New Zealand Law Society - New charges filed after 15 March Christchurch attacks

New charges filed after 15 March Christchurch attacks

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The New Zealand Police say they have met with victims' families and survivors of the 15 March Christchurch attack to inform them of new charges which have been filed, and to update them on the ongoing Police investigation plus the court process to come.

A charge of engaging in a Terrorist Act under section 6A of the Terrorism Suppression Act 2002 has now been filed against Brenton Tarrant.

The charge will allege that a terrorist act was carried out in Christchurch on 15 March 2019 and follows consultation between Police, Crown Law and the Christchurch Crown Solicitors Office.

An additional murder charge and two additional attempted murder charges have also been filed, Police say.

51 charges of murder, 40 of attempted murder and one charge under the Terrorism Suppression Act have now been filed against Tarrant.

The Police say that as the case is before the courts no further commentary on the charges will be made by Police, Crown Law or the Christchurch Crown Solicitors office.

Terrorist jurisprudence

It is understood that no-one in New Zealand has been convicted of an offence against section 6A.

Section 5 of the Terrorism Suppression Act 2002 defines a "terrorist act". The section has similarities to provisions in the Canadian Criminal Code (s 83.01(1)) and section 1 of the United Kingdom's Terrorism Act 2000.

Recent commentary on the definition of terrorism in UK, Canadian and United States law include the article "The evolving common law jurisprudence combatting the threat of terrorism in the United Kingdom, United States, and Canada" by Associate Professor James C Simeon of Canada's York University.