We are in unchartered waters. Assuming the man accused of the shootings on March 15 in Christchurch is fit to stand trial, and assuming he pleads not guilty, and remembering that the accused is innocent until proven guilty, unless the trial is handled very carefully, the risk is that the accused could add fame to his existing notoriety for all of the wrong reasons.

New Zealand has never been in this situation before. While it is true that acts of horrific violence reached unprecedented levels in the Land Wars in the 19th century, by the time of the 20th