The shooter’s lawyer, Tony Ellis, argued that his client only pleaded guilty because of the ‘inhuman and degrading treatment’ he suffered while awaiting trial, and that his sentence and conviction could have violates the Bill of Rights. Photo: DAVID MOIR / AFP
The man behind the deadliest mass shooting in New Zealand history has appealed his conviction and life sentence without parole, following claims by his lawyer that he had been subjected to “inhuman and degrading” treatment during his detention.
The Australian white supremacist killed 51 people and injured 40 when he opened fire on two mosques in the New Zealand town of Chistchurch on March 15, 2019, in a live massacre that led to a major reform firearms in the country. The police arrested him on his way to a third mosque.
In 2020, he pleaded guilty to 51 murder charges, 40 attempted murder charges and one terrorism charge, and was subsequently sentenced to life without parole – a sentence that had never been handed down in New Zealand before. .
Judge Cameron Mander said at the time he was giving the harshest possible term for the shooter’s ‘inhumane’ actions, telling him: ‘Your crimes are so vicious, that even though you are held until you die , this will not exhaust the requirements for punishment and denunciation.
On Tuesday, the New Zealand Court of Appeal upheld the New Zealand Herald that the perpetrator had appealed his conviction and sentence. The appeal appears to have come on the advice of the shooter’s lawyer, Tony Ellis, who argued last year that his client pleaded guilty to the ‘inhuman and degrading treatment’ he suffered while awaiting his trial, and that his sentence and conviction may have breached the Bill of Rights, according to Radio New Zealand.
“He said because of the way he was treated while he was awaiting trial and afterwards, [that affected] his will to continue and he decided the easiest way out was to plead guilty,” Ellis said of his client, in a memo sent to a New Zealand coroner ahead of a coroner’s inquest into the massacre.
“By this he means that he was subjected to inhuman or degrading treatment while in pre-trial detention, which prevented a fair trial.”
Survivors of the massacre have expressed shock at the appeal, which they say has the potential to re-traumatize those affected.
“I believe it will cause significant trauma in our community and the terrorist will gain nothing from it,” said Imam Gamal Fouda, who survived the terror attack. Herald of New Zealand.
“I find it difficult to understand why he is doing this when he himself pleaded guilty,” Fouda added. “I can’t help but think this is another action by this terrorist to harm his victims again by keeping the memory of him and his terrorist actions alive.”
Temel Atacocugu, who was shot nine times during the attack, also told the Herald“He does these things to remind the audience that ‘I’m still here’. He tries not to be forgotten.
“It won’t work and it will stay there forever.”
Asked about the call, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern declined to comment on what she described as the “shooter’s attempts to re-victimize people”.
“I promised a long time ago that I would not publicly name the terrorist from March 15 and that’s because it’s a story that shouldn’t be told,” Ardern said. “He is a name that should not be repeated and I will apply the same rule when commenting on his attempts to re-victimize people.”
“We shouldn’t give him anything.”
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