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Christchurch Shooter Files Appeal Against Life Sentence

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The Christchurch shooter who mass murdered 51 people at two mosques in 2019 has filed an appeal against his conviction and sentence.

The Wellington Court of Appeal confirmed the shooter, Brenton Tarrant, filed his appeal. The date of hearing has not been set.

Tarrant pleaded guilty to 92 charges in 2020: 51 counts of murder, 40 counts of attempted murder, and one count of terrorism.

He was the first person in New Zealand given a sentence of life imprisonment without parole (pdf).

In the sentence, Judge Cameron Mander said no minimum term of imprisonment would be sufficient to hold Tarrant to account.

“Your crimes, however, are so wicked that even if you are detained until you die, it will not exhaust the requirements of punishment and denunciation,” he said in the judgement.

But in 2021, Tarrant made claims through his former lawyer that he pleaded guilty because of the “inhuman and degrading” treatment he received while waiting for the trial.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern pointed back to comments made previously about not naming the shooter.

“His is a story that should not be told and his is a name that should not be repeated and I am going to apply the same rule in commenting on his attempt to revictimise people,” Ardern told reporters. “We should give him nothing.”

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern Holds Press Conference Ahead Of Mosque Terror Remembrance Events
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern speaks to the media during a press conference at the Justice and Emergency Services precinct in Christchurch, New Zealand, on March 13, 2020. (Kai Schwoerer/Getty Images)

Temel Atacocugu, a survivor of the Christchurch attack, said he believed Tarrant was filing the appeal for attention.

“Everybody knows he killed 51 people and shot 40 others—I am one of them,” he told Stuff news. “He can’t run away from accountability.”

Response to Christchurch Attack

Six days after the attack, the New Zealand government announced a ban on military-style semi-automatic and assault rifles and a buyback scheme with a cost of over $100 million (US$60 million).

The gun buyback scheme removed over 60,000 guns from the community, Police Minister Chris Hipkins said in August.

Ardern also launched a global Christchurch Call to Action, involving over 120 governments, online service providers, and civil society organisations to eliminate online terrorist and violent extremist content online.

The Christchurch Call has been working on an open-source organisation called OpenMined help better understand the impact algorithms may have on terrorist and violent extremist content.

“The Christchurch Call is about bringing governments, tech companies, and civil society together to make meaningful progress to stop the spread and amplification of violent extremist content online,” Microsoft Vice Chair and President Brad Smith said in September.

“The responsible use of AI, including explaining how algorithms recommend content to people on social media platforms, is an important challenge we must address.”

Rebecca Zhu


Rebecca Zhu is based in Sydney. She focuses on Australian and New Zealand national affairs. Got a tip? Contact her at

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