CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand – A New Zealand judge charged on Monday a teenager in relation to footage of a terror attack on two mosques in Christchurch which was broadcast live by the attacker on Facebook.
The 18-year-old was charged under the Films, Videos, and Publications Classifications Act of 1993 for distributing the footage of the shootings, which killed 50 people and left another 50 wounded.
He was also charged for posting miscellaneous material a week before the attack took place, including images of the mosque with the words “target identified” and messages inciting violence.
In a statement, New Zealand Police said “it is an offence to distribute or possess an objectionable publication.”
The Christchurch court judge, who has put a gag order on the case, has accepted the request to keep his name anonymous but rejected the petition for bail.
The accused is expected to appear again before the court on April 8.
The teenager was arrested “in the initial stages of the shooting investigation” on Friday, but police, who said he was not being charged in relation to the attack, said they “do not believe he was directly involved,” according to a statement on Sunday night.
He is one of three people currently in police custody, including the suspected shooter, Brenton Tarrant, a 28-year-old Australian, who was charged Saturday with one count of murder. More charges are expected to be filed in the coming days while investigations are carried out.
The third detainee is a man who was arrested armed inside his car, near the police cordon around one of the mosques and has been charged with possession of weapons.
The police do not believe that either he or the 18-year-old were involved in the attack.
Facebook said on Sunday that, during the 24 hours after the terror attack, it took down 1.5 million videos around the world, including 1.2 million that were blocked once they were uploaded.
In response to the attack, the worst in the country’s history, the government on Monday announced “in principle decisions” to reform New Zealand’s gun laws.