Coronial Inquiry

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A coronial Inquiry has been opened into the 15 March 2019 Christchurch masjidain attack. This page covers the current stage of the Inquiry and provides information on upcoming events.

Coroner Windley is undertaking an inquiry into the 15 March 2019 Christchurch masjidain attack

The Chief Coroner paused the masjidain attack coronial investigation until the criminal proceedings were complete and the Royal Commission of Inquiry had released its final report.

The Chief Coroner resumed the investigation in December 2020 and formally opened an Inquiry in October 2021. You can read the Chief Coroner’s decision on the Documents relevant to the masjidain attack coronial Inquiry page.

In deciding to open this Inquiry, the Chief Coroner considered questions and concerns raised by families of the deceased and other Interested Parties, and what was resolved by the prosecution process and the Royal Commission of Inquiry report.

While it has been confirmed that 51 people died in the masjidain attack, there are still issues for the coronial Inquiry to consider. Inquiries allow more detailed investigation into the causes and circumstances of the deaths and help coroners make recommendations or comments that might prevent a similar death from happening in the future.

Coroner Windley took over the Inquiry following the announcement of the Chief Coroner's retirement. You can find out more about Coroner Windley on the people supporting the coronial process page.

On 22-24 February, Coroner Windley held an online hearing to consider submissions on the scope of the masjidain attack coronial Inquiry. Submissions made as part of this process have supported the Coroner in making her decision on the scope of the Inquiry. You can read the submissions on the scope of the Inquiry on the Documents related to the masjidain attack coronial Inquiry page.

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Coroner Windley releases information relevant to the Inquiry for Interested Parties to access

A number of Interested Parties have asked the Coroner for access to information, including source documents referred to in reports and information responses. Some also asked for access to the manifesto document and video footage of the attack.

Following the February 2022 hearing on the scope of the Inquiry, the Coroner set up a process to help Interested Parties and their lawyers access this information. This process is covered in three documents available on the Documents related to the masjidain attack coronial Inquiry page.

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Coroner Windley releases Decision on Scope of Inquiry

On 28 April 2022, Coroner Windley issued her Decision on the scope of the coronial Inquiry. The Scope Decision specifies which issues will be investigated in the Inquiry.

The following is a summary of issues confirmed to be within the scope of the coronial Inquiry:

  • The cause(s) of death for each of the 51 people who died as a result of the attack.
  • The events of 15 March 2019 starting from the commencement of the attack through to the completion of the emergency response and Mr Tarrant’s formal interview by Police. Issues for investigation within this timeframe will include whether Mr Tarrant had any direct assistance from other people on that day, the emergency response efforts, and whether any aspect of that response may have affected the ability of any of the deceased to survive their injuries.
  • The process by which Mr Tarrant acquired a firearms licence, whether the licence can be linked to the attack, and if so, whether any identified deficiencies in that process have now been addressed by way of legislative amendments or process changes.
  • Whether Mr Tarrant’s online activity can be shown to have played a material role in his radicalisation with a particular focus on the period between 2014 and 2017. If so, consideration will be given to examining the extent of monitoring of users for extremist content by the relevant platform(s), then and now.
  • The community’s ability to detect and respond to the risk of violent extremism in others.

You can read the Scope Decision and the Aid to the Scope Decision on the Documents relevant to the masjidain attack coronial Inquiry page.

Translations of the Aid to the Scope Decision can be found here.

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Next steps for the Inquiry

The Inquiry will now move into the substantive inquiry phase to identify and provide Interested Parties with further evidence about each issue and to determine what, if any, further investigations and evidence is needed.

An inquest hearing on first phase issues is scheduled to be held from Monday 15 May to Friday 9 June 2023 at the Christchurch Law Courts. The Coroner will hold pre-inquest conferences with lawyers and interested parties without a lawyer to discuss administrative matters related to the inquest. The pre-inquest conferencing is not open to the general public or media.

The Coroner has not made a decision on whether other issues in scope will also require an inquest hearing. A decision on this will be made as the substantive inquiry phase progresses.

More information about the Inquest hearing and pre-inquest conferencing will be released as the Coroner makes further decisions.

You can find more information on the coronial process and the terms used in the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and the glossary.

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