Kumanjayi Walker: court postpones case of NT police officer charged with murder

Lorena Allam
Photograph: David Crosling/AAP

A Northern Territory court has postponed hearing the case of a police officer charged with murder following the shooting death of 19-year-old Kumanjayi Walker at his home in Yuendumu in November 2019.

Constable Zachary Rolfe was charged with murder following the incident and has said he intends to plead not guilty.

The matter has been postposed for 10 weeks, partly because essential reports have been delayed by the Covid-19 shutdown and partly because of the sheer size of the brief of evidence.

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The prosecution listed the documents still to arrive as an additional pathologist statement, urine toxicology results, an examination of items used during the treatment of Walker at Yuendumu, a biomechanics report on dealing with his “capacity to undertake particular actions, given his body position”, and statements about body-worn footage and clothing.

“Just so you have some idea of the magnitude of it: 161 statements, 256 annexures, plus multiple body video footage,” David Edwardson QC, appearing for Rolfe, told the court.

“And we know that there is certainly a great deal of further material, as has just been identified.

“In my view, what I’ve been told, and I’m only as good as what I’ve been told, 10 weeks is probably optimistic,” Edwardson said.

The case will go before the court on 25 June.

In a separate matter, on Wednesday an NT police officer was suspended without pay for “serious breaches of discipline”, after he was found to have been involved in producing and distributing a singlet described as disgraceful and inappropriate.

A singlet produced by an NT police officer, who has since been stood down. Photograph: Facebook/Supplied

The 61-year-old man was allegedly responsible for making a singlet with the slogan “Don’t wanna get shot ... Don’t stab a cop! ... #BlueLivesMatter”.

An image of the singlet was shared widely over the weekend on social media and first reported by NITV News.

An investigation by the NT police professional standards command found “the officer was allegedly responsible for the production and distribution of clothing that displayed highly inappropriate content”.

The assistant commissioner, Michael White, said the actions of the officer were disgraceful.

“For a serving officer to be involved in this behaviour brings disrepute to the entire police force and this behaviour is unacceptable.

“I reiterate the commissioner’s apology to the community for the conduct of this member.”