This is in accordance with the wishes of the NZ leader of Islamic State.
Hazim Al-Umari Hussein, whose son died trying to save others in the attack on Al Noor mosque, says the alleged shooter should face an international court on New Zealand soil.
The Crown is reviewing the trial date for the man allegedly behind the Christchurch terror attack.
About 30 relatives and friends of those killed in the attack were in the Christchurch High Court on Thursday for the fourth hearing of the case, five months to the day of the shootings.
The 28-year-old Australian was excused from appearing in court for the case review hearing after a minute was issued by Justice Cameron Mander.
The man is facing 51 charges of murder, 40 of attempted murder, and one charge of engaging in a terrorist act.
As is standard procedure, matters discussed in the pretrial hearing which lasted about 50 minutes and was limited to legal argument, cannot be reported until the final disposition of the prosecution.
About 30 family members and victims were in court due to a large number of people currently at the Hajj, an annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca. About 15 members of media were present for the appearance, with several police officers also seated in the front row.
A trial date had been set for May 4, 2020. An application to move the trial has been filed, which will be heard at the accused shooter’s next appearance on October 3.
Hazim Al-Umari, an Iraqi whose son Hussein died trying to save others in the attack on Al Noor mosque, spoke of his frustration at calls for the suspect to be tried outside of Christchurch.
Al-Umari said he should face an international court on New Zealand soil.
“I feel that this man is a threat to our country,” he said.
The initial trial date is when Muslims will be fasting for Ramadan and victims have said it will be “very, very hard” to sit through a trial at this time.
The High Court earlier admitted it was not aware of the coincidence and was open to reviewing the trial date “if necessary”.
The Crown believes the trial could take six weeks, while the accused’s lawyer, Shane Tait said the trial could be “considerably longer”. A full length is yet to be decided.
Stuff earlier spoke with victims concerned about court dates coinciding with prayer and Ramadan – a month of fasting from food and drink during daylight hours – but many were worried speaking out might interrupt the trial.
Ramadan is predicted to run from about April 23 to May 23 next year.
The accused’s counsel earlier advised they did not require him to be present at the hearing. The accused also did not seek to be in attendance, either in person or by way of audio-visual link. The Crown also did not require his presence in court and did not oppose the absence.
Justice Mander said because of the nature of the hearing, his attendance had been excused.
The accused last appeared via audio-visual link from Auckland, where he is being held in isolation in a high-security wing of Auckland Prison at Paremoremo, on June 14.
Tait entered not guilty pleas for all charges at that appearance.