Accused Christchurch massacre gunman Brenton Harrison Tarrant smiled as he made a white power gesture in the dock as he was charged with murder.
Tarrant, 28, originally from Grafton, New South Wales but more recently a resident of Dunedin on New Zealand’s South Island, had his hands chained to his waist as he wore white prison overalls.
Police allege that after opening fire inside the Al Noor Mosque Tarrant drove to the Linwood Masjid Mosque across town and continued his rampage.
Daniel John Burrough, 18, has also been charged with ‘exciting hostility or ill-will’ in relation to the mosque attacks but he did not appear in court.
Police arrested three men – including Tarrant and Burrough – and a woman following Friday’s attack.
The unnamed woman remains in custody, while the third man who was arrested is not linked with the attacks and has been released.
A member of the public tried to storm the court to ‘knife’ the attacker before proceedings began, as citizens were barred from attending.
So far 49 people have been confirmed dead – including at least one child – while dozens more remain missing.
He turned around to repeatedly glance at the media, at District Court Judge Paul Kaller and out the windows of the Christchurch District Court.
At the beginning of the hearing he appeared to have a faint smile on his face, but it faded into a neutral expression as the hearing continued.
Security was tight, with about six security guards and police in total, the guards wearing black protective vests.
No members of the public were allowed to attend except for media ‘in the interest of public safety’, the judge said.
Tarrant was remanded in custody. His duty lawyer did not apply for bail. Nor did he apply for suppression on information of the proceedings.
The hearing was all over in just a few minutes, with Tarrant taking one final look at those gathered and marched away. Some victims’ relatives were waiting at the front doors to the court.
He has been charged with one count of murder but police say many more charges are expected to be laid when he reappears in the High Court on April 5.
Tarrant was photographed and filmed in court by New Zealand cameras but they have been ordered to pixellate his face in images from inside court.
Burrough has also been charged with intent to excite hostility or ill will against any group of persons in New Zealand and publishing written matter which is insulting, court documents said.
Police Commissioner Mike Bush confirmed the death toll stands at 49, with 42 injured.