Australian charged over Christchurch mosque attacks changes plea to guilty

Tarrant's lawyers Shane Tait and Jonathan Hudson in court today

Sentencing will take place at a date yet to be set.

"The guilty pleas represent a very significant step towards bringing finality to this criminal proceeding", he said. Tarrant faces life imprisonment, with the judge having some discretion in deciding the minimum number of years Tarrant must serve before becoming eligible for parole.

The plea came with New Zealand in its first day of a four-week COVID-19 lockdown.

Many had feared Australian white supremacist Brenton Harrison Tarrant would try to use his trial as a platform to promote his views. His change in plea came as a surprise and relief to survivors and relatives of the victims.

End of coronavirus pandemic is near, says Nobel laureate Michael Levitt
Amazingly, Levitt's prediction was rather accurate as China has a total of 80,298 cases and 3,245 deaths as of March 16. Even in the case of the virus-affected cruise ship Diamond Princess, the infection rate did not top 20%.

The lockdown meant that Tarrant appeared in the court from his jail cell via Facebook video link and that only a few people were allowed inside the courtroom, Mike Bush, New Zealand's police commissioner, said.

A woman prepares to place flowers at the Al Noor mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand, Friday, March 13, 2020.

"I have been praying for him and he has taken the right direction", Farid Ahmed, whose wife Husna was killed, told TVNZ. "It is a good start".

Following the massacre, lawmakers banned semi-automatic weapons.

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