A Christchurch man has pleaded guilty to sharing a livestream video of last month’s Christchurch terror attack that left 50 people dead.
Phillip Arps, 44, pleaded guilty to distributing the video, which shows a shooter gunning down worshippers at Al-Noor mosque in Christchurch New Zealand on March 15, 2019.
Terrorist, Brenton Tarrant, used Facebook live to broadcast the 17-minute attack which left 50 people dead and 50 injured. He was later apprehended and charged.
Arps will be sentenced on June 14 and faces a maximum penalty of 14 years in prison for the crime of sharing the footage.
New Zealanders can also face up to 10 years prison for “knowingly” possessing a copy of the Christchurch shooting livestream or the shooter’s manifesto which he left in the wake of his attack. Corporations, including web hosts, face an additional $200,000 AUD fine under the same law for allowing users to have and distribute the video.
The Christchurch man is accused of forwarding the video to 30 contacts and sending the video to an unknown person, asking for a “crosshairs” and “kill count” to be inserted into the footage.
Footage of the attack, including the shooter’s manifesto are illegal to view, possess and distribute in New Zealand.
Last month, Australian and New Zealand telecommunication companies were quick to block websites that they thought would distribute the content, such as ZeroHedge, 8chan and 4chan.
Another New Zealand man, 18, faces up to 28 years in prison for sharing the livestream. He is also accused of inciting violence after he allegedly posted a photo of a mosque and wrote online “target acquired”.
New Zealand authorities have the power to censor and ban images, videos and other online content under the Films, Videos and Publications Classification Act 1993.
The law stops people from sharing “objectionable material” which depicts, describes or expresses “sex, horror, crime, cruelty or violence in such a manner that the availability of the publication is likely to be injurious to the public good.”
But legal action against individuals who possess and distribute the video and written content has not been localised to New Zealand.
Individuals from Australia and the United Kingdom have also been arrested under similar laws for expressing support for the Christchurch shooting.
A 24-year-old Oldham man was arrested for a Facebook post allegedly supporting the mosque terror attack.
It is unclear how many more people will be arrested and charged in relation to these attacks worldwide.
Sydney Watson is an Australian-American based independent journalist. You can subscribe to her YouTube channel here.
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