Jail for sick 'Call of Duty' mosque shooting image

Flowers at the gate of the Al Noor Mosque in Christchurch. Photo: NZME
Flowers at the gate of the Al Noor Mosque in Christchurch. Photo: NZ Herald
A Christchurch man who doctored footage of the mosque shootings with a "Call of Duty" tagline for white supremacist Philip Arps two days after the attacks has today been jailed for nearly two years.

The 42-year-old man's family was angered by the jail time when he was sentenced at Christchurch District Court this afternoon.

Judge Stephen O'Driscoll declined an application by the man for permanent name suppression – but his defence lawyer immediately indicated that it would be appealed to the High Court.

The court heard how the man's Burnside home was raided by police on March 25 "in relation to the Christchurch terror attacks" 10 days earlier.

Officers found his cellphone and took it was for forensic examination.

Numerous pictures and videos from the mosque shootings were discovered, as well as four copies of the alleged gunman's so-called "manifesto", which had been classified as an objectionable, and therefore illegal, publication.

The livestream video recorded by the gunman – and also classified as objectionable - was also found downloaded on the man's phone, along with a screenshot of the shooting with text overlaid that said, "Call of Duty Mosque NZ Edition".

It showed the shooter holding an automatic rifle at the entrance to the Deans Ave masjid and a dead body lying on the ground.

The "newly-made image" was then sent multiple times via Facebook Messenger with three laugh/cry emojis following one of the messages.

The man also used a mobile phone application called YouCut to edit the original video into smaller files.

Eight emails were then sent via Gmail two days after the terror attack – with four of them sent to Christchurch self-confessed white supremacist Philip Arps.

Arps, 44, was jailed for 21 months at Christchurch District Court in June after admitting two charges of distributing an objectionable publication following the attacks, after Judge O'Driscoll found that his offending was, in effect, a hate crime against the Muslim community.

Today, the court heard that the man denied having anti-Muslim or white supremacist views.

He told a probation officer that he hadn't given much thought about what he was doing.

But claims that he randomly discovered the video was wrong, the Crown said, saying that it was sent to him by Arps with instructions to edit it.

The man, who does not hold a firearms licence, also had a cut-down .22 calibre bolt-action rifle in a cupboard by his bed.

Defence counsel Trudi Aicken said the man now understands the impact of his offending.

Judge O'Driscoll said the man was supported by his parents, employer and partner – but they didn't believe the offending was that serious.

The judge said the crimes were clearly serious and that they have failed to appreciate and understand the enormity of mosque shootings and the effect it had on both the Muslim community and Christchurch.

He didn't find that a sentence of home detention was appropriate, saying the need for deterrence and denunciation was high.

Judge O'Driscoll also refused an application for final suppression of name after finding that the threshold of extreme hardship had not been met.

There was significant public interest in his name not being suppressed, he said.

However, after the man was jailed for 23 months, his lawyer indicated that the man would appeal the decision to the High Court – and until then, the interim name suppression order remained in place.

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