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Christchurch terror attacks inquiry begins

Christchurch's Al Noor mosque, the scene of the 2019 mass shooting by gunman Brenton Tarrant.

Christchurch's Al Noor mosque, the scene of the 2019 mass shooting by gunman Brenton Tarrant. Photo: Google Maps

A coronial inquiry into the 2019 terror attacks on two mosques in New Zealand, in which 51 people were killed and dozens of others wounded, has begun in Christchurch.

Australian Brenton Tarrant, 32, was sentenced to life in prison in August 2020 with no possibility of release for the terror attacks.

Coroner Brigitte Windley’s first phase inquest will examine 10 issues, all relating to the day of the attack on March 15, 2019.

The issues include the response from emergency services, steps taken to apprehend the offender and whether he had any help in the attacks, and whether an emergency exit door failed to function in one of the mosques.

Windley will also determine the cause of the 51 deaths and whether any of those deaths could have been averted with a different medical response.

The evidence includes nearly 5000 images, 3000 audio files and over 80 hours of video. More than 600 people are registered to attend the six-week hearing in person at some stage.

In New Zealand, a coronial inquiry sets out to establish the truth of what occurred, with a view to making findings and recommendations to prevent deaths in similar circumstances in the future. It cannot impose penalties or award compensation.

The attacks on the Christchurch’s Al Noor mosque and the Linwood Islamic Centre were filmed by the gunman and live-streamed on social media.

The attacks led to major gun reforms in NZ, and the establishment of the Christchurch Call, an initiative to tackle terrorist and extremist content online.

– AAP

Topics: New Zealand
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