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Christchurch mosque gunman a no show in court amid bid to challenge prison conditions, terrorist status

The man responsible for killing 51 people at two Christchurch mosques in March 2019, who is seeking to challenge his prison conditions and terrorist status, backed out of a scheduled hearing on the matter at the High Court in Auckland this morning.

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He has launched a fresh legal challenge questioning his prison conditions and his legal designation as a terrorist entity. Source: 1 NEWS

Brenton Tarrant was set to represent himself this morning, via teleconference from Auckland’s Paremoremo Prison.

However, Tarrant advised prison authorities today that he wanted the hearing to be postponed, complaining about his lack of access to documents.

The 30-year-old is serving a life sentence without parole, in solitary confinement.

In a minute provided after the hearing today, Justice Venning said, “this conference was convened in response to Mr Tarrant’s letter to the court on February 27th”.

He said that in the letter the terrorist raised two potential issues.

The first was a judicial review of his status as a “terrorist entity”, and the second was to challenge the Department of Corrections’ decision about his access to news and mail.

“The intended purpose of the call this morning was to confirm Mr Tarrant wished to pursue those issues”, said Venning.

The conference would also have clarified whether Tarrant was seeking to again represent himself, or whether he wants legal assistance.

The court has been careful to point out the event will have no bearing on the outcome of the criminal case, the sentence imposed, or on the offender's terrorism conviction.

The news the terrorist is seeking a judicial review hearing came as a shock to victims yesterday.

Widow Shadia Amin, who lost her husband Ahmed Abdel-Ghany in the attack, told 1 NEWS, “we need to hear what he wants and then we can comment”.

Temel Atacocugu, a survivor who was shot nine times in Al Noor mosque, also gave his thoughts on the issue.

“He got his punishment and what he deserves. I hope the judge refuses him and it is never changing.”

Justice Venning has adjourned the matter, until further request from Tarrant or the Crown.