The Australian terrorist accused of killing 51 worshippers at two New Zealand mosques has denied all charges and will stand trial.

Brenton Tarrant, 28, will stand trial next year.  He has denied 51 charges of murder, 40 of attempted murder and one terrorism offence over the March 15 attacks in Christchurch. There were gasps and tears in the courtroom’s public gallery as 28-year-old Brenton Tarrant’s lawyer today entered not guilty pleas.

Watching the hearing in the High Court at Christchurch over a video link, Tarrant smiled as the pleas were read.

The main courtroom was packed with about 80 family members of those killed, along with those injured in the attack.

Overflow rooms were opened for members for the public wanting to view the proceedings.

Tarrant is being held in New Zealand’s only maximum security jail, in Auckland, and prison staff say he has no access to television, radio, newspapers or visitors.

It is the first time someone in New Zealand has been charged under the country’s terrorism suppression act, which was introduced after the September 11 attacks.

The trial has been set down for May 4 next year.