The trial of Australian accused of shooting two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, has been delayed by a month because the original date coincided with the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
Brenton Tarrant attacked Muslim faithfuls attending Friday prayers in Christchurch on March 15 killing 51 people.
The 29-year-old, a suspected white supremacist, pleaded not guilty to the 92 charges, including murder and terrorism, levelled against him.
His trial was scheduled to begin on May 4, 2020 but a High Court judge Cameon Mander said prosecutors had notified the court that “difficulties have arisen with the trial date because it clashes with the Islamic holy month of Ramadan which occurs over the month of May next year”.
“A number of the witnesses to be called at trial are of the Islamic faith,” Mander added in a statement issued by the court.
Tarrant’s defense team agreed to postponement and the trial would begin on June 2, he said.
The Muslim community in New Zealand’s Muslim had criticized the justice system for the taking so much time to bring the accused man to trial, and for holding it during Ramadan.
Prosecutors have said they expected the trial will take about six weeks, although Mander has said defense lawyers believe it could take longer.