Christchurch mosque attacker who shot dead 51 Muslims pleads not guilty

Christchurch mosque attacker who shot dead 51 Muslims pleads not guilty

The man who shot dead 51 Muslim worshippers in theChristchurch mosque attacks pleaded not guilty Friday to multiple murder andterrorism charges.

Appearing in Christchurch High Court via audio-visual linkfrom a maximum-security prison in Auckland, Brenton Tarrant sat silently aslawyer Shane Tait said his client pleaded "not guilty to allcharges".

The self-proclaimed white supremacist has been charged with51 counts of murder, 40 of attempted murder and engaging in a terrorist actover the March 15 atrocity in he South island city.

The 28-year-old Australian opened fire in the packed Al Noormosque during Friday prayers and then travelled across town to continue thecarnage in the suburban Linwood mosque.

The court heard that mental health assessments had foundTarrant was fit to stand trial for the worst massacre in modern New Zealandhistory.

About 80 survivors and relatives of those killed packed intothe courthouse's public gallery.

Wearing a grey crewneck jersey, Tarrant smirked at timesduring the hearing.Judge Cameron Mander set a trial date of May 4next year, with Tait saying it was expected to last six weeks.

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