There’s just no media headspace for an aspiring young terrorist seeking political martyrdom. Per the Washington Post, “Suspect in New Zealand mosque shootings unexpectedly pleads guilty to 51 murder charges”:
Surprise, relief and a “mix of emotions” greeted the news Thursday that Brenton Tarrant, the man who had carried out New Zealand’s worst peacetime atrocity, had reversed his not-guilty plea and was convicted on all charges.
Tarrant killed 51 worshipers and injured dozens at two mosques in Christchurch on March 15 last year. The first of the attacks was live-streamed on the Internet.
The Australian national was charged with the highest number of murder counts brought against an individual in New Zealand’s history, to which a terrorism offense and 40 counts of attempted murder were added.
The reasons behind Tarrant’s surprise move to switch his plea to guilty remain unclear; he had previously denied culpability, and a trial had been scheduled for June. The news broke as New Zealand began a nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Appearing in Christchurch High Court on Thursday by video link from an Auckland prison, a gaunt Tarrant, 29, listened to the court registrar read out the charges and the names of the dead. Two senior members of Christchurch’s Muslim community were present, although victims’ families and other survivors did not attend.
Tarrant, who could face life in prison, was remanded into custody by Justice Cameron Mander, the presiding judge, until May 1, by which time a date for the sentencing would be set. Attorneys for Tarrant, New Zealand’s first convicted terrorist, did not respond to a request for comment…
Graeme Edgeler, a Wellington-based lawyer and legal commentator, noted that a guilty plea, however belated, might open the possibility of a sentence with parole.
“In New Zealand, a person pleading guilty is usually entitled to a reduction in their sentence for the guilty plea, so there may be a hope that a guilty plea will mean there will only be a life sentence with a very long nonparole period, instead of a sentence of life without parole,” he said.
The offense is so serious, however, “that even with a guilty plea, a life-without-parole sentence must still be likely,” Edgeler added…
Anjum Rahman, a spokeswoman for New Zealand’s Islamic Women’s Council, said that while the guilty plea did not deliver closure, “the main thing is that we do not have to sit through a whole court case and hear a defense of atrocious acts.”
New Zealand has been conducting an official inquiry into the massacre, with agencies such as the intelligence services questioned about the circumstances leading to the atrocity. But much evidence had been subject to suppression orders to avoid jeopardizing Tarrant’s right to a fair trial.
With Tarrant’s guilty plea, Rahman called Thursday for the inquiry evidence to be made public…
I suspect this sad little manling dreamed of the ‘celebrity’ he’d achieve when a sensation-hungry press picked through every detail of his miserable life and semi-literate manifesto, but COVID-19 is a mass murderer no mere incel racist can hope to compete against.
He’s ready to (unfortunately, some might say) get on with the rest of his life, under state supervision, rather than face the tedium of listening to a bunch of lawyers drone to an empty courtroom as if he were some mere shoplifter.