The trial was originally set to begin on May 4, 2020, but has since been rescheduled for June 2, 2020, High Court Justice Cameron Mander announced Thursday.
In a statement, Mander said that prosecutors had notified the court that “difficulties have arisen with the trial date because it clashes with the Islamic holy month of Ramadan which occurs over the month of May next year.”
The release adds that “a number of the witnesses to be called at trial are of the Islamic faith.”
According to the New Zealand Herald, the development comes after the court was informed at an earlier hearing that survivors and victims of the March 15 shooting may still be on a Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca during the trial.
Although it’s unclear just how long the trial may last, prosecutors have estimated that it should take roughly six weeks to wrap up. Tarrant’s defense lawyers, Shane Tait and Jonathan Hudson, did not object to the trial’s postponement.
Tarrant, who has been charged with the murder of 51 people, 40 counts of attempted murder and one count of terrorism, has pleaded not guilty to all 92 charges. The Herald reports that the next court date for the case is October 3, when Tarrant’s defense lawyers are expected to argue for the trial’s venue to be changed from the city of Christchurch to Auckland.