The coronial inquiry into the 51 deaths from the Christchurch mosque shootings is on hold until after the gunman is sentenced – and the Royal Commission has released its report, it's been confirmed.
Brenton Harrison Tarrant, the 29-year-old Australian national who has admitted being the killer, will be sentenced over several days starting August 24.
Fifty-one Muslims were massacred at the Al Noor Masjid and Linwood Islamic Centre mosques in Christchurch during Friday prayer on March 15 last year.
There was frustration and anger with coroners, police and other authorities in the days after the tragedy, with families wanting to bury their loved ones in accordance with Muslim tradition, which meant within 24 hours of their death.
But the identification process, along with the ongoing police investigations, meant it was several days before bodies were able to be released for burial.
Now, Police says its current focus lies in preparing its vast investigation file for sentencing, however the Herald understands it is in the process passing over the file to the Chief Coroner's Office.
The chief coroner is yet to decide whether an inquest will be held – and what the scope of any inquest might be.
Chief Coroner Judge Deborah Marshall will need to review the police file, and likely consult with victims and representative groups, before making a decision.
Today, a coronial services spokesman confirmed the coronial inquiry "is on hold until other related proceedings have concluded", including the sentencing hearing and any appeals, along with the delivery of the Royal Commission of Inquiry's final report.
In some murder cases, the coronial inquiry won't resume because High Court proceedings sufficiently establish cause and circumstances of death.
The royal commission's final report is now due to be released on July 31.
Along with the murders, the gunman has been convicted on all charges, including 40 counts of attempted murder relating to the two mosque attacks - and pleaded guilty to one charge of engaging in a terrorist act laid under the Terrorism Suppression Act 2002.
His sentencing has been delayed by the global coronavirus pandemic, but last week it was confirmed that it would begin on August 24 in the city his terror attack took place – and the hearing could last three or more days.
The Ministry of Justice, alongside the courts, has been working to put in place "technology options", including a livestreaming link, to help victims who are overseas and unable to travel to view the sentencing hearing and read a victim impact statements remotely.
On Friday, it was revealed that overseas-based victims of the mosque shootings will receive special border passes to fly into New Zealand and witness the gunman's sentencing next month.
The Government said it will extend the border exception criteria to help some offshore victims and support people attend the sentencing.