Christchurch attacks: NZ suspect ordered to undergo mental health tests

NZ Accused shooter to undergo mental assessment

Suspect in Christchurch mosque attack to face 50 murder counts, police say

The man accused of the Christchurch mosque shootings sent money to a French far-right group and once bought a ticket to Bavaria's "fairytale castle", German police say.

Mr Tarrant, age 28, will appear before the High Court via an audio-visual link on Friday, April 5.

The Christchurch mosque shooting suspect was ordered to undergo two mental health examinations to determine whether he is mentally fit to plead to the 50 murder and 39 attempted murder charges laid against him.

Tarrant was not required to enter a plea.

The accused was remanded in custody to reappear in court on June 14.

"The principal objective of the call on 5 April will be to ascertain the defendant's position regarding legal representation and to receive information from the Crown regarding certain procedural steps and when it is envisaged those steps will be completed", Mander said, according to Reuters.

Around two dozen family members of victims and some survivors of the attacks were present in the courtroom.

The March 15 shootings were the worst in the country's modern history. New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said improvised explosive devices were also found at the scene.

The former NSW resident is being held in New Zealand's only maximum detention prison, in Auckland, where he has no visitors or access to media reports.

A disturbing video taken by one of the shooters emerged, which alleged gunman appeared to have live-streamed as he shot victims in a mosque.

Legal experts have said that charging Tarrant with murder and not under terrorism legislation makes it less likely that the accused could use the court as an arena to put forward his white supremacist views.

The accused also faces 39 attempted murder charges in relation to the March 15 attack on two mosques in the city of Christchurch.

Retired law professor Bill Hodge said the idea behind obscuring his image was that the prosecution might need a witness to be sure he saw the gunman at the mosque rather than recognizing him from media stories. She has since initiated an independent judicial probe into the twin attacks, asking the police and intelligence officials to implement a royal commission - the most powerful judicial probe available under New Zealand law.

Latest News