The man accused of the Christchurch mosque attacks initially pleaded not guilty to all charges. What followed was an extraordinary level of planning by the judiciary, court officials, security services, and a wide range of interests including the media.
Fair trial rights had to be balanced with a need to avoid re-traumatising victims, their families, and the wider community. There was also a determination to prevent the court becoming a stage for white extremist propaganda.
The accused changed his plea but the imperatives in the planning did not change. His sentencing hearing was conducted with unprecedented levels of control over media coverage.
In the second part of a paper, co-authored with Dr Denis Muller of Melbourne University and published by the New Zealand Law Journal, we detail the pre-trial planning, the efforts to keep victims and families informed, and the part played by media executives.
The paper has been subject to a six-month copyright stand-down period required by the New Zealand Law Journal’s publisher. Part 1 was posted here at the beginning of February. Part 2 can be accessed below. The remaining parts will be posted on The Knightly Views at the beginning of April and May.
Justice, the media, and the Christchurch mosque terrorist Part 2