So how does a life sentence for Brenton Tarrant serve anyone?


Brenton Tarrant, the Christchurch terrorist, was today sentenced to spend the rest of his natural life in prison without any possibility of parole.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said there was no reason to speak his name any more and he deserved to have a lifetime of “complete and utter silence”.

The sentence serves no one.

I can only conclude that abolishing the death penalty is a form of sanctimonious cowardice.

The Christchurch terrorist (51 killed, 49 injured) has pleaded guilty and will probably be sentenced to a life sentence this week. He is 29 years old. If he gets parole after 17 years he will be out on somebody’s streets in 2037 at the age of 46. If not, he is going to cost New Zealand a great deal. He will either be subject to the righteous wrath of other prisoners or he will live in isolation. With the expected security to protect him from others in prison, the total cost of his imprisonment is likely to be more than 50 million dollars. If he gets transferred somehow to a prison in his native Australia, the cost will not be any less.


A minimum of 17 years is required for a murder committed as part of a terrorist act, and Tarrant has admitted to 51 such murders (among other crimes). ……. 

To lock Tarrant up in perpetuity will be very expensive. He is currently costing just over NZ$4,930 a day due to the extra levels of security, considerably more than the average of about $338 for a standard prisoner. The next two years alone will cost New Zealand taxpayers about $3.6 million. The final sum for the 29-year-old terrorist will depend on how long he lives and the ongoing level of security he requires. If he has a normal life span the cost may be in the tens of millions per decade.

He has been variously called a maggot, an animal, less than human, not human ……..

What then is the virtue in keeping him alive?

By what scale does his life weigh heavier than those of his 51 victims?  Before any of those 51 were killed, it would have been right and perfectly acceptable if an armed guard had shot the terrorist dead. However, after the 51 were dead, capital punishment is no longer acceptable. Clearly the lives of the 51 no longer count once they are dead.

And where went justice?


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One Response to “So how does a life sentence for Brenton Tarrant serve anyone?”

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