Man accused of March 15 threats continues fight to keep name secret

A Christchurch man accused of threatening to kill Muslims worshipping at Al Noor and Linwood mosques during the anniversary of the March 15 terror attack has filed an appeal to keep his name secret.

Police Minister Poto Williams said the value of New Zealand’s involvement “was recently highlighted by the Royal Commission of Inquiry Report into the terrorist attack on the Christchurch masjindain”. Source: Getty

Judge Alistair Garland refused to continue the man’s name suppression during a hearing at the Christchurch District Court this afternoon, following long-running arguments over whether the man should be publicly identified.

However the defendant’s lawyer, Anselm Williams, immediately indicated he would file an appeal to the High Court. Name suppression will continue until the appeal is heard.

Police claim the 27-year-old, who denies the allegations and is awaiting trial, made threats through an internet messaging board known for its association with the far right, detailing a plan to attack Al Noor and Linwood mosques on March 15, 2021.

The date marked two years since a terror attack on the same two buildings, murdering 51 people and injuring many more. 

Four New Zealand media outlets, including TVNZ, had filed submissions challenging an interim suppression order, asking the court to allow the defendant to be named in the public interest. 

The defendant entered a not guilty plea to one charge of threatening to kill the attendees at an appearance earlier this year. He has also denied seven charges of illegally distributing the terrorist’s manifesto. 

He was arrested following tip-offs from the public, with police swooping in shortly before anniversary events began.