Brenton Tarrant, New Zealand 29 year old far-right terrorist who killed 51 Muslim worshipers last year’s In Christchurch has been sentenced to life imprisonment without parole by a court on Thursday.
Judge Cameron Mander of the Christchurch High Court said that a finite term would not be sufficient.
“Your crimes … are so wicked that even if you are detained until you die it will not exhaust the requirements of punishment and denunciation,” said Mander as he handed down a sentence unprecedented in New Zealand legal history.
“Your actions were inhuman,” the judge said. “You deliberately killed a 3-year-old infant as he clung to the leg of his father…As far as I can discern, you are empty of any empathy for your victims.”
Justice Cameron Mander, announcing the conviction on Thursday, turned to Tarrant and asked him if he wanted to speak. “No. Thank you,” Tarrant quietly replied.
On March 15, Tarrant made the 4.5 hour drive from the South Island city of Dunedin to Christchurch, around 360 km (220 miles) away.
At about 1.30 p.m. that day, as worshipers were taking part in Friday prayers, Tarrant sent a message to his family outlining his plans. He then activated a GoPro on his vest and began live streaming to Facebook.
Tarrant drove to Al Noor Mosque in an inner-city Christchurch suburb, where he killed 44 people and wounded 35.
Tarrant then sped 4 miles to the Linwood Islamic Centre where he killed seven people and injured another five.
Tarrant, the first person in New Zealand to be convicted of terrorism, pled guilty to 40 counts of attempted murder and one charge of terrorism.
The families of the victims had called for the harshest possible punishment for the gunman. New Zealand does not have the death penalty, but some angry survivors called for just that.
New Zealand abolished the death penalty for murder in 1961, so he couldn’t be sentenced to death.
After his sentencing, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said;
“Today I hope is the last where we have any cause to hear or utter the name of the terrorist behind it,” said Ardern, who has made a point of not saying extremist’s name. “His deserves to be a lifetime of complete and utter silence.”
“You relived the horrific events of March 15 to chronicle what happened that day and the pain it has left behind,” Ardern said. “Nothing will take the pain away but I hope you felt the arms of New Zealand around you through this whole process, and I hope you continue to feel that through all the days that follow.”
Thursday’s sentence came at the end of a four-day hearing at Christchurch High Court where 91 survivors and relatives of the victims described the pain Tarrant had inflicted on the Muslim community as Tarrant sat quietly, showing no emotion.