The accused of New Zealand mosque attack, where at least 51 Muslims were killed and dozens more were wounded in Christchurch, dropped a bid to move his trial to another city, AFP has reported. No reason was given for the decision. The High Court held a pre-trial hearing in Christchurch to consider an application from alleged gunman Brenton Tarrant to shift the trial venue from the South Island city.
The 28-year-old Australian pleaded not guilty to 51 counts of murder, 40 of attempted murder, and engaging in a terrorist act. His trial will begin on June 2 next year in Christchurch.
The South Island city was the scene of the worst mass shooting in modern New Zealand history on March 15, when Tarrant allegedly opened fire at two mosques while live-streaming his actions on social media.
Tarrant, a self-avowed white supremacist, appeared at Thursday’s hearing via audio-visual link from a maximum security jail in Auckland, although media were barred from filming or photographing him.