Sentencing hearings to start for New Zealand mosque shooter


FILE – In this March 17, 2019, file photo, a police officer stands guard in front of the Masjid Al Noor mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand, where one of two mass shootings occurred. More than 60 survivors and family members will confront the New Zealand mosque gunman during the four-day sentencing starting Monday, Aug. 24, 2020. Twenty-nine-year-old Australian Brenton Harrison Tarrant has pleaded guilty to 51 counts of murder, 40 counts of attempted murder and one count of terrorism in the worst atrocity in the nation’s modern history.(AP Photo/Vincent Yu, File)

WELLINGTON (Reuters) — The gunman who killed 51 Muslim worshippers in New Zealand’s worst mass shooting faces a life prison term, possibly without parole, after multi-day sentencing hearings starting on Monday morning in Christchurch, the city where the attacks took place.

Brenton Tarrant, an Australian, has pleaded guilty to 51 murder charges, 40 charges of attempted murder and one charge of committing a terrorist act.

The attacks on March 15, 2019, prompted a global outpouring of grief as well as scrutiny, with regulations imposed on online platforms after the then 28-year-old live-streamed the mosque shootings shortly after uploading a manifesto.

Some survivors will be allowed in the courtroom for their first encounter with Tarrant since the shootings.

High Court judge Cameron Mander will hear about 66 victim impact statements, according to the court. Tarrant, who is representing himself, will be allowed to speak before sentencing.

A murder conviction carries a mandatory sentence of life in prison. The judge can impose a life term without parole, a sentence that has never been used in New Zealand.

Live reporting from the courtroom is banned, and other restrictions have been put in place on what the media can report.

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