On the eve of the Christchurch mosque gunman being sentenced in the city of his March 15, 2019 terror attacks, the Herald on Sunday takes a look at some of the case's key figures and facts.
The case at a glance
• At 1.40pm on March 15 last year, a heavily armed gunman stormed Masjid Al Noor mosque on Deans Ave, Christchurch shortly after Friday prayers had started and opened fire on men, women and children worshipping.
• The mass murder was filmed by the killer and livestreamed online.
• Forty-two people would be shot dead inside the Al Noor mosque as the gunman methodically moved around the building – stopping only for more ammunition or to change guns.
• The gunman fled the scene just one minute before the first armed police unit arrived.
• He drove across town to Linwood Islamic Centre 7.3km away where he shot dead another nine Muslim worshippers.
• Two police officers spotted the killer's car on Brougham St, rammed it, and apprehended him at 2.02pm.
• Brenton Harrison Tarrant, a 29-year-old Australian national, will be sentenced on 51 charges of murder, 40 of attempted murder and one charge under the Terrorism Suppression Act.
• Tarrant initially denied attacking Masjid Al Noor and Linwood Islamic Centre mosques in Christchurch during Friday prayers last year but entered shock guilty pleas at a hastily arranged special hearing on March 26 - the first day of the nationwide alert level 4 coronavirus lockdown.
• Sentencing will begin tomorrow at 10am at the High Court in Christchurch and is expected to last four days.
• More than 60 victims want to have their victim impact statements read in court.
• Covid-19 alert level 2 restrictions mean the law courts can now only accommodate about 230 visitors, and will include overseas victims and family members who have travelled from across Europe, the Middle East, Asia, Africa, and Australia and undergone quarantine.
The key players
Former Crown lawyer Justice Cameron Mander was seen by many as the perfect judge to oversee the mosque shooting case – one of the most complex ever seen in New Zealand law.
During a stint as a litigation solicitor in London, he gained an honours degree at Cambridge.
The unflappable, meticulous Justice Mander became a High Court judge in 2013 after previously acting as Deputy Solicitor-General.
In 2016, he oversaw the trial of Ashburton Work and Income double-killer Russell Tully – a difficult defendant who refused to cooperate with at least six lawyers and who repeatedly acted up during the trial.
It led to Justice Mander ordering him to be removed from the courtroom and asking the jury to ignore the "pantomime" and concentrate on the evidence.
The Crown prosecution team is being led by Christchurch Crown Solicitor Mark Zarifeh. Zarifeh, who was admitted to the bar in 1981, is an experienced prosecutor who played a leading role in assisting the Canterbury Earthquakes Royal Commission of Inquiry after the September 4, 2010 and February 22, 2011 quakes which devastated the region.
He will be assisted by Crown prosecutor Barnaby Hawes.
Last month, the convicted killer sacked his Auckland-based legal team of Shane Tait and Jonathan Hudson.
Tarrant told the court at a pre-trial hearing that he now wanted to represent himself at sentencing – which is his legal right under the law.
After the move, his former lawyers said there was no ill-feeling which prompted their dumping.
"We are not disappointed by Mr Tarrant's decision," Hudson said. "There has been no conflict or relationship breakdown."
The court has appointed a new lawyer in the role of standby counsel, understood to be experienced Christchurch barrister Pip Hall QC. An amicus lawyer has also appointed to assist the court on any legal issues it needs help with.
Operation Deans, the vast police investigation into the shootings, was led by senior investigation officers Detective Superintendent Peter Read and Detective Superintendent Dave Lynch.
The officer in charge of the police file was experienced homicide officer Detective Inspector Greg Murton, with second-in-command Detective Senior Sergeant Craig Farrant. Murton has been involved in many high-profile cases including the Helen Milner "Black Widow" poisoning case which he led after a coroner ruled out the first police inquiry's findings of suicide.
Murton has been in court for most of the mosque gunman's court appearances.
Detective Senior Sergeant Sarah Illingworth has been dealing with the victims.
It's not clear if Senior Constable Jim Manning and Senior Constable Scott Carmody, the hero police officers who rammed the fleeing gunman and arrested him in dramatic circumstances, will attend any of the sentencing hearing.