Brenton Tarrant Fires Lawyer, Represents Himself in Christchurch Mosque Attack Case

By Richard Szabo

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.

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.

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.

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.”

From The Epoch Times