SYDNEY – An Australian man who pleaded guilty to killing 51 Muslim worshippers in New Zealand’s worst mass shooting in 2019 has decided to represent himself a month ahead of the sentencing hearing, the court said on Monday (July 13).
Brenton Tarrant pleaded guilty earlier this year to 51 charges of murder, 40 charges of attempted murder and one charge of committing a terrorist act.
His guilty plea made a six-week trial due to begin in June redundant.
Tarrant’s decision to represent himself would not affect the sentencing hearing set to begin on Aug 24, Judge Cameron Mander said in minutes of a hearing released by the court.
The judge approved Tarrant’s request in a pre-trial video call after he was satisfied that Tarrant understood his rights to have legal representation and that he wished to waive those rights.
Tarrant’s lawyers said there was no “conflict or relationship breakdown” between them and Tarrant, and that the request was consistent with his rights.