Accused Aussie gunman’s prison life revealed
ACCUSED Aussie gunman Brenton Tarrant is reportedly being kept in solitary confinement to keep him safe from other inmates.
The 28-year-old NSW-born suspect is being held in remand after he appeared in Christchurch District Court accused of murdering 50 people at two mosques on Friday.
Criminal justice advocate Sir Kim Workman told the NZ Herald Tarrant could be in danger in prison by fellow prisoners who were sickened by the massacre.
He said: "That's a matter I'm sure Corrections will be talking about as we speak.
"Those sorts of feelings will run high with the prisons.
"The only thing that Corrections can do is to segregate them and keep them in separate custodial management regimes.
Meanwhile, New Zealand is likely to adopt an Australian-style guns buy back scheme and a ban on semi automatic weapons under Cabinet in-principle support for gun control law reform in the wake of the Christchurch massacre.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern met her cabinet and her high-level national crisis team on Monday to collectively look at what should be done with guns after 50 people were killed in the biggest shooting tragedy in New Zealand's modern history.
She vowed emphatically to toughen the laws and despite previous attempts, had wide support to now adopt Australia's approach post the Port Arthur tragedy where more than a third of weapons were surrendered and destroyed as part of a government buyback scheme backed by stricter gun buying laws including outright bans on certain weapons.
She declined yesterday to reveal the full extent of the proposed law reforms signed off in-principle by Cabinet as details were still being considered and Opposition support to be sought but promised a detailed plan would be revealed in 10 days. She said it had only been 72 hours since the tragedy while in Australia they had 12 days before revealing law changes.
"As a Cabinet we were absolutely clear, the terror attack on Friday was the worse act of terrorism on our shores," she said, that highlighted the urgent need for change. She specifically would not answer whether her plan would mirror laws in Australia.
"There was probably a reason it took Australia 12 days, I think the fact we are here and I'm giving you an assurance that we have made a decision as a Cabinet, we are unified, there are simply details to work through, these aren't simple areas of law and that's what we will be taking our time to get right."
Also discussed was what legislation would be required to regulate social media which live streamed footage allegedly shot by accused 28-year-old Australian gunman Brenton Tarrant.
The Cabinet meeting and convening of the top secret Officials Committee for Domestic and External Security Coordination (Odesc) came as Christchurch locals returned to work and school for the first time since the shooting last Friday.
A heavy police presence was on the streets as a precaution.
"We are looking to lessons learnt in other jurisdictions in patterns that tend to follow (terror attacks), retaliatory messages, suggestions of copy cat activity, these are patterns of behaviour, our agencies are live to that, police are taking a precautionary approach in their presence and we remain with a threat level of high to ensure our agencies are live to the patterns we see internationally," said Prime Minister Ardern.
Her words came as Police Commissioner Mike Bush revealed he had 250 detectives and specialists on the attack investigation which was the largest in New Zealand's history and he was in direct contact with counterparts from the NSW Police and Australian Federal Police.
He confirmed the Australian police had already passed on material but nothing to suggest there was further direct danger in either New Zealand or Australia however the threat level would remain at "high" in NZ and an increased police presence would remain for "weeks to come" as a precaution.
On guns, he confirmed stations were preparing to receive weapons the public may want to surrender during any amnesty.
The first bodies of the victims were released to families for traditional Muslim burials, easing some of the tensions families had in perceived delays of the return of bodies post identification.
Tarrant meanwhile revealed he planned to run his own trial defence, raising fears he will use the court as a platform for his views.
He reportedly told his duty lawyer Richard Peters who represented him for his brief appearance on Friday to be formally charged with one count of murder he would represent himself in future.
Mr Peters said it could be the Grafton man wanted to use the trial to amplify his beliefs.
"What did seem apparent to me is he seemed quite clear and lucid, whereas this may seem like very irrational behaviour," Mr Peters told local media.
"He didn't appear to me to be facing any challenges or mental impairment other than holding fairly extreme views."
Tarrant is to appear in court next on April 5 where he is expected to enter a plea.
The organizers of New Zealand's largest gun show say they have cancelled the event to show respect for victims of the Christchurch massacre and because of "elevated security risks."
Jacinda Ardern says banning private ownership of semi-automatic rifles, which were used in the attack, is an option.
Ardern will announce this week the changes to gun laws with a ban on military semi-automatic weapons is almost certain.
"You can surrender your gun to the police at any time," Ardern said in a message to gun owners at her weekly post-Cabinet press conference.
New Zealand police are treating as suspicious a fire that burned down a small gun club overnight. Fire crews were called to the scene in the North Island town of Kaitaia on Tuesday early morning. No one was hurt in the incident.