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Accused mosque gunman 'rational', will represent himself: ex-lawyer

Duty lawyer Richard Peters, who represented him during the preliminary court hearing, says the 28-year-old 'indicated he does not want a lawyer'.

A police officer secures the area in front of the Masjid al Noor mosque after a shooting incident in Christchurch on 15 March 2019. Picture: AFP

CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand - The Australian charged with murder in the mass shootings at two New Zealand mosques plans to represent himself and appears "rational", his court-appointed lawyer told AFP on Monday.

Brenton Tarrant was charged with one count of murder and appeared at Christchurch District Court on Saturday after the rampage during Friday prayers which left 50 people dead.

Duty lawyer Richard Peters, who represented him during the preliminary court hearing, told AFP the 28-year-old "indicated he does not want a lawyer".

"He wants to be self-represented in this case," said Peters, who played down suggestions that Tarrant may not be fit for trial.

"The way he presented was rational and someone who was not suffering any mental disability. That's how he appeared. He seemed to understand what was going on," Peters said.

WATCH: Death toll in New Zealand mosque terror attack rises to 49

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