Sentencing the worst mass murderer in New Zealand history places global focus on Justice Cameron Mander. But he’s been in that territory before, in the lesser but still high profile Kim Dotcom case when he provided legal advice on the 2012 raid on the tycoon’s mansion.
However the sentencing of Brenton Tarrant in respect of 51 murder and 40 attempted murder charges has focused world attention on a case that, due to the single terrorism offence, will secure a first-ever life-without-parole sentence.
Tarrant, a self-confessed white supremacist, pleaded guilty in March to the murder and ttempted murder charges, coming a year after Tarrant attacked people attending Friday prayers at two mosques with semi-automatic guns, streaming the shooting live on Facebook.
During the four-day sentencing hearing at the Christchurch High Court, Judge Cameron Mander will hear statements from 66 survivors of the attack.
The sentencing will also have a standby and support lawyer assisting the court in the sentencing process.
Cameron Mander’s first role in law was working at Parliamentary Services before joining Wellington Crown Solicitors Luke Cunningham & Clere as staff solicitor. He worked in London for Clifford Chance from 1989 and achieved an LLM from Cambridge before returning to Wellington to rejoin Luke Cunningham & Clere as partner and senior prosecutor.
He moved to Crown Law in 2007, working as Deputy Solicitor-General responsible for criminal and human rights issues, handling a range of matters for the Rules Committee and handling the Crown’s representation before the Royal Commission into the Pike River Mine disaster in 2011.
Whilst at Crown Law he also became involved in the US efforts to extradite Kim Dotcom (left) from New Zealand, including involvement in the void warrant used to mount the highly publicised raid upon the former tycoon’s Albany mansion.
However the Crown, involving then Solicitor General Justice David Collins and Deputy Solicitor General Justice Mander had overseen the legal efforts in respect of the Dotcom raid, with the restraining order later being ruled ‘null and void’ by Justice Potter.
For the Tarrant sentencing, Justice Mander has appointed two lawyers to assist the court, including an independent counsel who will have no contact with Tarrant but will assist the court on legal matters relating to the facts of the case, along with a ‘standby counsel’ to assist the self-represented Tarrant on sentencing matters.
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