AP NEWS

Brenton Tarrant, New Zealand mosque shooting suspect, fires lawyer: Report

March 18, 2019

The suspect in the New Zealand mosque massacre has reportedly dismissed his lawyer and plans to represent himself in court.

Richard Peters, the lawyer who represented Brenton Tarrant in a hearing Saturday, told the New Zealand Herald that his client will be his own attorney at future court hearings.

According to a Herald report Monday, this decision raises the specter of Mr. Tarrant using the trial as a political soapbox. Before 50 Muslims were shot to death and dozens more wounded in attacks on two mosques in Christchurch, Mr. Tarrant published a lengthy white-supremacist manifesto detailing plans to attack those mosques and explaining why.

“What did seem apparent to me is he seemed quite clear and lucid, whereas this may seem like very irrational behavior,” Mr. Peters told the Herald.

“He didn’t appear to me to be facing any challenges or mental impairment, other than holding fairly extreme views,” the lawyer said of his now-former client.

Mr. Peters added that Mr. Tarrant didn’t directly give a specific reason for firing him, but “he thinks the job would be done better himself.”