Zachary Rolfe to give final evidence in Walker inquest

Zach Rolfe will give evidence to an inquest into the death of an Indigenous teen he shot dead.

Zach Rolfe will give evidence to an inquest into the death of an Indigenous teen he shot dead. Photo: AAP

A police officer who shot Indigenous teenager Kumanjayi Walker dead will take the stand at an inquest into the death four years after the incident unfolded in a remote Northern Territory community.

Former NT Police constable Zachary Rolfe has made submissions to narrow the evidence in the inquest.

His legal team has argued questions regarding eight use-of-force incidents, his police force application and a series of racist text messages should not be admissable.

“It would not be expedient for the purposes of justice for him to be compelled to answer questions in relation to the above topics,” Rolfe’s lawyer Luke officer wrote on Wednesday.

“They have no logical bearing on the coroner’s obligations to investigate and make findings.”

It remains unclear whether Rolfe will be compelled to answer questions on the topics.

Rolfe shot the 19-year-old three times while on duty in the remote Northern Territory community of Yuendumu in November 2019, but was acquitted of murder in a five-week trial.

NT Coroner Elisabeth Armitage’s investigation into Walker’s death began in September 2022 and has been marred by delays.

Rolfe had failed in court challenges to avoid giving evidence.

The inquest resumed on Thursday, with the constable’s former manager Sergaent Lee Bauwens telling the coroner Mr Rolfe’s fatal shooting of the teenager was “appropriate policing”.

The lawyer for Walker’s family, Andrew Boe, asked Bauwens if he had seen the police bodyworn footage of the incident.

“Did you pay close attention to whether or not constable Rolfe conducted himself in line with what you believe to be appropriate policing?” Boe asked.

“I did not see anything that was inappropriate or outside of training,” Bauwens responded.

The former officer in charge was also shown a racist text message he sent to Rolfe relating to an arrest he had made.

“Mr Rolfe had evidently chased that individual and you said ‘these bush c***s aren’t used to people going after them’, do you accept that the word c***s is a racist term?” Coleridge asked.

He accepted that as a senior NT Police officer, he should have “led by example”.

Rolfe has lost several appeals and challenges to avoid answering questions at the inquest, including asking the NT coroner to step aside due to perceived bias.

His evidence is set to take all week.


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