Christchurch shootings: NZ police admit error in naming murder charge victim

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Image caption,
The suspect flashed a hand sign as he appeared in court on Saturday charged with murder

New Zealand police have admitted that the person named on a charge sheet as the murder victim of the alleged Christchurch mosques attacker is actually alive.

They said the naming on the document for the first court appearance of Australian Brenton Tarrant, 28, was an administrative error.

The attacks left 50 dead but only one charge of murder was initially brought.

The error would not affect the legal case, police said.

Police Minister Stuart Nash told New Zealand's RNZ: "It was an administrative error, it will have no impact whatsoever on the court process, I understand it's been rectified. Let's bring this guy to justice."

Police said they had apologised to the person incorrectly named on the charging document, which would be amended. The person's name has been suppressed by a court order.

The defendant appeared in court on Saturday. He was remanded in custody without a plea and is due in court again on 5 April.

Victims of the Christchurch shootings

Fifty people lost their lives in the shootings at two mosques in the city.

Law Prof Warren Brookbanks, from Auckland University, said there was no risk the accused could be released.

"They can alter the charges, they can have the information withdrawn and have the fresh information, which has the proper facts… In the circumstances and given the nature of the offences, I don't think there's any chance he's going to be released," he told RNZ.

All of the victims have now been formally identified, police have confirmed.

The attack on two mosques in Christchurch on 15 March was the deadliest in the country's history.

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