Australian News

NT Police officer Zachary Rolfe to stand trial for murder

Northern Territory police officer Zachary Rolfe has been committed to stand trial for murder in the state’s Supreme Court after 19-year-old Kumanjayi Walker was shot dead in his bedroom last year.

Rolfe was charged with murder just days after the November 9 shooting, following mass protests in Alice Springs, Perth and Sydney.

He is accused of firing his Glock three times and hitting Walker, after the teenager stabbed the officer and his partner with a pair of metal scissors at his home in Yuendumu, 300km from Alice Springs.

The officers had gone to the home to arrest Walker on charges including breaching the terms of a previous suspended sentence.

The prosecution previously argued in court that while Rolfe’s first shot may have been justified, his second and third were not, The NT News reported.

Defence lawyers for Rolfe said the cop’s actions were “justifiable defensive conduct”.

Judge John Birch found the case had enough merit to go to the Supreme Court, but his reasoning has been suppressed as to not prejudice the upcoming trial.

Walker’s cousin, Samara Brown, announced the news of the Supreme Court trial in video shared to the Justice for Kumanjayi Walker Facebook page.

“It is just a huge relief to everyone, we are incredibly grateful for the outcome,” she said.

“As soon as it was announced everybody just started crying … it was a huge relief for everyone.

“We are so grateful for this win and just want to send all of our love and gratitude for everyone who shows up and supports us.”

Outside the courthouse, a large group had formed, who were seen waving Aboriginal flags after the decision was announced.

The case will be mentioned in the Supreme Court in Alice Springs on November 25, and Walker’s family expect the trial to start next year.

Rolfe is the first police officer in the Northern Territory to stand trial for murder over an Indigenous death in custody.

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