A key suspect in the Christchurch mosque attacks fired his legal representative on March 16 and plans to represent himself in court.
Alpers & Co – Northwest Law Office Senior Associate Richard Peters confirmed as of Saturday he was no longer acting on behalf of Australian citizen Brenton Tarrant, who is accused of shooting and killing at least 50 people at two mosques on March 15.
— NewsX (@NewsX) March 18, 2019
Peters found Tarrant, 28, to be unusually clear-headed and mentally sound when he made the shock decision.
“What did seem apparent to me is he seemed quite clear and lucid, whereas this may seem like very irrational behavior,” he told the New Zealand Herald.
Richard Peters, the attorney who represented Tarrant said that the accused ‘appeared to be lucid’ and was not ‘mentally unstable’.#NewZealand #ChristChurch #NewZealandTerroristAttack #ChristchurchMosqueAttackhttps://t.co/Jpp0FirfYI
— Deccan Chronicle (@DeccanChronicle) March 18, 2019
Well, well it seems this article has been taken down…point is Tarrant supposedly fired his court-appointed lawyer and told the court he’s repping himself; the lawyer said Tarrant was “lucid” and “normal” apart from his ideas
— Helene (@Helener2442) March 18, 2019
However, Peters still thinks Tarrant shows signs of extreme thinking, which the accused explained in a 74-page manifesto on the internet, entitled “The Great Replacement.”
Police believe the document contains evidence that Tarrant planned to carry out the deadly shootings two years in advance, pointing to sections where he admits the attacks on two mosques, early on March 15, were to avenge “thousands of deaths caused by foreign invaders.”
“He didn’t appear to me to be facing any challenges or mental impairment, other than holding fairly extreme views,” Peters said, adding Tarrant showed no condolences or regret although the “discussion didn’t touch on that” topic.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has called the shooting an act of terrorism, and the worst-ever peacetime mass killing in the nation’s history. New Zealand’s national security threat level has been revised to high. Ardern promised affected individuals and their families would receive financial compensation for months and even years in the wake of the bloodshed.
What has happened in Christchurch is an extraordinary act of unprecedented violence. It has no place in New Zealand. Many of those affected will be members of our migrant communities – New Zealand is their home – they are us.
— Jacinda Ardern (@jacindaardern) March 15, 2019
Peters confirmed Tarrant informed him of his intention to represent himself in court where he faces one charge of murder and is widely expected to be charged with more. He remains in custody and is scheduled to appear at the High Court on April 5. Tarrant did not apply for bail or name suppression.
Tarrant did not provide a specific reason for dismissing Peters, but certainly “thinks the job would be done better himself,” Peters said.
Peters suspects Tarrant may want to use the high-profile trial as a platform to spread his views and the trial judge would have to manage the risk of the courtroom becoming a “political soapbox.”
Exclusive: Accused mosque gunman sacks lawyer and plans to defend himself, concern he’ll use a trial as platform to promote beliefs https://t.co/zjsUbtdYv9
— nzherald (@nzherald) March 17, 2019
Brenton Tarrant fired his court-appointed lawyer Richard Peters on Saturday.
Mr Peters warned the court would not allow Tarrant to turn his trial into a circus.
— Nguyen #fbpe #fbr (@haaohaoo) March 18, 2019