New Zealand deputy PM Winston Peters says Christchurch terrorist should be jailed in Australia
New Zealand’s deputy prime minister says the Christchurch mosque terrorist should be returned to Australia to serve life in prison.
“Now is the time for Australia’s Minister of Home Affairs, Peter Dutton, to receive and carry out the terrorist’s sentence in Australia,” deputy prime minister Winston Peters said on Thursday.
“The Islamic community and all of New Zealand has already suffered enough without having to pay astronomical prison costs to keep him safe in our prison system.”
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison had earlier downplayed the prospect of gunman Brenton Tarrant being put into the Australian prison system.
Victims have shared testimony this week at the gunman’s sentencing hearing, recounting their deep pain and devastation in emotionally-charged victim impact statements.
Some called for the judge to send him back to Australia, while others have expressed “utter rage” that the shooter responsible was a “guest to New Zealand”.
The gunman was on Thursday sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Mr Morrison said no request had been made to the Australian government about returning the white supremacist to his country of birth.
“This is not a matter which Prime Minister Ardern has raised with me,” he told reporters in Canberra.
“It’s normal practice that criminals convicted of these offences serve their sentences in that jurisdiction, and that’s my understand of what the arrangements are.
“No request has been made to Australia for that to be any different.”
The gunman, born in Grafton in northern New South Wales, carried out New Zealand’s deadliest shooting last year when he live-streamed his attack on two mosques.
At the sentencing hearing on Wednesday the father of a teenage boy killed in the massacre made a heartfelt plea to justice Justice Cameron Mander to return him to Australia.
John Milne’s 14-year-old son Sayyad was shot in the head while praying at Al-Noor mosque.
“Please, as part of your sentencing, send Brenton back to Australia where he came from.” Mr Milne told the court.
Kyron Gosse, the nephew of 68-year-old shooting victim Linda Armstrong also condemned the terrorist for carrying out his hate-driven attack in New Zealand.
“I want you to understand my utter rage at learning this man was a guest to New Zealand,” he told the court.
“He entered into our home with ill intentions and hate in his heart only to repay our hospitality by murdering our family and our guests.”
Mr Morrison said the court proceedings had been a tragic reminder of the massacre and extended his sympathies for the anguish still being experienced by all those impacted.
“I remember these events – as we all do terribly and once again as New Zealanders in particular are brought to remembrance of that just unthinkable day – my heart goes out to them,” he said.
“It brings it all back, even as we stand here, it’s bringing it back for me.”
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