Christchurch gunman appears in court for 2nd time

Al Noor Mosque is strewn with flowers and offerings honouring the victims of the terror attack there

The man accused of being behind the Christchurch mosque attacks will face 50 murder charges and 39 attempted murder charges Friday, the New Zealand police said in a statement.

New Zealand police on Thursday filed 49 counts of murder against Tarrant, bringing the total number of murder charges to 50.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern described the massacre, the worst mass shooting in New Zealand, as a "terrorist attack" and some legal experts thought it could result in charges under New Zealand's terrorism laws.

Tarrant, 28, will appear via video link in the Christchurch court from a maximum-security prison in Auckland.

Tarrant, who was charged with one murder a day after the shooting attack, was also charged with 39 attempted murders on Friday.

While it was earlier reported Tarrant was considering representing himself at trial, he has now appointed two Auckland-based lawyers for his case.

He is not required to enter a plea.

Fifty people, including five Indians, were killed and many others injured as they attended Friday prayers at two mosques on March 15.

He appeared briefly in the District Court on March 16.

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Stuff understands the court has the ability to mute an audio-visual link if it is deemed necessary.

During the scheduled court hearing, media photographs won't be allowed and reporting on the proceedings will be severely restricted under New Zealand law.

He was charged at the time with one count of murder and remanded in custody without a plea.

Justice Cameron Mander in a note said the hearing would be largely about Tarrant's legal representation.

Shane Tait, left, a lawyer acting for Brenton Harrison Tarrant, talks with media outside the High Court in Christchurch, New Zealand, on April 5, 2019.

Survivor Tofazzal Alam lay down in the Linwood mosque to avoid being shot during the attack and never saw the gunman up close. But she freely admitted that New Zealand itself was not immune to such "viruses".

Justice Mander also suppressed the names of those Tarrant is accused of attempting to kill.

Home Affairs secretary Michael Pezzullo said Tarrant had spent just 45 days in Australia over the past few years.

Prison authorities have confirmed he has had no access to television, radio, newspapers or visitors.

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