Mosque shooter abandons legal fight over conditions behind bars and 'terrorist' status

A police officer standing guard outside Al Noor mosque. Photo: Getty Images / file
A police officer standing guard outside Al Noor mosque. Photo: Getty Images / file
The Christchurch mosque shooter has dropped his legal fight over his prison conditions.

The terrorist is serving a sentence of life imprisonment without parole for murdering 51 people and attempting to murder 40 others at Christchurch's Al Noor mosque and Linwood Islamic Centre on March 15, 2019.

He was also convicted under terrorism laws.

He had sought a judicial review, challenging his prison conditions and his "designation as a terrorist entity".

However, a minute just released by the High Court's Justice Geoffrey Venning says the gunman has now withdrawn his application.

"The informal applications for judicial review are withdrawn by leave. The proceedings are at an end," Justice Venning said.

A special "prison within a prison" is guarding the gunman at huge cost to the taxpayer.

The facility known as the Prisoners of Extreme Risk Unit was set up four months after the mosque shootings and holds the gunman and two others.

"(He) is in his own wing and there are 18 guards rostered to monitor him," a source told the Herald last month.

"The other two are in the same wing but they are all dealt with individually, it's a costly exercise."

Corrections says the unit cost $2.77 million in the year to October 31, excluding the salaries of the six staff in its management group.

That compares to Corrections spending about $1.1 billion in 2020 to guard close to 10,000 prisoners across all its facilities.

A judicial review is where a judge is asked to review legal action or a decision.

The judge looks at whether the way the decision was made was in accordance with the law - but the judge won't usually decide whether the decision was the "right" decision.

Judicial reviews are always heard in the High Court and about 180 are heard every year.

The gunman's sentence of life in jail without parole was the first time in New Zealand's history such a term had been imposed, meaning he "will never see the light of day again", as Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern put it.




Local trusted journalism matters - now more than ever

As the Covid-19 pandemic brings the world into uncharted waters, Star Media journalists and photographers continue to report local stories that matter everyday - yours.

For more than 152 years our journalists have provided Cantabrians with local news that can be trusted. It’s more important now than ever to keep Cantabrians connected.

As our advertising has fallen during the pandemic, support from you our reader is crucial.

You can help us continue to provide local news you can trust simply by becoming a supporter.

Become a Supporter