An Australian man accused of killing dozens of Muslim worshippers at two mosques in New Zealand a year ago has on Thursday pleaded guilty to all 51 charges of murder.
At a special session of a Christchurch court, Brenton Tarrant also pleaded guilty to 40 charges of attempted murder and one charge of committing a terrorist act.
No members of the public were allowed in to the hearing and Tarrant, from New South Wales, Australia, and his lawyers appeared via video link from his Auckland prison cell.
In an attack regarded as the worst massacre in the country’s modern history, took place on March 15 when a lone gunman livestream on Facebook the massacre of 51 Muslims during Friday prayers.
The 29-year-old had previously pleaded not guilty and was due to face trial in June.
Justice Cameron Mander said in minutes of the hearing that were released by the court “he has been convicted of each and every one of those charges.”
The judge added “the entry of guilty pleas represents a very significant step towards bringing finality to this criminal proceeding.”
In a statement by the country’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern she stated the admission of guilt would perhaps provide some comfort to the families of those killed and those who survived the attack.
Ardern said “the guilty plea will provide some relief to the many people whose lives were shattered by what happened on March 15.”
Police said Tarrant has been remanded in custody until 1 May 2020 as sentencing will not take place until it is possible for all victims who wish to attend the hearing to do so, and that will not be possible “for some time” due to the Covid-19 epidemic.
North Korea Apologizes For ‘Unfortunate’ Killing Of South Korean Official
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has apologized for the killing of a South Korean official, an incident which could have been a disaster for any hopes of rekindling talks between the South and the North.
According to a report by Yonhap news agency on Friday Kim reportedly told his South Korean counterpart Moon Jae-in that the “disgraceful affair” should not have happened.
Earlier on Monday, a South Korean fisheries official disappeared from a fisheries patrol boat when it was about 10km (six miles) south of the Northern Limit Line (NLL), a disputed line of military control that acts as the de facto maritime boundary between the two Koreas.
On Thursday, South Korea said on Thursday the 47-year-old man had been shot dead by North Korean troops and his body burned.
In a message to Seoul, Kim said he felt “very sorry” for “disappointing” South Korean President Moon Jae-in.
News agency reported that the North said it had conducted its own investigation into the incident and found that soldiers near its western sea border had fired at least 10 shots at the South Korean. The border between the Koreas is tightly policed, and the North is thought to have a “shoot-to-kill” policy in place to prevent coronavirus from entering the country.
However, the North insisted that it had not burned the man’s body but rather the “floating material” that was carrying him.
Also, some experts were skeptical of claims that the man had been trying to defect to a country that has seen more than 30,000 North Koreans fleeing to South Korea in the past two decades, defections from South to North are rare.
Belarus: Mass Protests After Lukashenko Secretly Sworn In
Mass street protests have continued in Belarus’s capital of Minsk, after the unannounced swearing in of president Alexander Lukashenko.
There were reports of beatings and detentions by police, and video footage showed water cannon being used.
Lukashenko was secretly sworn in for a sixth term, with only a few hundred supporters in attendance. Opposition members call the ceremony, quote: “thieves’ meeting”.
The opposition says last month’s poll was rigged in Lukashenko’s favour.
Belarus electoral commission announced Lukashenko won more than 80% of the vote, triggering weeks of mass protests across the country.
Several EU countries and the us say they do not recognize Lukashenko as the legitimate president of Belarus.
Two Louisville Police Officers Shot And Injured Amid Protests Over Breonna Taylor’s Death
Protesters took to the streets of Louisville, Kentucky expressing anger hours after a grand jury brought no charges against Louisville police for killing Breonna Taylor.
Authorities confirmed two officers were shot and wounded during the demonstrations over police killings of black people.
Interim Louisville police chief, Robert Schroeder, said a suspect was in custody but did not offer details on whether that person was participating in the demonstrations. He said both officers are expected to recover.
The violence comes after prosecutors said two officers who fired their weapons at Taylor, a black woman, were justified in using force to protect themselves after they faced gunfire from her boyfriend.
The only charges were three counts of wanton endangerment against fired officer Brett Hankison for shooting into a home next to Taylor’s with people inside.
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