26 October 2020

Zach Rolfe committed to stand trial in the Northern Territory for murder

| Michael Weaver
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Zach Rolfe

Zach Rolfe’s trial will begin on 25 November. Photo: File.

Canberra-born Northern Territory police officer Zachary Rolfe has been committed to stand trial for the alleged murder of Indigenous teenager Kumanjayi Walker in the remote community of Yuendumu, near Alice Springs, on 9 November last year.

Rolfe, the son of prominent Canberra business owners and philanthropists Richard and Debbie Rolfe, had faced a three-day committal hearing via video link in Canberra in September.

Constable Rolfe remains suspended on full pay and on bail. He had previously indicated he will plead not guilty.

Alice Springs Local Court Judge John Birch handed down his decision today (26 October) for Constable Rolfe to stand trial in the Northern Territory Supreme Court beginning on 25 November.

Mr Walker was fatally shot during an arrest attempt by Constable Rolfe and members of the Alice Springs-based Immediate Response Team which was called to Yuendumu to assist with the arrest of Mr Walker.

The committal hearing has been shown footage of Mr Walker running at police with an axe in the days before he was fatally shot.

The court also heard three shots were fired on the night Mr Walker was killed. Constable Rolfe had been stabbed with scissors by Mr Walker before the first shot was fired at point-blank range.

Those giving evidence have included a criminologist and sociologist from the United States who told the court he believed the second and third shots fired at Mr Walker were “unnecessary”.

Body-camera footage of the attempted arrest was also shown during the committal hearing.

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