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Judicial probe opens into Christchurch mosque shootings

AFP  |  Wellington 

A judicial inquiry into whether and could have prevented the attacks in which 51 worshippers died began taking evidence on Monday.

The royal commission -- the most powerful judicial probe available under law -- will examine events leading up to the March 15 attack in which a lone gunman opened fire on two mosques in a mass shooting that shocked the world.

"This is a critical part of our ongoing response to the attack -- the commission's findings will help to ensure such an attack never happens here again," said.

New Zealand's agencies have faced criticism in the wake of the attack for concentrating on the threat from Islamic militants while underestimating the danger posed by right-wing extremism.

The victims were all Muslims and the massacre was allegedly carried out by a white supremacist fixated on the belief that there was an Islamist plot to "invade" Western countries.

The commission is jointly headed by and former

It is due to report its findings by December 10, although it may release interim recommendations before if it regards them as crucial to public safety.

Australian Brenton Tarrant, 28, a self-avowed white supremacist, has been charged over the attacks and is currently undergoing psychiatric testing to determine if he is mentally fit to stand trial.

The royal commission will examine Tarrant's activities before the attack, including how he obtained a gun licence, weapons and ammunition, and his use of

Since the attacks, the government has tightened the country's gun laws and is reviewing legislation dealing with hate speech, as well as pressuring giants to do more to combat

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, May 13 2019. 07:45 IST