A 29-year-old Australian white supremacist who killed 51 Muslim worshippers last year in New Zealand’s deadliest shooting has been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole in the first such ruling ever handed down in the country, local media reported early Thursday.
The sentence was handed down to Brenton Tarrant by Christchurch High Court Justice Cameron Mander, according to the New Zealand Herald.
The verdict was announced after at least 91 “impact statements” were made by victims and their kin until today.
Tarrant had refused to make an oral submission before he was sentenced. He sacked his legal team last month and represented himself in court.
However, he instructed lawyer Pip Hall to speak on his behalf.
“Mr. Tarrant does not oppose the application. He should be sentenced to life in prison without parole,” Hall said.
Initially, Tarrant had pleaded not guilty, but later admitted to 51 charges of murder, 40 charges of attempted murder and a charge of committing a terrorist act under the Terrorism Suppression Act of 2002.
The sentencing of New Zealand’s “worst murderer” started Monday with Justice Mander appointed for the hearing.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern welcomed the court’s decision.
She also hailed the “strength” of the country’s Muslim community, who shared their thoughts in court during the hearings, adding that “nothing will take the pain away, but I hope you felt the arms of New Zealand around you throughout this process.”
Tarrant launched a one-man attack with automatic rifles at the Al Noor Mosque and Linwood Islamic Centre during Friday prayers on March 15, 2019.
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