The Australian man accused of killing 51 people and wounding dozens of others in attacks on two Christchurch mosques in March has been excused from his upcoming court appearance.

Brenton Tarrant, 28, in June pleaded not guilty to terrorism as well as 51 murder and 40 attempted murder charges for the March 15 attacks when he appeared at Christchurch’s high court via video-link from Auckland Prison.

The lawyers of the suspected white supremacist had requested their client be excused from Thursday’s case review hearing.

Justice Cameron Mander granted the request as the hearing was expected to be short and limited to legal arguments.

“Such a course is often adopted in such situations where the defendant waives his right to attend and counsel do not require their client to be present, particularly so where the defendant is the subject of a custodial remand,” he said in a minute released on Wednesday.

Mander in June set the trial to begin on May 4, 2020 and estimated it would take six weeks. The accused’s lawyers believe it could be “considerably longer.”

Tarrant is being held in isolation in a high-security wing.

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