The Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Attack on Christchurch Mosques is nearing completion of the initial establishment phase and is now considering evidence.
The Royal Commission of Inquiry was established by the Government on 8 April 2019 and is required to report to the Governor-General by 10 December 2019.
Supreme Court Justice, the Hon Sir William Young KNZM Chairs the Inquiry, which as set out in the Terms of Reference, may begin considering evidence today.
Jacqui Caine has been announced as the second and final member by the Government.
“We have already met with relevant State sector organisations and other individuals; now we are considering evidence in detail, says Sir William.
Initial meetings have been scheduled with Muslim communities and plans to establish a Muslim Community Reference Group are underway.
A Royal Commission of Inquiry is made up of members leading the Inquiry and officers working for the Inquiry (administrative and legal support).
The Royal Commission is required to examine:
- What relevant State sector agencies knew prior to 15 March 2019, about the activities of Brenton Tarrant, the individual charged with offences in relation to the 15 March 2019 attacks on the Al-Noor Mosque and the Linwood Islamic Centre in Christchurch.
- What actions (if any) relevant State sector agencies took in light of that knowledge
- Whether there were any additional measures that relevant State sector agencies could have taken to prevent the attack
- What additional measures should be taken by relevant State sector agencies to prevent such attacks in the future
To investigate the above, the Royal Commission must also look into:
- the individual’s activities before the attack, including—
- relevant information from his time in Australia
- his arrival and residence in New Zealand
- his travel within New Zealand, and internationally
- how he obtained a gun licence, weapons, and ammunition
- his use of social media and other online media
- his connections with others, whether in New Zealand or internationally.
“We are tasked with providing an independent report as a matter of urgency and we will be meticulous in our approach to asking hard questions and seeking relevant evidence.”
“New Zealanders, including Muslim communities, rightly expect assurances State sector agencies are doing all they should, to ensure the public’s safety and protection.”
“This is a task of the utmost gravity, which will be based on fairness and impartiality and trust and confidence.”
The Royal Commission will connect with New Zealand’s Muslim communities on these matters.
“Our work will be undertaken with respect for all those affected by the attack, as well as the wider Christchurch community and the people of New Zealand,” says Sir William.
A minute issued today outlines the procedures for gathering information and evidence, and the provision for inquiries to be conducted in private.
Any further updates will be made on the website:
Interested parties can contact the Royal Commission team by email:
Royal Commission of Inquiry (Christchurch)
PO Box 680, Wellington