New Zealand police say Christchurch accused to face 50 murder charges

Australian Brenton Tarrant was previously charged with only one murder following the attack and has been remanded without a plea

The Christchurch mosque shooting suspect was ordered to undergo two mental health examinations to determine whether he is mentally fit to plead to the 50 murder and 39 attempted murder charges laid against him.

If convicted, Tarrant will be sentenced with life imprisonment without parole, and a confirmation that he is one among the deadliest white-nationalist-inspired mass murderers in recent years.

Making his second court appearance since his arrest on the day of the attack, the former NSW resident will face 50 counts of murder and 39 of attempted murder, police have confirmed.

Australian-born Brenton Tarrant appeared in front of Justice Cameron Mander in Christchurch High Court via a video link from Auckland's Paremoremo prison.

The largely procedural hearing is expected to confirm whether Tarrant, as reported, intends to represent himself at trial.

Tarrant appeared by audio-visual link from Auckland, where he is being held in isolation in a maximum security prison following the deadliest massacre in modern New Zealand history.

Tarrant did not enter a plea and was remanded in custody until his next court appearance on June 14. But at Friday's court hearing he was represented by two lawyers.

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But, she said, in the end a deed aimed at dividing people had "united us" instead.

The prosecutors were also considering whether to lay charges against Tarrant under the seldom-used Terrorism Suppression Act, which was introduced after the September 11, 2000 United States terrorist attacks, reports The New Zealand Herald. "He looks insane and it was very upsetting", he said after the hearing.

Thousands of visitors to the reopened Al Noor mosque, where 42 people were killed, have offered condolences and sought to learn more about Islam, said Israfil Hossain, who recites the daily call to prayer there.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has called the mosque killings a well-planned "terrorist attack" and taken immediate steps to tighten the country's gun laws.

Although journalists were able to attend and take notes, coverage of the hearing was restricted, with media only allowed to publish pixellated images of Tarrant that obscure his face.

"You were quick to mention this is not the New Zealand that you know".

The judge presiding over the mosque murder case in Christchurch is likely to restrict reporting of some of the trial, if the man is charged with terrorism.

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