Zachary Rolfe Bio, Wiki
Zachary Rolfe is The Northern Territory police officer charged over the shooting death of teenager Kumanjayi Walker in 2019. She has been committed to stand trial in the Northern Territory Supreme Court. Constable Zachary Rolfe was charged with murder after the teen was fatally shot during an arrest attempt in the remote community of Yuendumu in November 2019.
He is a former army officer who did a tour of Afghanistan and won a bravery award after rescuing two tourists from a flooded river in Alice Springs in 2016.
Zachary Rolfe Charges
Alice Springs Local Court Judge John Birch handed down his decision on October 26th after a three-day committal hearing last month. He also issued a suppression order preventing publication of his reasons for committing the case to trial.
During the three-day committal hearing, the court heard Walker was shot three times on the night he died. The fatal shooting followed an earlier arrest attempt during which Walker ran at police armed with an axe, the court heard.
Warlpiri man Kumanjayi Walker, 19, died after being shot three times by Rolfe as four officers attempted to arrest him in the remote Aboriginal community of Yuendumu in central Australia on 9 November 2019.
Rolfe was charged with murder several days later. He received bail and appeared before the local court on Monday via video link from Canberra.
A “no-case submission” Application was rejected
Birch on Monday rejected an application by Rolfe’s defence team to have the charges dropped in a “no-case submission” made at a committal hearing last month. The judge said he was “satisfied” after hearing of all the evidence that Rolfe should stand trial.
However, his specific reasons, detailed in a 25-minute statement, cannot be reported by the media due to a suppression order. Judges send matters to trial if they conclude at a committal hearing that a reasonable person might find an accused guilty of a charge based on the evidence.
Family and friends of Walker who had gathered outside the Alice Springs courthouse in anticipation of the decision embraced when they heard Rolfe would face trial.
At last month’s committal hearing, the expert criminologist Dr. Geoffrey Alpert gave evidence after viewing police body-worn camera footage from the shooting. Alpert believed the first shot Rolfe fired during a struggle with Walker was “reasonable” but two follow-up shots were “excessive, unreasonable and unnecessary”.
Earlier, when four officers attended a home in Yuendumu and tried to arrest Walker, he hid his face under a hat and gave a false name, before trying to back away with a weapon in his hand, which turned out to be a pair of scissors, the committal hearing was told.
In the resulting struggle with Const Adam Eberl and Rolfe, Walker stabbed Rolfe, who then shot him, the court heard. However, the second and third shots came after Walker had been restrained, Alpert said.
Walker was being arrested after he had earlier breached a court order by returning to the community where he threatened officers with an axe, the court heard.
The prosecutor, Philip Strickland SC, said that despite Walker’s violent history being well known to police, Rolfe had “disregarded” a detailed arrest plan developed by the local Yuendumu Sgt Julie Frost. The plan had involved “great caution” in an arrest in order to avoid using lethal force, he said.
Birch said the trial would be held in Alice Springs but Rolfe’s lawyers could apply to move it to Darwin. The matter is scheduled to return to court next month for administrative reasons but a trial is likely many months away. Rolfe, who has previously indicated he will plead not guilty, remains on bail.