CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand: The Australian charged with murder in the mass shootings at two New Zealand mosques appears aware of the situation and plans to represent himself, his court-appointed lawyer told AFP Monday (Mar 18).
Brenton Tarrant was charged with one count of murder and appeared at Christchurch District Court on Saturday after the rampage during Friday prayers which left 50 people dead.
Duty lawyer Richard Peters represented the 28-year-old during a preliminary court hearing, but was dropped after Tarrant "indicated he does not want a lawyer".
"He wants to be self-represented in this case," said Peters, who played down suggestions that Tarrant may not be fit for trial.
"The way he presented was rational and someone who was not suffering any mental disability. That's how he appeared. He seemed to understand what was going on," Peters said.
Fifty people were killed and dozens wounded at two mosques in Christchurch on Friday.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has vowed to toughen gun laws in the country. She said that firearms including two semi-automatic rifles, two shotguns and a lever-action weapon were bought legally and used in the attacks.