Court orders psych test for Christchurch shooting suspect

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New Zealand's Corrections Department revealed last month that Tarrant was segregated from other prisoners and able to be observed constantly, either directly by staff via CCTV camera.

Police said today Australian Brenton Harrison Tarrant, 28, will face the charges when he appears in court tomorrow via audio-video link from Auckland's Paremoremo Prison, the country's only specialist maximum-security unit.

The man accused of murdering 50 people in the Christchurch mosque terror attacks appeared in court this morning.

Justice Cameron Mander remanded Tarrant in custody until June 14 and ordered he undergo a mental assessment to determine whether he was fit for trial.

Mander said the tests are a normal step and there is no other reason behind them.

A High Court judge said in court minutes this week that the appearance would largely be procedural and that Tarrant would not be required to enter a plea to the charges he faced.

The law change - which enjoys broad support in the parliament - would ban most types of semi-automatic weapons, including those used in the March attacks.

Tarrant had sacked a court-appointed lawyer after his first court appearance, raising fears he wanted to represent himself and attempt to use any trial as a propaganda platform.

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He will face the new charges when he appears in front of the Christchurch High Court here on April 5, according to New Zealand police.

Yama Nabi, whose father Haji Daoud Nabi was among those killed at the Noor Mosque, said it was important for him to be at court.

Retired law professor Bill Hodge said the idea behind obscuring his image was that the prosecution might need a witness to be sure he saw the gunman at the mosque rather than recognizing him from media stories.

While upset after the court appearance, Alam said he was no longer afraid.

New Zealand's Department of Corrections said in an email they wouldn't answer questions such as where Tarrant was being held due to operational security reasons. But at Friday's court hearing he was represented by two lawyers.

"It seems he don't care what has been done". "I feel sorry. Sorry for myself".

The massacre, which Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern labelled terrorism, was New Zealand's worst peacetime mass killing.

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