New Zealand mosque shooting case: Brenton Harrison Tarrant, 28-year-old Australian national who reportedly killed 50 people in Al Noor mosque on last Friday, has dismissed his lawyer Richard Peters as he wants to represent himself before the Christchurch district court, the attorney said on Saturday. Tarrant had appeared before the court on charges of murder on Saturday and he was remanded in custody to reappear in court on April 5. The court denied his plea.

To gather more evidence against Tarrant, Australian Counter-terrorism Police on Monday searched the home of his sister in Sandy Beach town near Coffs Harbour in New South Wales at 8.30 am (local time) and another home at Lawrence Town near Maclean, north of Coffs Harbour, the New Zealand Herald reported. Brenton Tarrant’s sister Lauren lives at the Sandy Beach property while his mother Sharon lives in Lawrence. Reports said Tarrant grew up in the north-eastern NSW town of Grafton before moving to New Zealand in 2017.

Tarrant’ cousin Donna Cox, who lives in New South Wales, told reporters that her relative deserves the death penalty for what he’s done.

Earlier, the police had whisked Sharon away to an undisclosed location when reports of the attack first came through on Friday. Sharon, who is a teacher at a local school, has been placed under police protection along with her daughter without a mobile phone. They have also been asked by the police not to contact the rest of their family.

New Zealand mosque shooting protest, Muslim women

Muslim women demanded justice as the Christchurch district court in New Zealand has not charged Brenton Harrison Tarrant with terrorism or crime against humanity. Tarrant has been charged with one count of murder and is expected to face further charges over the Christchurch mosques massacre.

Apart from that, heavily-armed police also searched the accused gunman’s Dunedin home on Monday morning. Eight specialist search officers wearing hazardous-material suits and gloves conducted the search operation 11.30 am (local time). The police suspect Tarrant planned the terror attacks at his one-bedroom house at the Anderson’s Bay in New Zealand. He has been living there for the past two years and used to work at the Big River Squash & Fitness Centre in the northern New South Wales town of Grafton.

Meanwhile, the police in New Zealand, have reviewed online posts purportedly written by Christchurch shooting suspect before the massacre. In video streamed to Facebook, the suspect had encouraged viewers to subscribe to “PewDiePie,” a popular YouTube personality.

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