Sentencing hearings to start for New Zealand mosque shooter

Friends of a missing man grieve outside a refuge centre in Christchurch, New Zealand, 17 March 2019. A gunman killed 50 worshippers at the Al Noor Masjid and Linwood Masjid on 15 March. A suspected gunman, 28-year-old Brenton Tarrant of Australia, has appeared in court on on the morning of 16 March and was charged with murder. EPA-EFE/MICK TSIKAS AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND OUT

WELLINGTON, Aug 24 (Reuters) - The gunman who killed 51 Muslim worshippers in New Zealand's worst mass shooting faces a life prison term, possibly without parole, after multi-day sentencing hearings starting on Monday morning in Christchurch, the city where the attacks took place.

Brenton Tarrant, an Australian, has pleaded guilty to 51 murder charges, 40 charges of attempted murder and one charge of committing a terrorist act.

The attacks on March 15, 2019, prompted a global outpouring of grief as well as scrutiny, with regulations imposed on online platforms after the then 28-year-old live-streamed the mosque shootings shortly after uploading a manifesto.

Some survivors will be allowed in the courtroom for their first encounter with Tarrant since the shootings.

High Court judge Cameron Mander will hear about 66 victim impact statements, according to the court. Tarrant, who is representing himself, will be allowed to speak before sentencing.

A murder conviction carries a mandatory sentence of life in prison. The judge can impose a life term without parole, a sentence that has never been used in New Zealand.

Live reporting from the courtroom is banned, and other restrictions have been put in place on what the media can report. (Reporting by Praveen Menon and Jonathan Barrett; Editing by William Mallard)


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