Details of the legal work by the lawyers who represented the Christchurch terrorist, now representing himself, have been released to the Herald after an Official Information Act (OIA) request.
The documents reveal how much money has been spent on his legal case and now sacked Auckland-based lawyers - some $200,000 of taxpayer money.
The bill includes nearly $5000 for an unsuccessful attempt to move the trial to another city, the Herald can reveal.
After the heinous attacks on March 15 last year, Brenton Tarrant indicated early in the court proceedings that he would defend and represent himself. Despite this, a duty lawyer acted for him at his first appearance in the District Court, before he accessed the Police Detention Legal Assistance service.
Ultimately, the task of representing the Australian national was taken on by well-known barristers Shane Tait and Jonathan Hudson.
Today, however, the two lawyers were sacked as the 29-year-old killer announced his intentions to represent himself at his sentencing starting on August 24 in the High Court at Christchurch.
Now, details of Tait and Hudson's legal work, preparation and some of the taxpayer costs associated with Tarrant's case have been released to the Herald by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) after an OIA request.
Invoices showed the total legal aid granted to Tarrant, as of March 30 this year, is $176,788.83. But this figure is understood to have risen as further invoices were filed, including for work ahead of what will be an unprecedented sentencing for the country's justice system.
Addressing the Herald's OIA request, Legal Aid Services manager Tracey Baguley said in Tarrant's case there were two lead counsel paid $159 per hour and three junior counsel paid $159, $96 and $92 per hour.
Invoices claimed by Tait, according to the MoJ records, also included bills for thousands of dollars worth of accommodation, flights, meals, and printing costs.
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One invoice dated October 10, 2019 saw more than $20,000 paid for case review preparation, $4690 for an application to have the trial moved out of Christchurch, $4388 for trial preparation, and $5400 for an expert report.
The Herald understands the report was prepared by professor Christopher Triggs, a senior lecturer in statistics at the University of Auckland's science faculty.
It is unclear exactly what his report detailed or why Tait and Hudson sought his services, however, according to the university's website, Triggs has acted as an expert witness before in commercial and Government statistical reporting.
While Tarrant's legal team's bid to move the trial out of Christchurch ultimately became a moot issue with his guilty pleas, Justice Cameron Mander did alter the trial's start date to June 2 to avoid a clash with the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.
It remains unclear exactly what sparked the killer's change of pleas but it resulted in the trial being vacated.
Even well before the trial was due to start, costs were increasing rapidly for what is the largest criminal prosecution in New Zealand history. An invoice dated January 3 showed $48,684 had already been paid as legal aid for "trial preparation" to Tarrant's lawyers.
Despite the Herald's repeated requests to Tait and Hudson to be interviewed about the case the pair have offered no comment outside of an initial statement in April last year.
Today, after being dumped as counsel, Hudson told the Herald: "We are not disappointed by Mr Tarrant's decision. There has been no conflict or relationship breakdown."
The two lawyers said they had received instructions from Tarrant to withdraw as his counsel because he wishes to exercise his right to represent himself at the sentencing.
Hudson added the terrorist has the right "and has chosen to do so".
Justice Mander said he would also appoint a new lawyer in the role of standby counsel.
Tait said in his initial statement: "The right to consult and instruct a lawyer and the right to a fair and public hearing are protected rights that the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act provides to every person in the country.
"In any civilised society the rule of law must prevail."
The legal aid system, Baguley explained, is designed to ensure people who cannot pay for a lawyer are provided with legal representation in court and is an important part of New Zealand's justice system.
In addition to payment for their work, legal aid lawyers can also claim other costs associated with representation, such as travel and paying expert witnesses.
The terrorist is still being held at New Zealand's only maximum security prison in Paremoremo after he was flown to Auckland on an Air Force flight following his first appearance on March 16 last year.
Some in legal circles, spoken to the Herald, have also wondered if Tarrant will be the first person in New Zealand to be sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.
At a hastily-arranged court hearing on March 26, he made his shock admissions and pleaded guilty to murdering 51 people at two Christchurch mosques and attempting to kill another 40.
He live-streamed the massacre on Facebook.
Tarrant was also the first person to be charged and convicted of engaging in a terrorist act under the Terrorism Suppression Act 2002, legislation which was passed in the post-9/11 world.
After being convicted and eventually sentenced, he will be liable for deportation but it is possible he may never leave Kiwi shores.
An Immigration New Zealand spokeswoman has told the Herald the department was unable to comment specifically on the case but did talk generally about deportation liability.
"An individual who is a New Zealand resident and is convicted of a criminal offence which is committed within 10 years of being granted residence, for which they receive a prison sentence of five years or more, is automatically liable for deportation," they said.
"Australian citizens are granted a resident visa on arrival in New Zealand."
The INZ spokeswoman said deportation proceedings for convicted criminals generally don't occur until the person has completed their prison sentence.
Such offenders, however, can appeal against deportation liability on humanitarian grounds to the Immigration and Protection Tribunal.