March 18, 2019 / 10:26 AM / 3 months ago

Suspected New Zealand mosque gunman "lucid" - court lawyer

Brenton Tarrant, charged for murder in relation to the mosque attacks, is seen in the dock during his appearance in the Christchurch District Court, New Zealand March 16, 2019. Mark Mitchell/New Zealand Herald/Pool via REUTERS. ATTENTION EDITORS - PICTURE PIXELATED AT SOURCE. SUSPECT FACE MUST BE PIXELATED. ONLY HIS FACE.

SYDNEY (Reuters) - The suspected gunman in New Zealand’s mosque attacks is lucid and understands the situation facing him, the lawyer assigned to handle his case told media on Monday.

Australian Brenton Tarrant, 28, a suspected white supremacist, was charged with murder on Saturday after a lone gunman killed 50 people in mass shootings at two mosques in the city of Christchurch.

Tarrant declined to be represented by a lawyer, but the court appointed duty lawyer Richard Peters to handle the case.

“He was lucid,” Peters told Australian TV network Channel Nine.

“He seemed to appreciate what he was facing and why he was there.”

Tarrant was remanded without a plea on Saturday and is due back in court on April 5 where police said he was likely to face more charges.

In addition to the 50 killed, dozens of people were wounded at two mosques in the South Island city during Friday prayers.

Peters said he had to put aside his personal shock and sadness and to do his job.

“Quite shocked and sad by what had happened, but in dealing with this fellow, I had to put that to one side and just deal with what’s before me,” he said.

Reporting by Paulina Duran; Editing by Jonathan Barrett

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