worst murderer…No minimum period is sufficiently long to satisfy sentencing objectives given the gravity of the offending and the devastating loss of life and injury.”
It may be recalled that Brenton Tarrant who had rampaged through two Christchurch mosques for 20 minutes had earlier pleaded not-guilty. But later he admitted 51 charges of murder, 40 of attempted murder and one of terrorism over the attacks.
Following the act of terrorism Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was urged by Media to tighten gun laws and pressure Social Media to curb online extremism.
Tarrant, had sacked his legal team saying he would defend himself at sentencing. Counsel assisting the court Kerry Cook stated that the killer’s views had changed while he had been jailed and he had offered to meet the families in “restorative justice” session: “Given his age, lack of previous record and guilty pleas, there is a prospect of rehabilitation.”
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