An Exemplary Judgement

R v TARRANT [2020] NZHC 2192 [27 August 2020]

Hearing: 24-27 August 2020
Appearances: M N Zarifeh, B Hawes and P Norman (K Grau and H Lafraie on behalf of the victims) for Crown

Defendant in Person
PHB Hall QC and C J Lange as Standby Counsel
K H Cook as Amicus Curiae

Judgment: 27 August 2020


[1] Brenton Harrison Tarrant, you are for sentence this morning for the murder of 51 people and for your attempt to murder 40 other individuals. You are also to be sentenced for engaging in a terrorist act on 15 March last year.

The facts:

[2] On that Friday morning you travelled from Dunedin to this city to attack two Christchurch mosques with the purpose of killing as many of the attending worshippers as you could.

[3] You had with you some six firearms, including semi-automatic shotguns and two military style semi-automatic rifles, and a large amount of ammunition. You carried four incendiary devices that you intended to use to burn down the mosques. You wore military style clothing and a bulletproof vest that contained at least seven magazines and a knife. On your helmet you mounted a strobe light to confuse your victims and a camera to provide a livestream to an online audience.

[4] After arriving in Christchurch and while in the vicinity of the Al Noor Mosque you sent a document, described as your “manifesto”, to an extremist website. You sent emails containing threats to attack the Christchurch mosques to the government and to various national and international media organisations, to which you also attached your manifesto. These messages were sent only minutes before your attack and
provided no opportunity to the authorities to intervene.

[5] The ideological motivation for your attack is readily apparent from the people you sought to target and the document you distributed. On your weapons you wrote references to the Crusades and recent terror attacks, and marked them with various symbols, including those of the Nazi SS. Your extremist views and motivation were plain.

[6] You parked your vehicle in a driveway next to the Al Noor Mosque and made your final preparations. It is estimated that some 190 worshippers had gathered at the Mosque for prayers. Predominantly men of various ages, the congregation also included women and children. You chose Friday prayers because you knew a large number of people would be assembling at the Mosque on that day at that particular time.

[7] You took with you two semi-automatic firearms and multiple magazines and made your way along the footpath to the Mosque. At that time four worshippers, Mounir Soliman, Syed Ali, Amjad Hamid and Hussein Moustafa, were at the Mosque’s front entrance. Without warning you discharged the shotgun multiple times in quick succession, killing each of them. A wounded Mr Moustafa was despatched by you at point-blank range with shots to his back and head.

[8] As you made your way down the hallway of the Mosque to the main prayer area you shot Ata Mohammad Ata Elayyan and Ali Elmadani, murdering both men. You then entered the main prayer room at the rear of the building. There were over 120 worshippers present. They had heard the gunfire. Appreciating that something was very wrong, they moved to each side of the large open prayer area to where there were single exits in each corner.

[9] When you entered the main prayer room you initially fired at worshippers who were lying on the ground. You shot Ziyaad Shah. You then turned to the two large groups gathered on each side of the prayer area. There was little chance of escape. You fired your semi-automatic firearm into the mass of people on one side of the room. The rate of fire was extremely rapid. You repeatedly moved your weapon across that side of the room before turning to the other group of trapped people on the opposite side.

[10] As you turned your semi-automatic weapon on these worshippers, Naeem Rashid ran at you. Despite being shot, he crashed into you, forcing you down on one knee and dislodging a magazine from your vest. Mr Rashid had been hit in the shoulder and, as he lay on his back, you fired further shots at him. Mr Rashid died but his bravery allowed a number of his fellow worshippers to escape.

[11] By this stage you had emptied a 60-round magazine. You replaced that with another. Standing in the middle of the room, you fired rapid bursts towards each side of the prayer room where people were trying to hide or were attempting to escape. After reloading yet again, you continued to shoot at persons lying prone or trying to escape. You discharged rapid bursts across both sides of the room before approaching
individual victims and shooting them. As Ashraf Ragheb sought to escape from a side room down the hallway to the main entrance, you shot and killed him. Already there were many dead.

[12] You moved closer to each now piled group of people lying deceased, wounded or feigning death on each side of the main prayer room. Worshippers, who were either crying out for help or who appeared to be alive, were systematically shot in the head. One of those was a three-year-old child, Mucaad Ibrahim. He was clinging to his father’s leg and you murdered him with two aimed shots.

[13] At this point you made your way out of the Mosque, checking prone victims as you went to ensure they were dead. Outside you shot at people attempting to flee. You shot Mohammad Faruk in the back, killing him. Wasseim Daragmih and his four year-old daughter received life-threatening wounds. You fired in the opposite direction, hitting Sazada Akhter in the spine. She will be confined to a wheelchair for the rest of her life.

[14] Having run out of ammunition, you discarded your weapon and returned to your vehicle where you armed yourself with another military style semi-automatic firearm fitted with two 40-round magazines. You fired this weapon down a side driveway towards the back of the Mosque, murdering Muse Awale and Hamza Alhaj Mustafa, a 16-year-old boy who had escaped from the main prayer room and was sheltering behind
vehicles. Another man, Mohammad Shamim Siddiqui, was critically wounded.

[15] You then returned to the main prayer room. As you entered you saw Md Hoq, who was wounded,sitting up against a window. You aimed one shot at Mr Hoq, killing him instantly, before firing further shots at a group of people lying in one corner. There were some 30 deceased or critically wounded worshippers in this mass of people. You delivered fatal shots to those who were still alive.

[16] You then reloaded your weapon and walked over to the group of people lying in the opposite corner and fired into them. You noticed Haji Nabi attempting to shelter behind a small wall. With two carefully aimed shots you murdered Mr Nabi before walking to within a metre of the piled group and firing further shots into those who were either deceased or mortally wounded. Any persons who showed signs of life were shot.

[17] After exiting the Mosque for the second time you saw two women attempting to escape. You shot Ansi Karippakulam Alibava and Husna Ahmed. Ms Ahmed was killed. Ms Karippakulam Alibava was wounded. While she lay on the street, pleading for help, you murdered this defenceless young woman, firing two shots at her from point-blank range. You then returned to your vehicle and inflicted the indignity of driving over her body as she lay in front of the driveway from which you exited.

[18] As you drove away from the Al Noor Mosque you continued to shoot at anyone who you considered should be the target of your hate. You discharged a shotgun at two men who appeared to be of African descent. A short distance on you saw Muhammad Nasir and his son walking towards the Mosque dressed in traditional clothing. You again discharged the shotgun, seriously wounding Mr Nasir, before actioning the weapon again and pointing it directly at the boy who was trying to hide behind a wall. You pulled the trigger but it failed to fire.

[19] You then sped away, driving directly to the Linwood Islamic Centre. On the way you came abreast of another vehicle being driven by a Fijian man. You pointed your shotgun at him. Despite repeated attempts to discharge the shotgun it failed to fire.

[20] When you got to Linwood you approached the Mosque on foot down a long driveway, armed with yet another firearm. You saw three people in and around a car. You shot Ghulam Hussain in the head, killing him, before firing at and wounding Muhammad Raza who had got out of the other side of the vehicle. You shot another occupant of the car, Karam Bibi, before advancing up the driveway, where you saw Mr Raza attempting to find cover behind a fence. He attempted to retreat from you. Despite his pleas to spare him, you murdered him. A wounded Ms Bibi sought to hide
in front of the vehicle. You walked to within metres of her as she lay prone with her head buried in her hands, stood over her, and killed her.

[21] You then advanced towards the Mosque. As you passed a window you saw the silhouette of Mohammed Khan. You murdered him with a single shot to the head. With your weapon now empty, you ran down the driveway back to your vehicle. As you reached the car, Abdul Aziz Wahabazadah, who had courageously followed you down the driveway, challenged you. You retrieved another semi-automatic rifle from your vehicle and fired at him. He dived between some parked cars, before you walked back up the driveway to the main entrance to the Mosque.

[22] There were several people standing inside the entranceway and further into the building at whom you repeatedly fired. You killed Musa Patel. Walking further into the Mosque, you shot and killed Linda Armstrong. People were huddled in corners of the room or trying to escape as you fired your weapon, killing Mohamad Mohamedhosen. You continued to fire the semi-automatic rifle until it ran out of ammunition, at which point you dropped it and ran back to your vehicle.

[23] Mr Wahabazadah chased you down the driveway, yelling at you. You removed the bayonet from your vest but retreated in the face of his advance. As you began driving away, Mr Wahabazadah got close enough to throw one of your discarded weapons at your vehicle.

[24] After leaving the Linwood Mosque, your intention was to drive to Ashburton to attack another mosque, but your vehicle was rammed off the road by a police car and you were apprehended by two armed police officers. You were anxious not to be shot and offered no resistance.

[25] When interviewed by police, you told them that you had gone to both mosques with the intention of killing as many people as you could. You regretted not having the opportunity to burn the mosques down by using the incendiary devices, and that you had not been able to shoot more people.

[26] You confirmed to police the ideological motivation for your self-described “terror attacks”, which was reflected in the document you distributed immediately before committing mass murder.

Victim impact statements
[27] I have read all the victim impact statements from well over 200 victims and listened with much sadness to those who have presented their statements in court. In addition, I have received statements from the Muslim Association of Canterbury, the Islamic Women’s Council of New Zealand, the Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand, Cashmere High School and the Canterbury Interfaith Society, for which I am grateful. Mr Lafraie has presented a statement in court that reflects the impact of your dreadful offending on the Muslim community.

Murder victims
[28] Forty-four unarmed and defenceless people were murdered by you at the Al Noor Mosque.

[29] Among them were Khaled Alhaj-Mustafa and his 16-year-old son, Hamza. You grievously wounded another son, who was just 13 years old. He has been left with wounds and a bullet in his leg that will always remind him of the terrible day you killed his father and brother. His mother has been left to look after him and a younger child. She tells me that she often cries alone at night. Mr Alhaj-Mustafa’s widow is scared thinking of her children’s future and how she will be able to take care of them. This shattered family must somehow cope with life without their loved ones.

[30] Syed Jahandad Ali was a software engineer and the father of three children, all under five years of age. His wife is fearful for their children and for their future without him. She must now raise and support her family by herself.

[31] Amjad Kasem Hamid was a respected and skilled physician. An expert in cardiac care, he was a dedicated doctor and a compassionate man. He was a husband and a father. His wife of 24 years and their two sons are deeply affected by his murder. Their loss is unbearable — the circumstances of his death unbelievable.

[32] Ata Mohammad Ata Elayyan was a caring son and a devoted husband and father. He loved his family, neighbours and colleagues. He loved all people, and was loved by them. He represented New Zealand in his chosen sport of futsal and was a leader in his field of information technology. He was a gifted man. His family must now somehow go on and live without him. His wife, who came to this country to share her life with him, must now live with the indescribable pain of his loss and raise their young daughter without him. She described him as a “good New Zealander”
whose “legacy will live forever”

[33] Ali Mah’d Abdullah Elmadani owned his own taxi after retiring as an engineer. He and his wife and children moved to this country more than 20 years ago. Mr Elmadani was “the pillar” of the family. His death has left his wife and his teenage son distraught. The family is broken and they are left struggling with daily life without him.

[34] Naeem Rashid was undertaking postgraduate study at Lincoln University and teaching at various business colleges after a career in international banking. Mr Rashid died defending his fellow worshippers and his 21-year-old son, Talha, who was also murdered that day. Mr Rashid was an honourable man. As his wife has told me, the brave way he and his son died was are a reflection of his life. Talha had recently started his career as a civil engineer. He was, in his mother’s words, an amazing son and older brother to his younger siblings. Both were fine men — their loss will hurt forever.

[35] Ashraf El-Moursy Ragheb’s widow was also at the Mosque that day. She was able to get to a place of relative safety, but she experienced the terror of the attack, as so many other survivors did, and lived through the dread at the hospital of hearing that her beloved husband was dead — she has not felt safe since. Mr Ragheb was a kind and forgiving man who, I am told, always had a big smile on his face. He was deeply loved by his wife and two children.

[36] Mohammad Omar Faruk was a welder. He died before he could see his unborn daughter, and his widow is alone and shaken. Their child will never know her father, and Mr Faruk’s mother has lost her only son. She is heartbroken.

[37] Muse Nur Awale was such a big part of his family’s lives. They are at a loss without him. He taught them about the Quran, and his teaching and friendship is greatly missed. His wife has lost her lifelong companion. They will never again be able to share their love and happiness together.

[38] Md Mojammel Hoq was a trained dentist. He was a very gentle man — softly spoken — he worked hard to support his family. They have been left bereft by his murder.

[39] Haji Mohemmed Daoud Nabi was a 71-year-old who had been married to his wife for 46 years. He was a role model and leader to his family; a best friend to his children and to his wife. For them the pain and anguish never goes away. Mrs Nabi describes herself as “alive, but not living”. You effectively took her life as you took Mr Nabi’s. She and her children suffer every day. As Mr Nabi’s daughter said to me in her statement, they are living their own sentence.

[40] Ansi Karippakulam Alibava’s husband found her lying on the road. He sat down beside her until police told him it was not safe. He knew when ambulance staff were not treating her that she had died. He is devastated. He finds himself constantly reminded of the events of that day and the loss of his dear wife. He can find no solace.

[41] Abukadir Elmi was at the Mosque that day with his wife, son, daughter-in-law and grandchild. The family have lost their mentor — the person they relied on for advice and support. Mr Elmi did everything for his wife. His son must now assume that responsibility.

[42] Abdelfattah Qasem was a kind-hearted, selfless and hardworking husband and father who helped his neighbours and friends. For 32 years he and his wife used to hold hands. She no longer has him to hold hands with — instead she faces retirement alone. Mr Qasem will never meet his grandson, who was born two months after he died. The family has lost their pillar and is forever traumatised by his death.

[43] Zakaria Bhuiya’s widow has told me that he was her whole life. She has been left alone in this country and her life is difficult. Mr Bhuiya was a caring person who looked after his family. He would send money to his parents in Bangladesh to help support them, but their lives and those of their family have now changed forever.

[44] Kamal Darwish had a wife and three young children. He worked on a farm in Ashburton and was soon to be joined by his family. They miss him so much. The children continue to ask for their father. Your actions have destroyed that family, as they have so many other families. At times his widow does not know how to go on. He came to this country because he thought it was a good, safe place to live. The day after attending her son’s funeral, Mr Darwish’s mother died — the family believe it was from a broken heart.

[45] Ozair Kadir was training to be an airline pilot like his big brother. His death has left a scar on the hearts of his proud parents. His murder haunts his father.

[46] Muhammad Suhail Shahid left a wife he had known from childhood and two little daughters, aged five and four. They keep asking for their “Papa”. They cannot understand why he is not here. Mr Shahid’s widow is alone and scared. She tries to be strong but she is in despair for her lost husband.

[47] Haroon Mahmood’s wife has told me that the murder of her husband has turned her and their two children’s lives upside down. They are devastated by the loss of their extremely loving and caring dad, but their mother is determined that they will not be bowed by your crimes.

[48] Lilik Abdul Hamid’s widow wakes in the night terrified and afraid for
her future without her husband. She is alone and her loneliness makes her depressed. Mr Hamid’s daughter lives in fear of strangers and has become timid and untrusting of people.

[49] Junaid Ismail’s wife and three children must live without the love, protection and care that he should have been entitled to provide as a husband and father. His bereaved mother must summon the strength to keep going without her respected, gentle and humble son. Mr Ismail’s sister and brother are determined that his legacy will be carried on through his children and that they will become confident and proud New Zealanders, like their father.

[50] Ashraf Ali (Razak) was a forgiving man — a generous and caring person who loved to visit New Zealand to see his daughter, and his brother and sisters. His daughter has told me that he treated her like a princess. She may never come to terms with his passing.

[51] Osama Adnan Abukwaik’s brother has told me of how he shared a room with Mr Abukwaik as they grew up together and watched him become a man and a father. He does not want to speak of him in the past tense and wonders if that will ever seem right.

[52] Tariq Rashid Omar was a fine young man — a geologist and a footballer. His family spoke of him with eloquence and grace — a fitting reflection of their love for him. So much of what they said applies to all who fell. The loss of their special son, brother and grandson is intolerable. I cannot do justice to their words.

[53] Sayyad Ahmad Milne was a precious 14-year-old boy with his whole life
before him. His murder has left a huge hole in his parents’ hearts. Despite his father’s resilience and forgiveness, they grieve for him deeply.

[54] Mucaad Aden Ibrahim was younger still — a three-year-old infant. His father described him as “the happiness of the household” — a vibrant young boy who made friends with everyone he met. No family can recover from the murder of such a small child.

[55] Farhaj Ahsan was an engineer by profession. He was described to me as an honest, sincere and noble son; a caring husband and devoted father; a gentleman, humble and much loved. His murder has caused enormous emotional damage to the health and wellbeing of his family.

[56] Ahmed Gamal Abdel Ghany’s widow has told me that he was a kind and decent man who was much loved by his family. He had a sense of humour that I am told “makes you laugh from the bottom of your heart”. His wife has been left lonely and hopeless. His son’s life has changed completely.

[57] Hussein Al-Umari’s proud father has told me of his son’s love for his mother and his sister and of how Mr Al-Umari came to this country as a nine-year-old boy — their pain will never go away. I have seen a photo of Mr Al-Umari and his family enjoying a backyard picnic — it is such a Kiwi scene. His sister has described her brother and best friend as the backbone of their family — a person that would not hesitate to help someone in trouble. His mother weeps every day for her special young man, yet, in an extraordinary act of humanity, she offered you her forgiveness.

[58] Syed Areeb Ahmed was a chartered accountant. His family was very proud of him. He was a good son; kind, intelligent and handsome. He had a strong bond with his little sister. He cared and looked after them. Their small family has been broken by his loss.

[59] Maheboob Allarakha Khokhar was visiting family in New Zealand with his wife. They were an older couple — his widow cannot accept he is no more. His grandchildren still ask “where is Dada” and his son and daughter find the pain of his loss hard to live with.

[60] Matiullah Safi’s death has left his wife, his children and his mother distraught. He was a loving and caring man who was a strong role model for his sons. He was much respected by them, and by the rest of his family and friends.

[61] Ramiz Arifbhai Vora spent the morning of 15 March with his parents visiting his wife in Christchurch hospital. She had recently given birth to their daughter. He never got to hold his baby. He and his father, Arif Mohamedali Vohra went to the Mosque where both were murdered. Ramiz had a dream for his family to have a life in New Zealand. Despite all the adversity, his wife is determined to honour her husband’s wishes and make a life here for herself and their young daughter who will never have the opportunity to meet her father.

[62] Ashraf Ali would have celebrated his 40th wedding anniversary with his wife this year. They were both so happy. She cannot believe he is gone — she still waits for him to come home. Mr Ali was a well-respected man in the Muslim community who helped many people. He was calm, generous and kind. His loving family still cannot understand how he could be taken from them in such circumstances. They are heartbroken. Their family no longer feels whole.

[63] Mohsen Mohammed Al Harbi was a caring person, described by a friend as like a father to him. He loved New Zealand and believed that its people were kind and decent. He is greatly missed.

[64] Zekeriya Tuyan was an electronics engineer. Honest and hardworking, he was respected by all. He succumbed to his wounds in Christchurch Hospital and became the 51st martyr. He left two young boys who no longer have their beloved “Baba” to cuddle and jump over, as they did when they greeted him each day. He will not be there to lead and guide them. His wife has told me that he was the love of her life.

[65] Also murdered at the Al Noor Mosque and taken from their families and loved ones were Mounir Soliman, Hussein Mohamed Khalil Moustafa, Muhammad Abdus Samad, Husna Ahmed and Muhammad Haziq Mohd-Tarmizi.

[66] You murdered another seven people at the Linwood Islamic Centre.

[67] Ghulam Hussain and Karam Bibi were the parents of Muhammad Zeshan Raza — three members of the same family brutally murdered. Their daughter – Mr Raza’s sister — is the only one left. Their deaths have left a gaping emotional void that cannot be filled.

[68] Mohammed Imran Khan left a wife and a 14-year-old son. The impact of his death has been devastating on Mrs Khan. She now faces life with many fears, mostly for her son who needs his father. They will never be the same people again.

[69] Musa Vali Suleman Patel was a revered Iman, who has been described to me by his family as a wonderful man who provided an example to them of faith, strength and love; a man dedicated to supporting others. I am told he died in the embrace of his wife and the embrace of his faith, but that cannot ease the grief and shock of his wife and children who are trying to make sense of the killing of this warm and loving man who welcomed all people of all races and cultures.

[70] Mohamad Moosid Mohamedhosen was described by his sister as an
adventurous man who came to New Zealand to enjoy this “serene place”. I am told he was a man who was full of life, peaceful and generous. His family rallied from all over the world to be with their lost loved one upon hearing the terrible news.

[71] Linda Armstrong was described by her daughter as vivacious and colourful. Greatly loved by her family, she moved to Christchurch to be close to her two grandchildren and to their mother with whom she had such a strong bond. Describing her as “a vibrant force for goodness”, her daughter struggles to cope with her murder and, as with all the families of those murdered that day, with not being able to say goodbye.

Attempted murder victims
[72] You inflicted gunshot wounds to 40 other people who you attempted to murder that day. Many of them suffered grievous and lifelong injuries.

[73] Mostafa Abdelmonem is a dairy farmer who was shot in the arm. He has had two surgeries and has suffered lead poisoning from the bullet fragments. Despite the hurt and the pain, he is now back at work. He has told me that he will not allow one person’s actions to stop him from praying to his God.

[74] Rahimi Ahmad was shot through his side and stomach. A bullet travelled to his spinal cord. Through three months in hospital, four surgeries, and many more months of rehabilitation, Mr Ahmad has fought to walk again but he remains in great pain. He agonises for his 11-year-old son who witnessed the terror of that day and who must carry those memories for the rest of his life.

[75] Osman Aweys Ahmed was shot in the back and, like so many others, will always have bullet fragments in his body. He remains in pain which at times is unbearable. He is haunted by the images he saw that day.

[76] Sazada Akhter was found lying on the road. She received a gunshot wound to her chest and her spine was fractured. This young woman is now confined to a wheelchair and will need special care for the rest of her life. She is only 26 years old. Both her and her husband’s lives have changed profoundly. The couple do not know if they can ever have children and they are distressed and fearful for their futures.

[77] Hisham Khalifa Al Zarzour was hit by two bullets. Complications from those wounds resulted in him suffering a heart attack and he has nerve damage to his leg. His recovery has been slow and he will likely have some degree of pain for the rest of his life. He has not been able to work and that has put financial stress on his family. He finds himself unable to put the horror of the terrorist attack behind him or to be able to plan for the future.

[78] Mohammad Atta Alayan was shot in the shoulder and head. Despite the
seriousness of his injuries, the pain pales compared to losing his beloved son, Ata: his “angel with a beautiful smile”.

[79] Basil Arsan Mustafa Ass’ad was shot four times and received wounds to his thigh, shoulder blade, arm and mouth. He has had multiple surgeries and will have to undergo further operations to remove shotgun fragments. He has been unable to work, and this has caused considerable financial difficulties for his family. His inability to care for his young child has caused further stress, and he finds himself emotionally fragile. His wife feels vulnerable and continues to fear for her safety.

[80] Six bullets were removed from Temel Atacocugu’s body, three remain. He has required multiple long surgeries and, again like so many others, must bear the pain and mental anguish, not just from the permanent injuries with which he must now cope but from the horrific experience he lived through.

[81] Mustafa Boztas was shot in the thigh and shrapnel entered his liver. The nightmare of what he lived though and his leg injuries have prevented him from completing his welding training, and he has not been able to work.

[82] Wasseim Sati Ali Daragmih was shot three times as he sought to protect his little girl. He has undergone seven surgeries with the possibility of more to remove the bullet fragments.

[83] His daughter, a four-year-old girl at the time, received a gunshot wound that resulted in a massive haemorrhage, cardiac arrest and other critical complications. She was in a coma and had to be flown to Starship Children’s Hospital in Auckland. There she remained in intensive care for a month. The little girl has had 14 surgeries for her injuries. No child should be subjected to such pain and such violence. She and her family have suffered terribly from what they have been through.

[84] Feroz Mohammed Ditta was shot three times. He has lost most of his calf muscle. Despite four surgeries there still remains shrapnel in his leg and Mr Ditta has had to sell his freight business.

[85] Ahmad Shah Feroz was shot three times in the back. He has more than 200 pieces of shrapnel remaining in his body which need to be removed by more surgery. His injuries and the process of recovery have been very painful. He has difficulty walking and sleeping, and now requires the assistance of a walking stick. His family are very worried for his health.

[86] Taj Mohammad Kamran was shot three times in the same leg — shrapnel will remain in his body and he has nerve damage that causes pain in his leg and back that cannot be eased. He too can only walk with the aid of a stick. The trauma and stress make him feel hopeless.

[87] Hazem Mohammed is a 65-year-old man who was trapped in the Al Noor Mosque when the shooting began. He was shot at point-blank range while lying on the ground, attempting to feign death. The bullet narrowly missed his head, going into his shoulder which is now damaged and painful. There is nothing more that the surgeons can do. Mr Mohammed struggled to sleep for months after the attack and his family has been under great stress. Like so many, he cannot get the images and sounds of what he experienced that day out of his head. He carries great sadness for those who died.

[88] A 13-year-old boy was shot by you in the thigh and spine, but the greatest loss for this teenage boy was the death of his father and his older brother. It is hard for his bereaved mother to watch him and his sister trying to cope without their father and brother. No one can replace them.

[89] Shah Nawaz has lost the full function of his leg and hip. He was shot three times. Mr Nawaz was initially confined to a wheelchair and has now slowly moved to crutches. He is still undertaking therapy and fears he will not be able to walk the same way he used to. He, like many of those present at the mosques, cannot sleep because of the nightmares. His injuries and psychological scars have changed his life forever. He finds this difficult to accept and his family has gone though much trauma.

[90] Mohd Nazril Bin Hisham Omar was shot in both feet and in his back. He was unable to walk for three months and must still carry a walking stick with him. He finds it difficult to sleep because of the pain and the terrible memories. He must take pain medication and finds the physical parts of his job difficult. He is always worried that someone else will commit another attack and fears for his children’s safety. The simplest tasks, such as dressing, are a struggle, and the nerve damage has left him shaking. At times he has become depressed and felt like giving up.

[91] Mark Anthony Rangi was visiting from Australia. He did not initially think he was wounded after running from the Al Noor Mosque, but he had been shot. He had bullet fragments in his leg and has suffered nerve damage. Mr Rangi struggled to walk for a long time and this resulted in him losing his job. Despite the damage to his leg he is no longer in pain, but at times he becomes very upset. He finds himself looking at people differently and not trusting people as he once did.

[92] Sheikh Rubel is married with a young daughter and newborn baby. He was shot three times. He suffered a broken pelvis, damage to his lower intestine and broken toes. He spent two months in hospital, and has been absent from his work for a long time. He may now have a permanent disability. He, too, has sleepless nights and bad dreams. He cannot lift his daughters or go out for a walk, and no longer has a normal life. When he watches his mates playing cricket and football he realises his life has
changed maybe forever. He fears that because of the pain and the mental anguish, he may not be able to return to his accounting job which he enjoyed so much and he is worried for the future of his young family and their financial situation.

[93] Adeeb Ahmad Sami Adeeb received multiple gunshot wounds and required multiple surgeries to remove bullet fragments from his kidney, spleen and shoulders. He struggles with day-to-day tasks and knows there is a long way ahead to recovery, both physically and mentally. He will likely have to curb the travel he undertakes as part of his job as an engineer. He hopes that as the years pass you will reflect on your actions, see past the hate that is in you and find peace and love.

[94] Al Seenawi is a 63-year-old grandfather who spent six weeks in hospital and can no longer walk without the aid of crutches. It will take at least three years for the nerve damage in his leg to repair to allow him to walk again properly. If it does not heal he will be on crutches for the rest of his life. Mr Seenawi can no longer play with his granddaughters. His life and that of his family has changed forever.

[95] Ziyaad Shah was shot three times. He too finds it difficult to sleep because of the pain and the horrific memories. Only a few months ago he underwent yet more surgery. Mr Shah came to New Zealand to raise his children in a safer country. He refuses to be intimidated by your hatred.

[96] Fawad Sharifzai sustained multiple gunshot wounds. He still has bullet
fragments in his lungs, liver and shoulder. The fragments in his lung cause him difficulty breathing and toxic elements from those fragments further endanger his health. Mr Sharifzai has been left depressed and psychologically scarred by the attack. He is haunted by the memories of those who were killed in front of him and seeing his best friend die. He finds himself at times very confused and disillusioned.
Mr Sharifzai is heavily reliant on his family. He is deeply worried for their future and fears not being able to take care of them.

[97] Mohammad Shamim Siddiqui has told me how he and his family’s happy life in Christchurch has been shattered. Mr Siddiqui was shot in the arm. He has not been able to go back to work and his family have suffered financially, but it is the emotional trauma that has affected him and his family most deeply.

[98] Abbas Ashenafi Tahir was shot in the back. He remembers blood coming out of his mouth that day and handing his phone to a woman holding his wound to tell his pregnant wife what had happened to him as he could not talk. He woke up three days later in hospital. Days of intensive care and weeks in hospital led Mr Tahir to finally being discharged, but he must now live with the pain of his wound. He has trouble sleeping. He thinks of the people who died in front of him and he often feels scared
and worried for his family.

[99] Motasim Uddin was shot in the leg. He underwent four surgeries, including a bone graft, and spent three and a half months recovering at Burwood Hospital. He still needs help to shower, toilet and dress himself. He must use crutches and has not been able to return to his job as a welder. He fears not being able to support his family. He, too, cannot sleep well, both because of the pain and the vivid memories of witnessing people dying, and running and not being able to get out. He remembers all the blood.

[100] Mirwais Waziri was shot in the head. A piece of shrapnel remains there. Mr Waziri has experienced war in Afghanistan but, as he has said to me, this was different. This was not fighting — this was murder. Mr Waziri has felt a dreadful sense of loss and remains anxious and fearful. At night when he tries to sleep he hears the cries of the injured and dying.

[101] Shahzad Ali Zamurrad is grateful that his injuries were relatively minor. He received a bullet injury to his ribs and bruises and cuts to his legs. He has, however, been deeply affected and struggles to deal with what happened to him. He is taking the small steps necessary to deal with his feelings and restore his health.

[102] Those also wounded at the Al Noor Mosque were: Azmat Hussain, who
suffered multiple lacerations to his arm and a gunshot wound to his lower back; Muhammad Amin Nasir, who received a gunshot wound to his chest; Mohd Tarmizi Bin Shuib, who was shot in his lower back, as was Ahmede Yesuf; Aseel Sulaiman Alansari, who was shot in the leg; and MD Omar Jahid, who received a gunshot wound to his shoulder.

[103] At the Linwood Islamic Centre five people who you attempted to murder were left seriously wounded.

[104] Salwa Hossien El Shazly is a 68-year-old married woman with three adult children and five grandchildren. Since arriving in this country in 1996, she has been heavily involved in the Christchurch community. She was present at the Mosque with her husband, Ibrahim, and their youngest son, Mostafa. Mrs El Shazly was shot in the arm. She has physically recovered but, like all those present at the two mosques, she is deeply affected by having witnessed the murder of her friends and fellow worshippers. She is not the same person she once was, and because of the memories of what happened she is unable to return to the Linwood Mosque.

[105] Ahmed Iqbal Jahangir is still receiving ongoing treatment to repair nerve damage to his arm and will require further surgery. He has had to sell his restaurant and is unsure when he can return to work and to a normal life. He will likely have to take pain medication for the rest of his life, and remains deeply disturbed by what he experienced.

[106] Sahadat Mohammad was at the Mosque when he was shot in the shoulder. He has required four operations, including a bone graft. The injury is extremely painful and his shoulder will never be the same. Some pieces of the bullets are near his heart and some pieces in his lungs, which sometimes affects his breathing. They cannot be removed because the surgeons fear more damage will be caused by attempting to do so. Mr Mohammad is unsure whether he will be able to work as a chef again.

[107] Zulfirman Syah and his two-year-old son were shot. Mr Syah suffered a fractured back and ribs, injuries to his forearm and thigh and other life-changing critical injuries. The child was also hit by bullets and sustained internal injuries. Both carry fragments of those bullets in their bodies. Mr Syah lost consciousness while speaking to his wife on the phone from the floor of the Mosque as his little son lay with him for comfort on top of his seemingly lifeless body. The child is deeply traumatised from his experience. It is difficult to grasp the terrible physical and psychological impact on this family, and the resulting financial and emotional strain that has been inflicted upon them.

Terrorism victims
[108] The people who you killed and wounded were not the only victims. All those who were present or in the immediate vicinity of the two mosques have suffered deeply from their experience, as has the wider Muslim community.

[109] People witnessed scenes that no one should have to experience. They must live with those memories and the terrible fear they suffered that day. The severe debilitating effects of this lasting trauma and post-traumatic stress have been profound – anxiety, survivor guilt, fear, grief and anger are common. Many must also endure insomnia and nightmares and a continual deep sense of sadness. Some have been devastated from what they went through, and their lives forever altered.

[110] The mosques were places of sanctuary. This country too, considered
internationally to be one of the safest and most secure in the world, was also seen as a place of refuge and safety by many who you targeted. I have little doubt that you chose to come to this country to target New Zealand’s Muslim community for that very reason. As a result of your terrorism you have caused people to question their safety in their own community.

[111] The violation of houses of worship — places of peace reserved for prayer, family and community — has caused worshippers to doubt their safety at those places and people have lost confidence. Those intended effects of your crime must not be allowed to stand. Your victims have shown extraordinary resilience, but I cannot ignore the damage you have done to the sense of security and wellbeing of members of the Muslim community, both in Christchurch and more widely throughout New Zealand as a whole.

Personal background
[112] Mr Tarrant, you are a 29-year-old Australian man who travelled to live in Dunedin in 2017. You had no family or other apparent connections with New Zealand and have never sought employment here. Before or shortly after your arrival you began to plan a terrorist attack on people of this country.

[113] Your upbringing in a small New South Wales town was unremarkable. You have no criminal history. It appears that while travelling in Europe you developed deep-seated radical views regarding the migrant population of some Western countries and beliefs about the so-called “cultural displacement” of Europeans in those countries. You began formulating ideas of taking violent action against people — people you described as “the invaders”, and in particular those of the Muslim faith. You were attracted to and adopted the views of far right white supremacists.

[114] Having resolved to take violent action in furtherance of your extreme
ideological beliefs, you used your time here to plan and prepare. Members of your family with whom you maintained some contact became increasingly concerned about your radical outlook and racist views. You adopted an isolated lifestyle, living alone in rented accommodation. Your focus appears to have been on following far right websites, acquiring high powered firearms — some of military specification, large amounts of ammunition of various calibres, and other military paraphernalia and equipment. You obtained a New Zealand firearms licence and practised the use of your guns at various rifle clubs. Apart from some further travel in December 2018, your sole objective was the planning and execution of your long-conceived plan to attack the Muslim community.

[115] You have no apparent mental disorders or psychiatric conditions, nor do you present with any clinically significant cognitive impairments. One of the psychiatrists who assessed you last year described you as proudly seeing yourself as a “white European ethno-nationalist” who has an “air of superiority and grandiosity which may reflect narcissistic traits”. However, there was insufficient information to make a formal diagnosis of any personality disorder. You are described as having held unusually racist beliefs since your late teens that have developed and intensified through your adult life.

[116] A clinical psychologist considered you displayed a range of traits akin to personality dysfunction but that they did not reach the level of severity to constitute a full-blown personality disorder or clinical syndrome. Your choice of violence as a solution to your anger at perceived so-called “population and cultural displacement” in Western countries was assessed as being an expression of distorted attitudes and impaired judgement that align with your maladapted personality traits and extreme overvalued beliefs.

[117] More recently you purport to have disavowed the political and ideological views that you sought to use to justify your crimes. You now claim to have abandoned these ideas completely and that you no longer believe in the things that led you to commit these terrible crimes. You have described those beliefs to the pre-sentence report writer as “not real”, that you were at the time in a “poisoned emotional state” and “terribly unhappy”. You said you felt ostracised by society and that you wanted to damage society as an act of revenge.

[118] In the weeks preceding your sentencing you told a psychiatrist that you were not thinking logically or rationally at the time of your offending and that you were acting on “delusional beliefs” that you referred to as “romantic or idealistic notions” that your death would be in the name of a cause. You suggested that as you descended into a more depressed state your thoughts became more extreme. You claimed, in going through with your plans, to have been seeking a violent end and this was the means to achieve it.

[119] This attempt by you to rationalise your actions is at odds with the account you willingly gave in the wake of your killings to police and health assessors, that your crimes were committed in the context of war against “invading” populations, and to whom you described yourself as a “partisan”. A psychiatrist who has recently interviewed you does not believe that depression was your dominant mood in the period leading up to the attacks. Far from the usually diminished interest or pleasure in almost all activities typically seen during a major depressive episode, in your case, you engaged in extensive research and planning during this time and wrote your manifesto. That exercise required you to concentrate for long periods and is inconsistent with someone suffering from a major depressive episode. Whatever symptoms of a persistent depressive disorder you may have had, if any, they were not debilitating.

[120] While you may have contemplated the risk of your death in carrying out your crimes, it is striking that you were at pains to avoid being shot at the time of your apprehension and that you were determined to survive. Your plan was to be captured alive and to use your subsequent interactions with the police and the court process to advance your ideological cause. I accept that insofar as you may have thought to use your trial as a platform, you discarded that opportunity when you pleaded guilty and have taken no steps in the course of this hearing to advance the ideology that motivated you.

[121] You have also claimed that you are not racist or xenophobic and that you did not target your victims because of their ethnicity or religion. The facts show otherwise. You have held longstanding discriminatory views against ethnic minorities that clearly evolved from your own experience, research and interaction with likeminded individuals over a relatively long period, and developed to become violently focussed on a hatred towards Muslim people. Your misconduct while on remand, at least during the early period of your incarceration, has been described as involving offence-paralleling behaviour and is said to mirror the objectives of your offending.

[122] The reliability of your changing views is described by the health assessors as questionable and is viewed as evidence of the labile nature of your personality and related mood swings. Your recent self-generated denunciation of your extreme ideology requires circumspection. It is uncorroborated, self-serving and a relatively recent phenomenon. The Court must exercise caution in assessing the genuineness of your claims that a holder of such extremist views, who is capable of manifesting those beliefs with such homicidal violence, is prepared to abandon them so easily.

[123] You have acknowledged that “nothing good” came from your crimes. While you accept what you did was — to use your words — “abhorrent and irrational”, it is not apparent, despite your claims, that you are genuinely remorseful beyond being regretful for the situation that now faces you. As far as I am able to gauge, you are empty of any empathy for your victims. You remain detached and appear entirely selfcentred. You have not displayed any discernible distress at your offending, which you recollected to the health assessors in an abstract and unemotive fashion. Stripped of your warped ideological and political trappings, you present as a deeply impaired person motivated by a base hatred for people who you perceive to be different from yourself.

Sentencing purposes
[124] Mr Tarrant, in sentencing you my prime objectives are threefold. First and foremost, to condemn your crimes and to denounce your actions. Second, to hold you accountable for the terrible harm you have caused — in plain terms, to attempt to impose some commensurate punishment. I do that on behalf of the whole community, which in particular includes the victims of your crimes and their families, all of whom are a part of New Zealand’s multicultural society. Third, there is the need to protect the community from a person capable of committing cold-blooded murder on such a scale and who presents such a grave risk to public safety.

[125] A predominant feature of your offending is that your homicidal actions constituted an act of terrorism and that your victims were targeted predominantly because of their religion but also their ethnicity, their race and their colour. I am required to impose a sentence that appropriately takes into account and reflects those particular aggravating features of your crimes and the distorted motivations that lay behind them.

[126] On the 51 charges of murder the sentences can only be one of life

[127] Attempted murder carries a maximum sentence of 14 years’ imprisonment. You have been convicted of attempting to murder 40 people. It is plain you tried to kill many more on 15 March. After your arrest you told police that you regretted not doing so. Of the 40 survivors who were shot by you and in respect of whom you were charged with attempting to murder, almost all suffered very serious life-threatening wounds. Many would have died but for the actions of fellow worshippers, passing civilians, police and paramedics, and the doctors and nurses of Christchurch Hospital.

[128] Many of the surviving victims have suffered major and permanent life-altering physical injuries and deep disabling mental trauma. Their lives have fundamentally changed. The Sentencing Act (the Act) directs that the maximum penalty prescribed for an offence must be imposed for offending that is within the most serious of cases for which that penalty is prescribed. These are such offences.

[129] Similarly, because your act of terrorism comprised the deliberate taking of so many innocent lives and the wounding and maiming of so many people, I consider the maximum sentence of life imprisonment can be the only commensurate starting point for the commission of such a crime.

Sentencing for murder and terrorism
[130] Where an offender is sentenced to life imprisonment for murder the Court must order the offender to serve a minimum period of imprisonment. That term must not be less than 10 years and must be the minimum term the Court considers necessary to hold you accountable for the harm you have done, to denounce your conduct, to meet the needs of deterrence and to protect the community. If no minimum term of imprisonment would be sufficient to satisfy any one of those sentencing purposes, the Act provides that I may order that you serve your sentence without parole.

[131] Accountability, denouncement, deterrence and protection of the community must be the Court’s focus. Those considerations are not to the exclusion of other purposes and principles of sentencing. However, the length of a minimum period of imprisonment for murder and the assessment of the adequacy of any such term is to be measured against those sentencing objectives. Aggravating and mitigating factors are applicable to the extent they are relevant to those specified purposes.

[132] Those sentencing objectives also reflect the primary sentencing considerations that have been taken into account for terrorism offending in Australia and the United Kingdom. Personal mitigating factors, including rehabilitation, are to be given less weight. Because of the ideological motivations of terrorism offenders, community protection and general deterrence are to be afforded greater importance notwithstanding that the force of such motivations may mean that such deterrence may not be effective. However, an order to serve a sentence of life imprisonment without parole can only attach, in this country, to a sentence imposed for murder.

Sentence of life imprisonment without parole
[133] An order that a murderer serve their sentence of life imprisonment without parole has not previously been made in this country. This Court has taken the view in the particular circumstances of other cases that the requisite objectives of sentencing could be achieved by the imposition of a finite minimum term. That approach has been taken in the knowledge that the sentence of life imprisonment means just that. Unless after the elapse of the minimum period of imprisonment the Parole Board can be satisfied that an offender can be safely released into the community, a person sentenced to life imprisonment will spend the rest of their life in prison.

[134] The longest minimum non-parole period imposed in this country was 30 years for the murder of three people and the attempted murder of another during the course of an aggravated robbery. A sentence of life imprisonment without parole was not available at the time. The ability to order that a murderer serve their sentence without parole was introduced in 2010 in response to a perceived societal concern regarding repeat violent offenders and the worst murder cases. An identified need was to relieve victims of the stress of having to attend parole hearings in the knowledge of the offender’s potential release.

[135] At the time of its introduction the Government acknowledged that the
imposition of life imprisonment without parole would be infrequent. However, unlike other jurisdictions, little statutory criteria or guidance was prescribed for when such an order would be appropriate. In the few New Zealand cases where the issue has been considered, this Court has observed that the grounds for making such an order need to be clear and obvious, and the objectives of sentencing not otherwise achievable by imposing a minimum period of imprisonment.

[136] In the United Kingdom a sentencing court when imposing a life sentence for murder may have regard to whether the seriousness of the offence or combination of offences is exceptionally high. Cases that would normally fall within such a category include the murder of two or more persons where each murder involves a substantial degree of premeditation or planning, and a murder that is done for the purpose of advancing a political, racial or ideological cause — criteria that apply to your crimes.

[137] If the “exceptionally high” test is met, then the appropriate starting point is, as it is termed in the United Kingdom, a whole life order, being a life sentence served without parole. After considering any mitigating or other aggravating factors not already taken into account, should the sentencing court consider a whole-of-life sentence to be appropriate it may make such an order.

[138] In this country, Parliament has provided that a life sentence without parole can be imposed in the case of the worst murders if the Court is satisfied that no minimum term would be sufficient to satisfy the prescribed purposes of sentencing an offender for such a crime. When that statutory criteria is met, the Court has a discretion to impose a whole-of-life sentence. However, the Court must not impose a punishment that is disproportionately severe — that is a sentence that is “grossly disproportionate” to the circumstances of the offending and the offender.

[139] There is European jurisprudence that indicates the imposition of a whole-of-life sentence in the absence of any effective review mechanism is incompatible with international human rights instruments. The limited grounds afforded under our legislation for release on compassionate grounds may not be considered as providing a meaningful process of review of a life sentence without parole, but it remains unclear whether such a sentence without the possibility of review would in all circumstances breach the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990.

[140] The Court of Appeal has examined the interpretation and application of the law, collectively referred to as the “three-strikes legislation”, that provides the Court with the power to impose a whole-of-life sentence for murder notwithstanding there having been no previous offending. The Court of Appeal’s focus was on offenders convicted of murder who have received a first or final warning and who this Court must sentence to life imprisonment without parole unless satisfied it would be manifestly unjust to do so.

[141] In examining how that exception should be approached in the face of the statutory presumption of a whole-of-life sentence, the Court of Appeal emphasised the essential need to comply with the constitutional requirement that the sentence must not be grossly disproportionate. By this Court approaching its task in that way, the tension between the imposition of a sentence of life imprisonment without parole, as mandated by Parliament, and the need to avoid a disproportionately severe punishment can be reconciled.

[142] There is no express presumption in favour of the imposition of a whole-of-life sentence once the Court is satisfied that no minimum term of imprisonment can satisfy one or more of the listed purposes to which it must have regard. However, while the discretion, once engaged, does not on its face appear to be constrained, the construction of the relevant section of the Act is such that once the Court has reached that position, the legislative intent that a whole-of-life sentence will be imposed appears plain. Arguably, the language of the Act admits of no other interpretation, in which case, if the Court is satisfied the statutory threshold is met, a whole-of-life sentence must be imposed despite the constitutional implications.

[143] I have chosen for the purpose of sentencing you to proceed on the basis that the Court retains its residual discretion. The overarching question therefore remains whether it would be grossly disproportionate to impose a life sentence without parole in the extraordinarily exceptional circumstances of this case where one or more of the requisite purposes of sentencing for murder cannot otherwise be achieved.

[144] In that regard, I note the Court of Appeal has recognised, although it did not decide the point, that a life sentence without parole (and implicitly without meaningful review) might be necessary to satisfy the societal requirements of accountability, denunciation, or deterrence. In making that observation it cited the examples of murders involving terrorism, or extraordinary sadism or cruelty, and the murder of multiple victims. The Court observed that the statutory power provided by the Act “provides an appropriate mechanism to achieve these purposes through open judicial assessment unaffected by a presumption”.

The offending
[145] In order to assess the length of the minimum period of imprisonment required to meet the applicable purposes of sentencing and to determine whether any minimum period would be sufficient to satisfy one or more of those purposes, the aggravating features of your crimes must be assessed. There are no mitigating features. In making that assessment, the Court is entitled to take into account all the circumstances of your conduct and the totality of your offending, including the fact that, in addition to killing so many people, you attempted to murder very many others and left scores wounded and maimed.

[146] There can be no question that the statutory criteria mandating the imposition of a minimum period of imprisonment of at least 17 years has been met. Each murder was the product of calculated and lengthy planning and was committed with a high level of cruelty and callousness. Some of your victims were children, others were murdered by you as they lay wounded and incapacitated. If a minimum period of imprisonment was to be imposed, that bare summary of aggravating features would indicate a starting point considerably higher than 17 years. A single murder committed in such circumstances would warrant such a minimum term. Your act of terrorism resulted in the murder of 51 people and the serious wounding of 40 more. That is perhaps the most salient feature of your offending, but there are other particular aspects of your crime that require further articulation.

[147] As I have previously observed, you undertook long and extensive planning. In addition to acquiring high-powered firearms, you purchased in excess of 7,000 rounds of ammunition and bought equipment solely for the purpose of carrying out your attacks. You modified the military style semi-automatic rifles in order to improve their rate of fire, and practiced their use. You obtained information about mosques located in this country, including plans and photographs of their interiors, and the details of Muslim holy days and the times when the most people would be gathering for prayer.

[148] In January 2019, you travelled to Christchurch to carry out reconnaissance of the Al Noor Mosque. You flew a drone over the building, recording an aerial view of the Mosque’s grounds, including the points of entry and egress. After settling on the targeted mosques, you analysed their layouts and the likely exit routes worshippers may take to escape. The sole purpose of this preparation was to kill as many people at each mosque as efficiently and as systematically as you could.

The use of high-powered firearms
[149] In order to kill as many people as you could, you obtained and used a number of powerful firearms that were able to deliver high rates of fire. These included two AR-15 .223 calibre military style semi-automatic rifles.

Mass killing
[150] You committed mass murder. You slaughtered unarmed and defenceless people. You maimed, wounded and crippled many others. Your victims include the young and the old, men, women and children. At one stage during your online commentary you referred to what was happening as a “firefight” — the absurdity of that lie reflected your need to mask the truth of your cowardly massacre of people who had no chance to protect themselves.

Brutal, cruel and callous violence
[151] It is self-evident that your offending constituted extreme violence. It was brutal and beyond callous — your actions were inhuman. You deliberately killed a three-year-old infant by shooting him in the head as he clung to the leg of his father. The terror you inflicted in the last few minutes of that small child’s life is but one instance of the pitiless cruelty that you exhibited throughout. There are countless more examples. You showed no mercy.

The vulnerability of victims at a place of worship
[152] Other children were present — a two-year-old boy was shot and a four-year-old girl was another of your victims — as were the elderly. Wounded people who were incapacitated and unable to escape were despatched by you in cold blood, often at point-blank range. You shot people in the back and ignored the pleas of the wounded to be spared. You advanced on them, stood over them, and viciously took their lives.

[153] Most of your victims were at prayer. You violated places of worship where people came together for peace and fellowship. Like the rest of the country, the worshippers had no inkling of the terror and carnage that was about to be perpetrated.

A terrorist act
[154] It is difficult to look beyond the wicked nature of each murder and the pain and suffering you have caused to individual victims, to their families and loved ones. However, you are not only a murderer but a terrorist.

[155] Your actions go further than demonstrating contempt for the sanctity of life. In the name of a political or ideological cause, you sought to violently intimidate the community, and coerce the country’s peaceable form of government and social order — essentially to attack New Zealand’s way of life. The beliefs upon which you rely to justify your crimes are rooted in religious and ethnic antipathy and intolerance. The hatred that lies at the heart of your hostility to particular members of the community that you came to this country to murder has no place here. It has no place anywhere.

A hate crime
[156] New Zealand rightly places great value on its diverse and culturally rich community. It recognises the contributions made by people of many racial and ethnic backgrounds and of varied faiths and cultures. Extremist beliefs and ideologies that seek to promote violence and hate are anathema to the values of acceptance, tolerance and mutual respect upon which our inclusive society is based and which this country strives to maintain. Where warped and malignant ideology manifests itself in such violence and causes such appalling harm, it is incumbent on the Court to respond in a way that decisively rejects such vicious malevolence.

[157] Your crimes were met by an unprecedented public outpouring of love and support for the people you targeted and the wider Muslim community. Your design was to divide, but the public’s response was to stand with the people of their community — with their fellow New Zealanders — to demonstrate their unqualified repudiation of your hateful agenda. You failed, but the individual and personal cost of the lives lost and the grievous wounds inflicted are immense.

[158] You have caused enormous loss and hurt. The taking of one life and the suffering of one family is an unbearable tragedy in its own right, but the widespread distress and despair you have inflicted by your offending is without precedent. You have caused terrible grief and lasting pain to so many people. Bereaved families have been left desolate and bereft. The human cost of the extraordinary harm you have done to your victims, to their families, and to the whole community is beyond measure.

Factors personal to the offender
Guilty pleas
[159] In sentencing you, I am obliged to take into account the entry of your guilty pleas. However, any credit that is to be given for pleading guilty must reflect all the circumstances in which the plea is entered, including whether it is to be regarded as an early or late plea, and the strength of the prosecution case. All relevant circumstances must be evaluated in order to truly gauge the mitigating effect of having pleaded guilty.

[160] The core justification for providing credit to an offender for pleading guilty is said to be the benefits that accrue to the criminal justice system and to its participants — what is referred to as the utilitarian value of an offender’s plea. However, your guilty pleas were not entered until over a year after the events of 15 March and in the face of overwhelming evidence, including a full confession. This considerable delay was a source of further distress to victims and victims’ families.

[161] You have recently claimed to have abandoned the ideology that motivated you and that your initial pleas of not guilty were based on a false premise of what you earlier thought you were “fighting for”. Your current stance is contrary to the reasons for your admissions to police that were essentially made in furtherance of your cause. They were a manifestation of the twisted pride you took in what you had done and were made with the same objectives that you sought to achieve from the livestreaming of your crimes.

[162] The entry of your pleas may indicate some level of insight. You have chosen not to oppose the Crown’s application that you serve your sentences of life imprisonment without parole and you gave instructions to standby counsel to that effect. You told one of the health assessors that you considered the best course for yourself and your victims was to remain silent and say nothing, and that you did not wish to come across as showing remorse in order to obtain mitigation for what you did. To my observation, however, you remain entirely self-absorbed. You have offered no apology or public acknowledgement of the harm you have caused. There is little to indicate that your pleas denote any deeply-held sense of remorse for your
victims or that you are particularly distressed at having caused such terrible grief.

[163] Your focus appears to be on yourself and the position you find yourself in. While I accept you have forsaken the opportunity to use this proceeding as a platform and appear now to accept that what you did was wrong, you appear neither contrite nor ashamed. Your regret appears centred on the waste of your own life in the realisation that your crimes were irrational and unjustifiable, rather than for the innocent lives that you have taken.

[164] The recognition that is to be afforded to guilty pleas is not limited to the motivation of the offender for their entry. The Crown has properly acknowledged that, even if not a marker of true remorse, there remains a benefit to the justice system from an offender pleading guilty, and merit in having saved victims the trauma of reliving events through a trial which I am required to take into account in sentencing you.

[165] For murder there is a statutory presumption that a life sentence will be imposed. The isolated fact that a murderer has pleaded guilty will not by itself be sufficient to disturb the imposition of that indeterminate sentence. It has been submitted that the only meaningful way of recognising your guilty pleas is for the Court to step back from the imposition of a sentence of life imprisonment without parole. However, I do not consider the entry of your guilty pleas in relation to such a binary issue has that effect.

[166] As with the aggravating features of your offending, all mitigating factors are required to be taken into account when assessing whether the prescribed purposes of sentencing in respect of the charges of murder can be satisfied. Having weighed all the relevant circumstances, I do not consider your guilty pleas, either alone or in combination with any other matters personal to you, would be capable of displacing a sentence of life imprisonment without parole, should that be the conclusion I reach. I do not consider that mitigating aspect is sufficiently strong to have such a profound influence on the final effective sentence. Should a minimum term of imprisonment be adequate, an appropriate adjustment can be made.

[167] For the same reasons, I consider a sentence of life imprisonment for a terrorist act that involves the massacre of so many people and that was undertaken in an attempt to kill so many more, cannot be moderated to any lesser finite sentence because the offender has finally faced the inevitability of his conviction and pleaded guilty. I reach that conclusion despite there being no statutory presumption that such an indeterminate sentence is to be imposed for that crime.

[168] If necessary, the benefit of the entry of your pleas can be marked by making an appropriate adjustment to the sentence that would otherwise be imposed on the 40 charges of attempted murder. That outcome may ultimately only be of symbolic effect, but I consider in the extraordinary circumstances of this case that such a result may be unavoidable.

Absence of prior offending
[169] When you committed these crimes you had no prior history of criminal offending. Whether an offender’s otherwise clean record or good character can mitigate a sentence is heavily dependent on the offender’s background and the circumstances of the offending. In your case, I consider any credit for prior good conduct would be entirely incongruous with the enormity of your crimes and the long period of their gestation, during which you took a series of careful preparatory steps in full knowledge of the harm you were seeking to achieve.

Prospects of rehabilitation
[170] It has been argued that your lack of prior offending, together with your guilty pleas and the claimed motivation for their entry, are relevant to your prospects of rehabilitation and to the core issue of whether life imprisonment without the possibility of parole is necessary in your case. It was submitted that your abandonment of your cause and change of plea is an indicator of a level of insight, and it is argued there is some hope of rehabilitation which of itself is an important purpose of sentencing.

[171] The objective of rehabilitation is to secure the eventual successful
reintroduction of an offender back into society. Such an outcome will ordinarily provide a tangible benefit to the community and is one of the essential aims of an enlightened system of criminal justice. I accept that no matter how appalling the crime, the potential for rehabilitation must always give a sentencing court cause to pause. It is a further aspect that I have taken into account in making my overall evaluation of the appropriate effective sentence, but I remain unmoved.

[172] The distribution of your manifesto, the livestreaming of your crimes, during which you addressed your online audience and provided a running commentary; and the affectation of decorating your weapons and playing music, were all undertaken to obtain maximum attention and notoriety both to yourself and your cause. You saw your interview with police as an opportunity to boast about what you had done and to rationalise your actions. If anything more is required beyond your murder of innocent lives, these features point to the depth of your motivation, as does the long period of time over which you planned this terrorism and the lengths you went to execute your ideologically-driven crimes.

[173] I am sceptical of your recent representations of having abandoned the ideology that motivated you. You have admitted having lied in the course of earlier assessments and both health assessors express reservations regarding the extent to which your most recent statements and changing motives can be relied upon. Your admission that you were aware that what you intended to do was wrong, and yet, that you went ahead despite such knowledge, points both to the hold your extremism had over you and its potential to continue to influence you in the most catastrophic of ways.

[174] While you have expressed a willingness to engage in some form of restorative justice process in the future, it is not apparent from the reports I have read that you have shown much interest in your victims, let alone any remorse or empathy for the people you have killed and wounded, or for the wider harm you have caused. You have to date been dismissive of any potential rehabilitative interventions. While perhaps reflective of your fluctuating moods, your past responses have been that you do not want help; that professionals do not have the training or expertise to deal with your issues. More recently you have indicated an unwillingness to engage with the Department of Corrections.

Strict custodial conditions
[175] In sentencing you, I have also taken into account the undoubtedly stricter conditions of custody to which you will be subject. I accept that at least for the initial period of your sentence those custodial conditions will be onerous. They are of course to a large extent the product of the enormity of your crime but, in assessing the punitive effect of your incarceration, I am cognisant of their particularly restrictive nature.

Sentencing decision
[176] In assessing the question of sentence, I am mindful that a prime function of the criminal law is to protect the community from crime. Whether in seeking to punish an offender, or in trying to deter or reform, the purpose of imposing sentence is ultimately to protect society. The more damaging and grave the crime the greater that need becomes. That objective of the criminal law is not to be confused with protecting the community from a particular offender, although I consider you to be a highly dangerous criminal who demonstrably has no regard for human life and who represents a very high risk of harm to others.

[177] By having regard to the circumstances of the offence and the offender, the sentence should accord with the general moral sense of the community. A crime is a public wrong, and the public dimension of sentencing and the maintenance of public confidence in the criminal justice system must be kept in mind. The sentence I impose must be one that reflects the community’s repudiation of your crimes. It must represent a civilised reaction based not on emotion but justice and deliberation. The Court cannot impose significantly heavier or more severe punishment than is properly justified nor beyond that required for the protection of the public interest. However, so long as the Court’s response is proportionate, society is entitled to expect the most severe penalties to be imposed to mark its condemnation of the worst crimes.

[178] The retributive nature of the public punishment of crime represents a statement of society’s indignation and condemnation of the offending. By the imposition of sentence, the Court’s denunciation and, through the Court, society’s abhorrence of particular crimes is demonstrated. While public opinion and populist urgings cannot be allowed to steer sentencing, the consequences of the crime for the victims and their families, and for the community as a whole, can be major factors that push accountability to the fore. The seriousness of the offending and the sanctity of life may leave little room for other than a denunciatory sentence that marks society’s condemnation of the crime. This clearly is such a case.

[179] Having given the matter much consideration, I am satisfied that no minimum period of imprisonment would be sufficient to satisfy the legitimate need to hold you to account for the harm you have done to the community. Nor do I consider that any minimum term of imprisonment would be sufficient to denounce your crimes. The nature and circumstances of your offending, unprecedented in this country, are such that I consider the requirement that you serve your sentences of life imprisonment for murder without parole is a necessary sanction that provides a proportionate response.

[180] If I was to impose a minimum period of imprisonment in an endeavour to meet the purposes that I am required to achieve in sentencing you for murdering 51 people, it could not be less than your natural life. If the murders at the two mosques were approached as separate attacks, each realistically would have to attract minimum terms in the region of 40 years. In the case of the Al Noor Mosque where you murdered 44 people, a significantly higher term would have to be imposed. Even after factoring in your guilty pleas, that feature is quickly superseded by the need to reflect the associated offending that includes your convictions for attempting to murder 40 other people, all of whom suffered serious gunshot wounds and, most, lasting life-altering injuries. In committing this terrible act you of course attempted to kill many more.

[181] Various invidious approaches and calculations could be undertaken to quantify the unquantifiable in an endeavour to fix a term that meets the statutory criteria. In my view the Court must stand back and assess whether a minimum term could be arrived at that meets the required purposes of sentencing and whether that assessment would not result in the same outcome as an order that you serve your sentences of life imprisonment without parole. I have concluded there is no minimum term of imprisonment available to me that would not otherwise equate to a whole-of-life sentence.

[182] The question that has arisen for me is how can a free and democratic society adequately respond to a crime of such exceptional seriousness — that takes the lives of innocent men, women and children on such a wholesale scale with such animus, and with such malice and callous indifference? Parliament has provided a sanction for such crimes in the form of a life sentence without parole that can only be imposed in the case of the very worst murders. Its use must be taken to have been intended only when the circumstances clearly warrant its imposition. The unavoidable rhetorical question in sentencing you today is, if not here, then when?

[183] The need to make an order that you serve your sentence without parole does not primarily arise from deterrence nor from the need to protect the community from you, powerful as both considerations are when dealing with an offender capable of such terrible crimes and the necessity of delivering a cogent message that the commission of such an atrocity will be met with the most condign response. However, I am mindful that as the years pass and you become a much older man, the risk you pose could be reassessed. The need for deterrence is also clear but the deluded motivation of zealots capable of such crimes, with their overvalued beliefs that feed such extreme violence, are less likely to be tempered by the fear of penal consequences no matter how severe.

[184] Your crimes, however, are so wicked that even if you are detained until you die, it will not exhaust the requirements of punishment and denunciation. Those legitimate penological grounds for continued detention will remain. At nearly 30 years of age, you are a relatively young man and the justifications for your continued detention over time may shift as the years pass. Some may change but I do not consider, however long the length of your incarceration during your lifetime, that it could, even in a modest way, atone for what you have done. Ordinarily such an approach would be a poor guarantee of just and proportionate punishment, but I consider yours is one of those exceedingly rare cases which is different.

[185] For completeness, I record that if I am wrong to sentence you on the basis that the Court retains a residual discretion to decide whether to impose a life sentence without parole, despite having concluded that no minimum term of imprisonment would be sufficient to hold you to account for the harm you have done, or to denounce your conduct, a whole-of-life sentence would have to follow in any event. In the absence of any rights-consistent meaning being able to be given to the relevant provision of the Sentencing Act, the Court would be obliged to follow Parliament’s directive to make such an order where the statutory criteria has been met, notwithstanding any inconsistency with the Bill of Rights Act.

[186] You will now stand.

[187] On each of the 51 charges of murder (charges 1-51) you are sentenced to life imprisonment. I order that you serve the sentences without parole.

[188] On each of the 40 charges of attempted murder (charges 52-91) you are sentenced to concurrent terms of 12 years’ imprisonment.

[189] On the charge of committing a terrorist act (charge 92) you are sentenced to life imprisonment.

Destruction of exhibits
[190] There will be an order for the destruction of exhibits listed in the schedule attached to the summary of facts save for item 50241, the disposal of which is reserved.

Health assessors’ reports
[191] I also direct that the four psychiatric and psychological reports prepared for this proceeding be made available to the Department of Corrections.

Strike warning
[192] Because you have been convicted of murder and attempted murder, the three-strikes legislation applies to you. Although it is an entirely empty exercise, I am required by the Sentencing Act to give you a formal warning about the consequences of further violent offending, though the reality of your sentence today is that it will have no practical effect. Nevertheless, the warning is this: if you commit a further serious violent offence, you will also serve the resulting sentence without parole. If ever convicted of murder again, you will be sentenced to life imprisonment without parole. The full terms of this warning will be supplied to you in writing.

[193] Stand down.

Crown Solicitor, Christchurch
Copies to:
Mr Tarrant
Philip Hall Queen’s Counsel, Christchurch
Kerry Cook, Barrister, Christchurch

58 Sentencing Act, s 86B.

1,027 thoughts on “An Exemplary Judgement

  1. Just an AGM for the SA Libs, not a conference, but it must be important if the CrimeMinister is working at the weekend.

    PM expected to front SA Lib gathering

    • Shorter Chetty . . .

      Low income workers lost their jobs
      High income workers kept their jobs but won’t spend until safe to do so, no restaurants, bars, shopping malls until Covid controlled

      Economy will not pick up until Covid contained

  2. Apparently determined to display his commitment to the environment, Morrison was photographed molesting a reluctant wombat. He did not actually extinguish the marsupial, but it was obvious that it was apprehensive – as we all should be.

    However, Morrison was unfazed as he climbed back behind the wheel of his chosen Leyland P76 automobile to hurry home and review the footage on his video cassette recorder. It need hardly be said that he selected Beta over VHS.,14336#.X2ruVBI1hzg.twitter

  3. The CrimeMinister, desperate to avoid paying for a flight to Adelaide for a Liberal Party function, staged a photo-op visit to the Osborne Naval Shipyard today, including full fluoro vest and hard hat dress-ups, to justify the expense of using his personal VIP jet for the trip.

    “Official business” justifies lavish expenses.

    Meanwhile RAAF aircraft including the PM’s jet could be used to bring stranded Australians home from overseas, but he won’t allow that to happen.

  4. Want to know more about Amy Coney Barrett, most likely to be Trump’s pick for the Supreme Court?

    Explainer: Amy Coney Barrett’s relationship with People of Praise

    She sounds delightful, a cross between Aunt Lydia (The Handmaid’s Tale) and Kevin Andrews. A real Catholic nutter in the worst possible way.

    In 1978 I been good friends for several years with a couple who decided that year to join a Catholic “charismatic” group, the change in their behaviour was profound, and not in a good way. The friendship did not survive their religious brainwashing.

  5. 87 percent of websites are tracking you. This new tool will let you run a creepiness check.

    How bad has privacy become on the World Wide Web? Really bad, a new audit shows.

    At least 87 percent of the world’s most-popular Web domains engage in some form of digital tracking without you ever signing in, according to investigative journalism nonprofit the Markup. Many, it found, even covertly record the way you move your mouse or type. This is the hidden tech that lets companies learn who you are, what you like and even the secrets you look at online so they can tailor what you see, make ads follow you around — or even sell your information to others.

  6. Just imagine how many deaths we would have had with the Libs running Victoria. Still, as NewsCorpse keeps telling us it has only been low income workers and public housing tenants who have caught Covid I don’t suppose they would care.

    In Sydney it’s the party animals who have been spreading The Plague, but the bleeding obvious – Sydney people who insisted on going out for dinner or to the pub and then got sick – never gets a mention. It ruins the media narrative, doesn’t it.

    What I do not understand is this – the federal Libs are rotten to the core, there is not one minister who has not been mired in a scandal, yet none of them have resigned and the media ignore their crimes. Even Tudge remains in the ministry after being accused of criminal behaviour in the Federal Court. A decent PM would have sent him to the backbench, but we have a liar and a cheat as PM, so crimes go unpunished.

    The NSW Libs are just as bad – the Ruby Princess debacle was the responsibility of the NSW Dept of Health yet the appropriately named Brad Hazzard was not even chastised by Gladys despite being responsible for spreading the virus across Australia. He remains Minister for Health when he clearly should have resigned months ago.

    The media in this country are a disgrace for allowing this behaviour to continue without comment, but what else could we expect once the Libs abolished the laws that prevented owners having control of TV stations, radio and newspapers in the same city, and did away with the “reach rule” as well. Now all the MSM is controlled by Lib-friendly chaps or Liberal Party members. Even the ABC was nobbled years ago despite tweeters seeming to believe it only happened with the arrival of David Speers

    In case you forgot, (and I do realise the irony involved in linking an ABC report after the above comments) –

  7. Good morning Dawn Patrollers

    In a detailed exposition, Jack Waterford warns that COVID stimulus packages need vigorous policing to reduce rorting. In it he says, “It sometimes seems that the apparent moral collapse and decline of social responsibility in Australian business has also affected politics.” A great read.
    Rob Harris reports that the Morrison government will announce an assistance package for businesses that will help them trial new technologies in their vehicle fleets.
    Chloe Booker writes that she does not agree the now former health minister Jenny Mikakos was thrown under a bus. Rather, she was the minister in charge of the Department of Health and Human Services, she writes.
    According to Rob Harris, Adam Bandt has seized on analysis showing it would cost less to JobKeeper at its current, higher rate than to bring forward income tax cuts.
    In this recession, low-paid women and those without a degree are being hit hardest in Australia, explains Greg Jericho.
    Financial counsellors are alarmed about plans to water down responsible lending laws, saying it is another financial crisis in the making, writes Katie Burgess.
    Hard on the heels of its Westpac prosecution, Austrac is now investigating financier Paypal for offences under the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing (AML-CTF) laws. Michael West reports.
    The stakes are high as the inquiry tosses up whether Crown Resorts is fit to hold a NSW casino licence says Anne Davies.
    The little darlings of Shore School are being cossetted by their mummies.
    Some sage words to the little shits at Shore School from Peter FitzSimons.
    Can democracies stand up to Facebook? Ireland may have the answer, explains John Naughton.
    Daniel Hurst writes that the Australian journalists forced to flee China have warned that the political situation in that country is at its worst since the 1970s.
    In the UK Keir Starmer ahead by four points on who would be better prime minister, as underlying figures suggest government failings in pandemic to blame for the poll reversal.
    Nick Cohen has an excellent article comparing the Covid experiences of Sweden and the UK.
    Hundreds of thousands of people in China have been given COVID-19 vaccines before final regulatory approval for general use. It’s an unusual move that raises ethical and safety questions.
    Matthew Knott says that it’s entirely possible a new Supreme Court justice appointed by US President Donald Trump will play a major role if results are tight after the ballots close.
    Prudence Flowers tells us what Amy Coney Barrett, Trump’s expected pick for the Supreme Court, could mean for abortion rights in the US.

    Cartoon Corner

    David Pope

    Matt Davidson

    Alan Moir

    Mark Knight

    Matt Golding

    Mark David

    A great little gif from Glen Le Lievre

    From the US

  8. Re Victorian Covid response

    Sorry to see Mikakos go, she appeared very correct & proper in press conferences – a decent and honourable woman.

    Secretary of Health, Melissa Skilbeck, LinkedIn profile shows administration background, seems to have made many controversial decisions
    Not appointing Brett Sutton as emergency coordinator
    Not using hotels near airport for Covid positive cases
    Failure to follow up on reports that security guards ignorantly or wilfully flouted infection control procedures

    DHHS suffered from decades of budget gouging and chronic underresourcing

    Some quarantine hotel layouts would have been impossible for adequate infection control

    Chris Eccles, secretary of DPC also needs reviewing

    In hindsight The decision to use private security was regrettable but at the time seemed reasonable, and pursuit of decision making process is a red herring. I think security guards were decided upon by group think after police refused to become involved

    As The Saturday Paper said yesterday the problem of relying on casually employed, poorly trained security guards working multiple jobs remains in quarantine hotels for health workers & infected Victorians, this time its Alfred Healths problem

    • The Dept Health and Human services heads remind me of the administrator in Monty Pythons “Meaning of life” and the machine that goes ping.

  9. Samantha Maiden, now she is back at NewsCorpse and has abandoned any pretence of being unbiased, has been particularly vicious about the Mikakos resignation, as you would expect from one of the big anti-Andrews cheerleaders.

    Yesterday she tweeted this rubbish, no doubt hoping to start rumours of a leadership spill – it did not get the response she was after.

  10. Dennis Atkins thinks the CrimeMinister is preparing for an early election, possibly in September next year.

    Dennis Atkins: Energy, internet and an early federal election on the horizon

    What “strong leadership” during the pandemic? All the CrimeMinister does is appear once or twice a week to make an announcement, often the same thing he announced a few weeks before, then he buggers off to Kirribiilli for another long weekend. He shirks responsibility, refuses to announce bad news leaving that to his ministers. He has given us the most corrupt and inept government ever seen in this country.

    In another year the full impact of JobSeeker cuts and draconian Centrelink obligations will be really hitting the masses who will still be unemployed after the pandemic and after this government’s financial ineptitude causes more job losses.

    Can the CrimeMinister get away with blaming his mismanagement on the pandemic for another year?

    Time for Labor to start preparing – so far there has been no sign of any preparation or even policy development. Maybe it’s time for a new Labor leader. Or time to Bring Back Bill! Remember, Howard was leader twice, and on his second attempt took his party to government. Why can’t Shorten do the same?

  11. I actually watched a Dan Andrews presser yesterday. The reporters were about as vile as I’d expected. One of them in particular – Soumayya? or something like that, I can’t seem to find the name at the moment – was astonishingly inane. But the question that really got me came from a man. It was along the lines of “Today would have been the day of the Grand Final, with families coming together and everyone having a good time. With your government being responsible for the second wave and that being taken away from Victorians, what do you have to say in apology to all those people who are missing this occasion?” That was the gist of it.

    Well, actually, no. The grand final was moved away from September as a result of the first wave, because the competition was stopped nation-wide in March, and not resumed until the end of May. The reporter’s attempt at pathos – on a day when, believe me, nobody in this state was thinking about football – was as ill-informed as it was misconceived. We’re well beyond being outraged at the spate of #thisisnotjournalism lately, but that one really took the cake. There is no link between the second wave and the date of the grand final whatsoever. It annoys me because it’s exactly the sort of inattention to detail these reporters are trying to pin on the Andrews government. The attempt to play on emotions was pathetic, and that’s the closest to pathos we got.

    On a general note on this topic. Andrews set up this enquiry in order to get answers that he didn’t have. It should have come as no surprise to anybody that when he appeared before the enquiry he had no answers to offer. That was the point of the whole thing, and his appearance was always going to be redundant in that sense. We know it was set up in good faith, otherwise he would have restricted the terms of it to exclude himself and his ministers. As far as I know, they have no restrictions on who they can call.

    It sounds to me as if certain decisions were presented to the Victorian government as faits accomplis. Private security would have seemed a no-brainer, as for one thing they had so little time to organise hotel quarantine, and for another private security was a standard arrangement pretty much everywhere else. We haven’t even determined the cause of the outbreak with any confidence. There’s some talk that a hotel staff member was patient zero. I would hope this enquiry could get to the bottom of that.

    At any rate, the characterisation of the enquiry as something that Andrews might fear, or something designed to bring him personally to account (as if that was ever the intent of it in the first place) is bizarre. That’s the way it’s being presented, though; as a giant organised gotcha on a par with the questions he has to keep batting off at his pressers.

  12. That journalist is Sumeyya Ilanbey

    Rachel Baxendale (The Australian) has become notorious for her nasty, inane questions at Dan’s pressers. The lies, misquotes, repetition of the same questions again and again and general obtuseness shown by this attention-seeker became too much even for Dan, who abandoned his usual saintly tolerance and finally called her out. Thousands cheered.

    About this “all Aussies love footie” myth-

    I know I am not the only Australian who does not give a rat’s arse for any form of football.

    Long, long ago when I was married, before we had kids, and when we lived much closer to Melbourne, the then husband and I, with another couple, made a trip to Melbourne on grand final weekend. The men went to the footy, the ladies chose to do more cultural things. There was no way we were going to watch grown men chase balls around a glorified paddock for the afternoon. So much for the game “bringing families together” – it actually pushed us apart.

    The blokes did not enjoy their outing, they thought they might have been better off seeing the sights with us.

    We repeated the trip a few times, but going to the footy was never on the agenda again.

  13. Today Noel with the melodious Irish voice asked when was Victoria going to open border to Northern Territory

    FFS such an ignorant reporter

  14. Good morning Dawn Patrollers

    The coronavirus recession has bent but not broken the federal budget, one of the nation’s chief forecasters believes, as economists urge Treasurer Josh Frydenberg not to scrimp on stimulus measures despite facing a deficit of $200 billion. Shane Wright looks into this opinion.
    Michael Pascoe accuses the government of stepping up its multibillion-dollar grants rorting. After extensively listing examples he concludes that if the government continues to run to its form with grant rorting, what we’ve seen so far might end up as chicken feed.
    Professor Elizabeth Hill opines that the budget cannot rely on construction alone to boost the economy. She says that spending on social infrastructure will deliver the biggest employment bang for our stimulus buck and fix the crisis in our care sectors. It will expand labour supply and enhance national wellbeing.
    CEDA’s Melinda Cilento explains why migration must play a role in Australia’s post-COVID economic recovery.
    Shaun Carney writes that Australians’ adherence to – and in most instances, support for – the pandemic restrictions has been remarkable, especially since the faith Australians have been showing in the political system is not reciprocated by far too many of our politicians. He laments that there is a widening gap between today’s politicians and the people they exist to serve.
    Business groups and unions are calling for a bipartisan recovery plan that would put climate risk and resilience at the centre of economic stimulus, writes Jason Fernyhough for the AFR.
    Hefty cuts to income support mean that Australia now faces a potentially more deadly epidemic than Covid-19. But it is largely avoidable, writes Michael Tanner.
    Ross Gittins explains the damage rent-seeking lobbyists and compliant politicians have done and points out that they do not hold the key to economic success coming out of the pandemic.
    Dennis Atkins sniffs an early election in the wind.
    According to the AFR, Daniel Andrews’ cautious easing of the COVID-19 lockdown in Victoria has failed to satisfy business owners and Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who argue the Victorian Premier needs to move more quickly.
    The Australian Public Service may be forced to pay out hundreds of millions of dollars in unpaid superannuation if upcoming action in the Federal Court goes against it. Elliott Williams reports that a group of Foreign Affairs Department employees who claim to have been underpaid superannuation for years have launched action against the Commonwealth.
    Victoria’s passage out of coronavirus restrictions looks set to be faster than anticipated, with a best-case scenario of freedoms such as 50-person gatherings by November 9. But penalties will be tougher for those who break the rules, explains Michael Fowler.
    Tony Wright looks at Dan Andrews’ use of carrots and sticks.
    Michael Koziol looks at what’s in store for the moderates that remain in the government.
    Up to 2000 new jobs could be created in South Australia with the decision by technology and services giant Accenture to set up a hub in Adelaide.
    Nick Toscano writes that Australia’s coal miners are headed for a $17 billion collapse in export earnings this year as the shock of the coronavirus crisis persists and more Asian power utilities switch from coal to gas.
    Germany, Europe’s largest economy, has identified Australia as a potential supplier of the vast quantities of hydrogen needed to decarbonise its heavy industry explains Bevan Shields.
    According to Dana McCauley, Greg Hunt’s plan to let private patients access hospital treatments at home under their health insurance has opened up a fierce debate over how much control funds should have over care, as private hospital operators warn against a shift towards an American-style “managed care” model.
    This Shore School old boy tells us why he won’t be sending his lad there.
    The SMH editorial defends (sort of) the Shore School students.
    Many anti-lockdown protesters believe the government is illegitimate. Their legal arguments don’t stand up says this article in The Conversation.
    COVID-19 has brought into sharper focus the century-old rivalry between the Commonwealth Government and our states and territories says Michael Tyquin.,14337
    Peter Hannam reports that an Environment Protection Authority application to halt logging in the Lower Bucca and other state forests was rejected after John Barilaro’s intervention.
    Van Badham tells us what to do if our friends or family have fallen for an internet conspiracy cult.
    Private health insurance premiums are going up this week. But the reasons why just don’t stack up writes Professor Yuting Zhang.
    Some nations have suppressed the virus. Others have stabilised their outbreaks. In the UK, infections are soaring again. Why?
    Britain’s failure to learn the hard lessons of its first Covid surge is a disaster, explains Dr William Hanage.
    Joe Hockey gives us his opinion of how the US presidential debates might pan out.
    Trump First now drives US foreign policy. Even if it leads to war, says Simon Tisdall.
    Amid talk of civil war, America is already split – Trump Nation has seceded writes Robert Reich.
    Only a fool would write off Trump. But there’s a reason he’s so desperate explains Michael Cohen.
    Farrah Tomazin outlines five things we should know about Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett.

    Cartoon Corner

    David Rowe

    Peter Broelman

    Jim Pavlidis

    Michael Leunig

    Johannes Leak

    Mark Knight

    From the US

  15. Shore –

    So the repulsive muck-up day list has been circulating in the school since 2017 (at least) yet the principal has only just found out about it.

    His excuse would be he has only been principal this year and came to the school in January. Even so he needs to spend more time discovering what goes on in the school. Someone, probably many on the staff must have known but apparently no-one bothered telling him. Not a great endorsement of school culture at Shore.

  16. Van Badham left something out of her QAnon article – the influence of this group on the CrimeMinister.

    The CrimeMinister, as we know, has been close friends with Tim Stewart (aka BurnedSpy34) leading light of QAnon in Australia for many years. Tim’s wife Lynelle and Jenny Morrison have been besties since childhood, they were bridesmaids at each others weddings and Lynelle says she introduced the couple. Lynelle now works at Kirribilli House as Jenny’s companion, at our expense.

    The CrimeMinister is very gullible. He believes the nonsense preached at his Pentecostal church and follows those teachings. He also believes all the garbage Tim feeds him. Tim claims he influenced the CrimeMinister to include the words “ritual sexual abuse” in his formal apology to the survivors of institutional child abuse. I believe that. Why else would the CrimeMinister include those odd words unless the idea had been planted in his head by someone close to him, someone he trusts and believes, someone who controls his thinking?

    There’s more proof of Tim’s influence. The CrimeMinister has attacked demonstrations many times, from schoolkids demonstrating over climate change to Black Lives Matter marches. But one weekend’s demonstrations had his approval – the nutters who gathered in May to protest against everything from lockdowns, 5G and vaccinations to wearing masks. All he said about those was “It’s a free country”. Many of those protestors were QAnon supporters.

    We have a gullible fool for PM, one who is the willing dupe of a group with a dangerous agenda as well as a cult that preaches a very unChristian prosperity gospel. He surrounds himself with like-minded men who have influence over his policy decisions.

    The CrimeMinister is never going to fund more public housing or a higher rate of JobSeeker, no matter armies of economists say, because those things go against everything he believes.

  17. The Daily Smelly has a story (a real work of fiction) headlined “Port Botany: Medicine shortage fears amid MUA pay dispute”. It’s paywalled, but alleges a looming shortage of vital medications will be caused by a strike.

    This tripe has been dutifully run by Murdoch regional rags.

    It’s a set-up. Either Christian Porter, desperate to find a hook for his planned union-bashing campaign, has seized the story or the rags ran it to help Porter.

    There’s just one little problem –

    two statements on wharfies industrial action in Sydney, 4 mins apart:AG Christian Porter says it's having impact on the supply of… vital pharmaceuticals"Maritime Union says Patrick management "were unable to identify a single medical container in need of transport"— Josh Butler (@JoshButler) September 28, 2020&lt>

  18. Australian ministers are increasingly bypassing parliament to create laws, new research shows, prompting warnings of a “dramatic” concentration of power in the hands of the executive.

    Analysis from the Centre for Public Integrity suggests the use of delegated legislation – the passing of laws by ministers or other office-holders, rather than through parliament – has doubled in the past 30 years.

    Delegated legislation was passed 872 times each year on average between 1983 and 1988.

    That number rose to 1,738 on average each year between 2013 and 2018.

  19. Never trust the MSM.

    The final report will be delivered by 6 November.

    • Without mentioning – of course – that security guards have been ‘warranted’ by the Fed Govt across Australia.

    • Leone,

      Given our interim PM is a bullshit artist, it’s a term we simply MUST revive.

      I’ll start.

      Scott Morrison is a complete and utter bullshit artist.

  20. PS (or should that be piss?)

    He’s not even a particularly good bullshit artist! One characteristic the best BS artists share is that 51% of the crowd believes them for 10 seconds.

  21. Good morning Dawn Patrollers

    In quite a worrying contribution Peter Hartcher posits that, under cover of COVID, there’s been troubling news about tyranny’s rise.
    A legal definition of academic freedom that some universities say will make it hard for them to discipline racist academics will be included in proposed university funding laws, apparently to placate Pauline Hanson’s mob says Lisa Visentin.
    Political economist Gareth Bryant says that we should look beyond the jobless rate to judge the upcoming budget. He gives plenty to think about here.
    Two new reports show the Morrison government may have to spend up to $60 billion extra to get unemployment down below 6 per cent, explains Shane Wright.
    The government is no longer fixated on a surplus – but for how long, asks Greg Jericho.
    The Morrison government’s attempted peace gambit with the union movement appears to be in tatters following an escalating war of words over industrial action across the nation’s major ports.
    According to Phil Coorey, Scott Morrison will announce new programs to help businesses adapt to technology – with an emphasis on boosting online services and cracking down on fraud.
    Peter Martin tells us that overwhelmingly, Australia’s leading economists want the budget to boost social housing and the JobSeeker unemployment benefit rather than bring forward personal income tax cuts.
    Comparing the GDP numbers of New Zealand and Australia to try to make a point is a superficial comparison, writes Alan Austin. Treasurer Josh Frydenberg should also include employment and debt levels, exports and health outcomes, for starters.
    Two days after assailing the Morrison government for inaction on a jobs plan amid ushering in the cuts to the JobSeeker and JobKeeper subsidies, the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) has called for a reversal and expansion of JobKeeper, writes William Olsen.
    Rob Harris writes that a large-scale online upgrade of government services such as myGov, including face verification technology, will form part of a near $1 billion spend on digital technology in next week’s federal budget. Should be a soda, given the Coalition’s stunning successes in IT.
    Lawyers assisting Victoria’s hotel quarantine inquiry have squarely blamed a multitude of failures in the state government program for the deaths of 768 people and the infection of 18,000 more.
    The Australian says that Victoria’s hotel quarantine inquiry has been urged to find public service chiefs failed to keep Daniel Andrews and key ministers informed about major problems in the state’s quarantine regime which sparked a second-wave outbreak that claimed 768 lives and infected more than 18,000 people.
    We have learned a lot from the judicial inquiry into hotel quarantine in Victoria, and the lessons should not be obscured by the fact that the failures were systemic and cultural, rather than the result of people acting corruptly or in bad faith, writes Margaret Simmons.
    The SMH editorial says that NSW must still provide balance between COVID safety and relaxation.
    Chip Le Grand reports that restaurant and cafe owners have delivered a detailed blueprint to the Andrews government for safe, post-lockdown dining in the hope that COVID-stricken cafes and restaurants will be allowed to open sooner than planned.
    Adele Ferguson reveals yet more questionable things about the operation of NSW’s icare.
    The Federal Government has revamped the citizenship test by adding a “values” section, featuring principles our own government would not pass, writes Dr Rashad Seedeen.,14352
    The AFR looks at the winners and losers that will emerge from the government’s recent decision to support the ailing national broadband network with an additional $4.5 billion to lay fibre-to-the-premises on demand.
    And in this op-ed Ed Husic says, “Conrovia here we come, time to look forward after NBN backflip”.
    As far as policy backflips go, the decision to upgrade the NBN was a reverse 2½ somersault performed in the sneer position. But will people be left better or worse off, asks the AFR’s John Davidson.
    Liberals have warned of civil unrest inside Queensland’s Liberal National Party just a month before a state election should the federal seat of Groom be designated a Nationals electorate.
    Eva Cox nicely eulogises the wonderful Susan Ryan.
    Peter FitzSimons shares seven tips for dealing with vicious trolls.
    Telstra is launching a 5G fixed-wireless product to selectively use its network to steal customers from the NBN.
    Any Brexit deal will be thin and puny. Don’t let Boris Johnson claim it as victory says Polly Toynbee.
    Bill Wyman tries to work out how tomorrow’s first presidential debate will pan out.
    Donald Trump heads into the first US presidential debate against Joe Biden on Tuesday night trailing in opinion polls and now reeling from dramatic newspaper revelations detailing his chronic financial losses and years of tax avoidance.
    Trump’s tax avoidance is a national disgrace. Don’t let him blame ‘the system’, urges Nathan Robinson.
    Here is the Guardian’s editorial view of Trump and his taxation affairs.
    Nancy Pelosi is rallying Democrats to prepare for a once-in-a-century election scenario requiring Congress to decide the outcome of the country’s presidential race if neither Democrat Joe Biden nor President Donald Trump wins outright.
    Donald Trump’s 2016 US presidential election campaign has been accused of actively seeking to deter 3.5 million black Americans in battleground states from voting by deliberately targeting them with negative Hillary Clinton ads on Facebook.

    Cartoon Corner

    David Pope

    Cathy Wilcox – touché!

    David Rowe

    Matt Golding

    John Spooner

    Mark Knight

    Andrew Dyson

    From the US

  22. Who is to blame for the Victorian outbreak ? The National Cabinet. Two f’kuckin days to set up something as complex as the quarantine system. What were they thinking ? Who was the driver of there being just 2 days ?

    National cabinet made the decision to set up compulsory quarantine on 27 March. The first returning travellers were accepted into the program on 29 March.

    • Not even two days. The hotel quarantine was announced by the CrimeMinister on Friday 27 March and came into effect one minute before midnight on Saturday 28 March.

      Guess who forced that rushed process on the National Cabinet?

      Yep – the CrimeMinister.

      From a press conference on 27 March 2020, showing the states were given less than 48 hours to make arrangements –

      But today we believe we need to go even further. In addition to the arrival declaration and the support of legislation that is put behind that. So, by no later than midnight tomorrow, that is 11:59pm Saturday states and territories will be quarantining all arrivals through our airports, in hotels and other accommodation facilities for the two weeks of their mandatory self-isolation before they are able to return to their home. If their home is in South Australia or in Perth or in Tasmania and they have arrived in Melbourne, they will be quarantining in Melbourne. If it’s in Sydney, it will be in Sydney, if it’s Brisbane, and so on. This same situation we put in place, particularly for the case that you will be aware of in Western Australia in relation to the Vasco da Gama and the returning vessel there in terms of these arrangements. And the Western Australia Premier Mark McGowan will be having more to say about that.

      But each state will be doing the heavy lifting themselves to support their other states. And I thank them for the reciprocal nature in the way they are putting these arrangements in place. It is a great team to be part of with the Premiers and the Chief Ministers. They understand they need to share each other’s burdens to ensure that we can manage this issue together as a nation. This will be enforced by the state and territory governments. The Commonwealth will be supporting them with all manner of assistance, which will relate to the work done by the Border Force, logisticians, and other supports that will be necessary, but those arrangements will be run by the state and territory governments in each state

      Prime Minister Orders Hotel Quarantine for Arrivals

      As always he denies responsibility, preferring to score political points from a situation he created.

  23. Hanson, probably the only senator to drop out of high school at age 15, barely literate and unable to utter a coherent sentence, now dictates what happens in our universities. She and her little nutter buddy are the last people Tehan should be listening to, but……

    “[Education] Minister [Dan] Tehan has shown a strong willingness to listen to the recommendations of [Senator] Malcolm Roberts and myself, and he’s proving to have the courage to take a tough stand with the inclusion of our amendments,” Senator Hanson said

    Even worse Hanson and Roberts have become best friends with sacked academic the ridiculous Peter Ridd, rightly booted out of James Cook University following criticism of colleagues’ research on climate change impacts on the Great Barrier Reef. I suspect he is using them to get back into whatever university would have him but they are too stupid and too full of hubris to see that.

    What is happening to tertiary education in this country?

    • Before someone comes at me with the tired old myth about Paul Keating being a high school dropout here are the facts –

      Keating is almost two years older than me, born in January 1944. When we were at school most students left at the end of what was then Third Year, having gained the Intermediate Certificate. That allowed school leavers to go into the workplace, take on apprenticeships or go to what is now TAFE. Only the most academic students, the ones who wanted to go on to university, teachers college or nursing training went on to do another two years at school.

      It is true Keating left at 14, but that doesn’t tell, the whole story. He was not quite 15 because of that January birthday, but he left with the vital certificate and found a job, as did most others his age back then.

  24. The NSW icare scandal keeps going –

    Perrottet’s staffer hired under a ‘sham arrangement’

    A former US Republican political staffer hired to work for NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet cost government insurer icare at least $700,000 even though he barely worked for the scandal-ridden agency.

    Emails and contracts obtained by The Sydney Morning Herald reveal that icare paid labour hire firm Robert Walters tens of thousands of dollars in administrative fees and visa application costs to employ staffer Ed Yap to work in Mr Perrottet’s office. The emails show Mr Yap’s position was to be advertised to Australian applicants even though icare had no intention of employing anybody else

    The Herald revealed in August Mr Yap was working as a senior policy adviser for the Treasurer and that icare was paying his wages. Mr Yap, who is a New Yorker with ties to the Republican Party, moved to Australia in 2015 to join Mr Perrottet’s office and was “seconded” to the same office by icare in 2017. Mr Yap never worked a day for icare until he was sent there in August 2020 after the Herald revealed his employment arrangements. He resigned 10 days later

  25. Australia joins US, China and Russia in refusing to sign leaders’ pledge on biodiversity
    Scott Morrison declined as 10-point plan calls for commitments considered inconsistent with government policy

    Emmanuel Macron, Angela Merkel, Justin Trudeau, Jacinda Ardern and Boris Johnson are among world leaders who signed the Leaders’ pledge for nature which was launched on Monday ahead of a major UN summit on biodiversity being hosted virtually from New York. The summit is working towards a Paris-style global agreement on nature.

    The federal government was invited to sign but refused because the 10-point plan calls for commitments that are inconsistent with Australian policy – including a greater ambition to reduce greenhouse gas pollution and reach net zero emissions by 2050.

    A spokesman for Morrison said: “Australia has already committed to a net zero emissions target by the second half of the century as set out in the Paris agreement.”

    “We will not agree to other targets unless we can tell the Australian people what they will cost to achieve and how we will achieve it,” he said. The spokesman said “we want to achieve net zero emissions as soon as possible” and pointed to the government’s recently released technology roadmap

  26. I know I read somewhere that the preference of Andrews (or the health advice from Victoria, one of the two) was that arrivals should be quarantined near the airport, but somewhere in the process they were overruled. This was also happening in the context of a lot of scrambling being necessitated. The Grand Prix had just been cancelled, amid rumours of racing teams bringing covid19 to Melbourne, and there was a general shutting down of business happening at the same time. I last worked on March 23, in the sense of actually going out and physically meeting people. Nobody knew what was going to happen, and there was a general air of disarray. So just days after coping with that, to have overseas arrivals dumped on them, it would have been a lot to cope with.

    It did seem weird to me then that, at a time when person-to-person contact was heavily discouraged, nobody knew how bad it was going to be, and bad news was coming in from all over the world of heavy spread of the virus, incoming passengers were to be spread all over the country for quarantine, rather than being kept in one designated location. And in Victoria, that they’d be right in the CBD. It seemed risky. We know now, from last week’s hearings, that Victoria Police wanted nothing to do with it (from the sound of it, they regarded it as ‘babysitting’ and beneath them).

    I personally think that it’s the very fact of placing quarantined returnees there that was the major issue, and a better alternative should have been sought. The federal government were useless, they recommended self-regulated home quarantine. That would have been a disaster. I also think that a major problem was simply not taking it seriously enough. We know in hindsight that measures such as mandatory masks would have been a major benefit the first time around. It seems to me the whole quarantine issue was regarded as a nuisance to be put up with and not an important frontline guard against spread. I also think in a sense that was inevitable, as we didn’t know then what we know now. The general talk was about “how soon can we get back to normal?” The federal government clearly expected a short-term hit from the virus; their business support package was set at $20K, $10K of which was paid in April, with two smaller $5K payments in July and October, nothing further. They expected a return to normal prior to July, based on that, with all the economic readjustment done by the end of September. Jobkeeper/Jobseeker underlines that expectation. Basically, they didn’t expect a second wave such as Victoria has had, and economically did nothing to either prepare for or deal with it.

    They’re still talking about getting things back to ‘normal’ and expressing dissatisfaction that it’s not happening fast enough. It has all the hallmarks of a government that believes the economy exists apart from the people who create it and if there’s any adjustment required, it’s the people who have to do it. That’s quite appalling. I’m pretty sure the last contribution they made to the health side of things was the app. It didn’t work so they let it slide. There’s talk of a vaccine, but it’s clearly in the area of Announceables at this stage; it won’t constitute a contribution until the vaccine actually exists.

    Back to the topic: the Federal attitude to hotel quarantine appears to have the same hallmarks. Coming up with the idea exhausted all of their mental resources, and they probably wouldn’t have managed it without input from the premiers. Since that point they washed their hands of it and just hoped the states would take care of it. Morrison went back to making curries and cubbyhouses; Frydenberg and Hunt pretended they weren’t really Victorians and this thing wasn’t happening in their home state. The Federal response has by and large been lethargic. Not even reactive, just pretending none of this is happening and looking for distractions.

  27. On 17 September the CrimeMinister announced an increase of 2000 a week in arrivals from overseas although it was left to the states to work out how and where to accommodate these people during their quarantine.

    PM insists Australia’s arrivals cap will rise as states consider whether to boost coronavirus quarantine

    Today the Prime Idiot is talking about abolishing mandatory quarantine for overseas travellers, at a time when international case numbers are escalating. He wants people to quarantine at home instead. What could possibly go wrong?

    Morrison hopeful of home quarantine option

    He is also looking at a triage system used in Greece that decides on time in quarantine based on where you have been. Cases in Greece are rapidly increasing.

    Thank goodness this decision is up to the states and territories, not the CrimeMinister.


Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s