Anoushka Mehta

Anoushka Mehta is currently a penultimate year law student (B.A., LL.B) (Hons.) at Maharashtra National Law University Mumbai. She is a reviewer at Economic & Political Weekly and is also pursuing a Diploma in Advanced Contract Drafting, Negotiation and Dispute Resolution. She aims to write on legal issues alongside working in the area of corporate law.

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In a first, New Zealand Court hands down a life imprisonment sentence without the option of parole

Your crimes are so wicked that even if you are detained until you die it will not exhaust the requirements of punishment and denunciation" – Judge Cameron Mander

Man sentenced for life imprisonment without parole for 2019 Christchurch mosque shootings

A Court in New Zealand sentenced a man to life imprisonment without parole. This man was the single gunman who killed 51 Muslim worshippers in New Zealand's deadliest attack. White supremacist Brenton Tarrant, a 29-year-old Australian, had admitted to 51 charges of murder, 40 counts of attempted murder, and one charge of committing a terrorist act during the 2019 shooting rampage at two Christchurch mosques in New Zealand. The attacks had taken place during a Friday prayer meeting on 15 March 2019 and Tarrant had live-streamed the first attack on Facebook. He was arrested shortly thereafter. World leaders had condemned the attacks and NZ Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern described it as “one of New Zealand's darkest days”.

A finite sentence insufficient for Tarrant, says Judge

High Court Judge Mander said on Thursday that a finite term would not be sufficient for Tarrant. “Your crimes, however, are so wicked that even if you are detained until you die it will not exhaust the requirements of punishment and denunciation,” said Mander while handing down the sentence. He further said “As far as I can discern, you are empty of any empathy for your victims. The hatred that lies at the heart of your hostility to particular members of the community that you came to this country to murder has no place here - it has no place anywhere.” 

Tarrant does not oppose Court's decision

Tarrant was dressed in grey prison clothes and surrounded by guards in the Court. He did not give any reaction to the sentence. Prosecutors told the Court that Tarrant aimed to instil fear in those he described as invaders and that he meticulously and carefully planned the attacks to cause maximum carnage. Before declaring the sentence, the judge asked if Tarrant had anything to comment to which he just nodded. When asked if he knew about his legal right to make submissions for his defence, he did not speak.

Tarrant represented himself during the case but did not make submissions. Moreover, he did not even oppose the prosecution's application for a life without parole sentence.

There has been a similar sentence in the past with triple-murderer William Bell serving the longest sentence in New Zealand with a minimum non-parole prison term of 30 years for his 2001 crimes. However, there was no life imprisonment in the earlier case.

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parole christchurch new zealand Brenton Tarrant

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