1 September 2020

Committal hearing begins for Zachary Rolfe

| Michael Weaver
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Zach Rolfe

Zach Rolfe with his bravery award in April 2019. Photo: File

The first day of a four-day committal hearing of Canberra-born Constable Zachary Rolfe over the alleged murder of Northern Territory teenager Kumanjayi Walker began in Alice Springs today (1 September).

Constable Rolfe, 28, faces one count of murder over Mr Walker’s death in the remote community of Yuendumu, west of Alice Springs last November.

A judge will decide if there is enough evidence for the case to be committed for trial in the NT Supreme Court.

Constable Rolfe joined the Northern Territory Police after graduating from Canberra Grammar School. He later served as an officer in the Australian Army.

He is also the son of prominent Canberra business owners and philanthropists Richard and Debbie Rolfe. Last year Constable Rolfe received the Royal Humane Society’s highest bravery award for rescuing two people who had been swept away from their vehicle in the middle of the fast-flowing Hugh River in his first week on the job in 2016.

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During the hearing, the court was shown footage of Mr Walker running at police with an axe in the days before he was fatally shot.

The death of Mr Walker has been widely reported, with the ABC today saying that Constable Rolfe was hospitalised after the shooting. A fellow police colleague also gave evidence that she and a handful of colleagues visited Mr Rolfe “in the acute section of emergency”.

Constable Rolfe appeared at the trial via video link from Canberra where he remains suspended on pay and on bail. While not required to enter a plea, Constable Rolfe has previously indicated he will plead not guilty.

The list of witnesses set to appear was finalised last month and includes police officers and medical experts, some of whom will appear in person and others via video link.

The witnesses will be questioned by the prosecution and defence about their knowledge of events on the night and contextual factors, such as the risks associated with potential weapons and events leading up to the shooting.

The committal hearing will continue tomorrow when it is expected that body camera footage of the alleged shooting will be played to the court.

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