The Australian terrorist responsible for the Christchurch massacre will serve life in prison without the possibility of parole. This marks the first terrorist conviction of New Zealand’s history and is also the first such sentence imposed on any criminal in the country.
Brenton Tarrant, 29, pleaded guilty to the murders of 51 people, attempted murder of another 40 people, and one charge of terrorism. This announcement came after his initial denial of the charges against him.
Following the emotional confrontations of the victims in the courtroom, the judge, Justice Cameron Mander, asked the convict if he wished to say anything. He denied the offer while maintaining his usual expressionless manner.
Judge Mander labeled his actions as “inhumane” and that he “showed no mercy” during his killing spree on March 15th, 2019.
“Your crimes are so wicked that even if you are detained until you die, it will not exhaust the requirements of punishment,” the Judge said. He went on to express his disappointment for Tarrant’s lack of remorse for his actions of slaughtering “unarmed, defenseless individuals.”
“You have offered no apology or public acknowledgment of the harms you have caused … While I appreciate that you have forsaken the opportunity to use these proceedings as a platform, you appear neither contrite nor ashamed,” Judge Mander said.
Tarrant plotted his attacks three years in advance, deciding his targets a couple of months before. He had complete architectural plans of the mosques and planned his attacks to the very last detail. Tarrant’s original plan included hitting three mosques and murdering a greater number of individuals to which he admitted at the time of his arrest.
The lead prosecutor of the case, Mark Zarifeh, stated that “given the gravity of the offending and the devastating loss of life and injury” no minimum duration of imprisonment was sufficient for the criminal. He also named Tarrant as the worst murderer in the country’s history.
This verdict similarly garnered positive reactions from the victims. While they agreed that no punishment will be able to bring back what they lost, the justice served will help them sleep well at night.
“We are not in a country where we can expect the death penalty. But they have served justice, giving the maximum prison time without parole,” said Hina Amir, one of the people outside the mosque at the time of the attack.
To express their support, the public began gathering outside the courthouse as well, holding signs reading: “We are one.”
New Zealand’s Prime minister Jacinda Ardern communicated her approval of the sentencing and stated,“Today I hope is the last where we have any cause to hear or utter the name of the terrorist.”
The country finally put an end to the worst terrorist attack in the country’s history which prompted stricter gun laws in New Zealand among other things, possibly obstructing the way for any such attempts in the future.