The Australian Brenton Tarrant, author of the supremacist attack in New Zealand of mid-March, must undergo two evaluations to determine his mental state in the process that is followed, as ordered by the judge in charge of the case today.
Judge Cameron Mander of the High Court of Christchurch City requested two preliminary reports to assess the defendant's ability to plead innocent or guilty to the 50 counts of murder, one for each mental victim of the attack, and 39 for attempted murder, which face
The magistrate remarked that the evaluations are part of the regular judicial procedures, by ensuring that these will not affect the defendant's right to a fair trial.
Tarrant, 28, had expressed his intention to assume his legal defense, but on Thursday night it was learned that the defendant agreed to be represented by attorneys Shane Tait and Jonathan Hudson.
Tarrant, who appeared today by video conference handcuffed from a prison in the city of Auckland, will be detained until his next appearance on June 14, date on which the results of the mental health assessment of the accused must be known.
In the case against Tarrant, the name of a woman was removed from the list of the deceased, who was later discovered to be alive, and was replaced by that of Khalid Alhaj-Mustafa.
Likewise, the identities of the 39 people linked to the attempted murder charges have been suppressed by the court and they will appear with alphanumeric codes, which begin with "W001" and end with W039, "according to the website of the New Zealand Herald newspaper.
Around 50 relatives of the victims of the attack on the mosque went to the process to follow the hearing with more than a score of local and international journalists and under the eyes of police officers and security personnel.
After the courts, the families of the victims refused to declare to the press arguing that it was "a very sensitive day," although Yama Nabi, whose father was killed in the attack on the Al Noor mosque, told reporters who hopes "to be locked up and to throw the keys away".
For him, the trial against the Australian physical trainer "is not going to return to our loved ones … it will be a long process", according to the statements collected by the news portal Stuff.
Tofazzal Alam, a survivor of the Linwood attack, went to trial because several of his friends died in the supramacist attack at the hands of Tarrant.
"He did not express any emotion, I did not see any emotion on his face," he said, referring to Tarrant, who appeared for the second time in court since his arrest on March 15, the day of the attack on Al Noor and Linwood, which he retransmitted during 17 minutes live on social networks, after publishing his supremacist ideology.
The New Zealand Police announced the day before accusing Tarrant of the 89 charges, although it is expected to formulate still other charges.