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However, a counsel will likely still be made available to Tarrant to ensure there is a fair trial, Bridgette Toy-Cronin, a University of Otago academic who has extensively researched self-represented litigants, said.
Procedures changed in the wake of a 2017 Court of Appeal murder case where the issue of the role of counsel appointed by the court for someone representing themselves became an issue.
The court endorsed the exceptional use of ''standby counsel'' for a defendant in cases where a fair trial would not be achieved if the defendant was self-represented.
Dr Toy-Cronin said if Tarrant continued with his plans to represent himself, standby counsel would almost certainly be appointed.
''The standby counsel will assist with things like court procedure, arrange access to witnesses, and how to run a defence.''
If Tarrant had decided to represent himself to gain a platform to express his views, that would be an issue the trial judge would manage, Dr Toy-Cronin said.
''If he is going to run a defence to the charge or charges, cross-examining witnesses and understanding evidence are tools and knowledge that counsel develop over many years.
''They are not something you can pick up quickly and do successfully.
''The court will do everything it can to ensure a fair trial, and a standby counsel is a mechanism to make that happen.''