Lawyers representing the man accused of the mosque terror attacks have applied to the High Court to have his trial moved out of Christchurch.
One of his lawyers, Shane Tait, told the Herald they had filed an application for a location change but a date had not been set to hear their argument.
Tait would not comment on reasons for the requested move, but said alternative locations would likely be Auckland, where he is based, or Wellington. He was hoping their argument would be heard in August.
The 28-year-old accused gunman entered not guilty pleas during a short appearance at the High Court at Christchurch in June.
The Australian national faces a total of 51 murder charges, 40 attempted murder charges and a terrorism charge.
He was not in the courtroom but appeared via audio visual link from Paremoremo Prison in Auckland, where he is held in isolation in a high-security wing.
The courtroom was filled with victims – survivors and family members of the 51 killed during the March 15 attack at two Christchurch mosques – and many more watched from two overflow rooms inside the courthouse via audio visual link.
He will stand trial in May next year.
Generally a person stands trial in the court nearest where the offending occurred.
However, a judge has the power under the Criminal Procedure Act, by their own motion or on the application of the prosecutor or defendant, to transfer proceedings to a different place.
A transfer is permitted if the judge "is satisfied that it is in the interests of justice that the proceeding be heard at that other place or sitting".
Criminal justice associate professor at the Auckland University of Technology Khylee Quince said other trials had been moved in the past - including David Bain's first murder trial.
"One of the concerns is that you can't find 12 people who are going to act impartially in relation to an event that's happened in their community," she said.
A decision to move a trial elsewhere would often rely on whether a jury could be found that did not have knowledge of the case.
But in today's digital age, where almost every New Zealander was aware of the Christchurch terror attacks, that would not be such a strong basis for a transfer, Quince said.
"What might make this a little bit different, though, is just the sheer scale and size and, you know, the fact that this is such a large-scale harm.
"Even if the jury pool hadn't been directly affected by the shooting, they could have an emotional and psychological connection to the harm," Quince added.
"All New Zealanders, and I would think all human beings, would be affected by having to filter through and listen to evidence of harm of this scale."