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New Zealand court sentences Christchurch shooter to life imprisonment without parole

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A New Zealand court sentenced a man who killed 51 Muslim worshippers in New Zealand’s deadliest shooting to life in prison without parole, the first time such a sentence has been handed down in the country.

Brenton Tarrant, a 29-year-old Australian, admitted to 51 charges of murder, 40 counts of attempted murder and one charge of committing a terrorist act during the 2019 shooting rampage at two Christchurch mosques which he livestreamed on Facebook.

High Court Judge Cameron Mander said in Christchurch on Thursday that a finite term would not be sufficient.

“Your crimes, however, are so wicked that even if you are detained until you die it will not exhaust the requirements of punishment and denunciation,” said Mander in handing down the sentence.

“As far as I can discern, you are empty of any empathy for your victims,” he said.

Prosecutors told the court earlier that Tarrant wanted to instill fear in those he described as invaders and that he carefully planned the attacks to cause maximum carnage.

Tarrant, a white supremacist who represented himself during his trial, said through a lawyer in court on Thursday that he did not oppose the prosecution’s application for a life without parole sentence.

Survivors gesture outside the High Court in Christchurch, New Zealand, 27 August 2020. Brenton Tarrant was transferred from Auckland ahead of his sentencing in the High Court. EPA-EFE/MARTIN HUNTER

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