Murder-accused NT cop’s ‘made up’ evidence



A murder-accused policeman’s “made up” evidence about the moments before he fatally shot an Aboriginal teenager, a jury has been told.

Constable Zachary Rolfe, 30, has denied murdering Kumanjayi Walker as the 19-year-old resisted arrest in Yuendumu, 290km northwest of Alice Springs on November 9, 2019.

Rolfe says he shot the teen after he reached for his police pistol and stabbed his partner Sergeant Adam Eberl, then a constable, in the neck and chest.

But prosecutor Philip Strickland SC said on Wednesday that the testimony is a major problem for the constable.

He said police body worn camera footage of the incident does not support the claim and it was contradicted by Sgt Eberl, who told the jury he had trapped the teen’s arm at the same time.

“The evidence that Kumanjayi’s left hand is on the Glock (pistol) is a lie,” Mr Strickland told the jury during his closing address to the Northern Territory Supreme Court.

He also highlighted how Rolfe did not alert Sgt Eberl to Mr Walker’s hand being on his gun, which is considered a serious incident by police.

“He goes back to the police station and never tells (Sergeant Julie) Frost that Kumanjayi Walker went for his gun … does not tell any other officers,” Mr Strickland said.

“There is an obvious explanation why he does not say ‘gun’ at the time … and that is because that never happened.

“He made it up.”

Mr Strickland told the jury that if it accepted the lie about Mr Walker’s hand being on his gun it was “extremely damaging to the assessment of (Rolfe’s) credibility” that he also believed Sgt Eberl’s life was in danger and that he was being stabbed in the chest and neck.

He also reminded the court that Sgt Eberl was not actually stabbed during the incident.

Mr Strickland also questioned why Rolfe had gone into Mr Walker’s dark home in the early evening in search of the teen.

“Why did he close that reactive distance?” he said.

He said it was a poor tactical decision and it would have been safer to call the teen outside where the officers could “avert immediate danger” through distance.

“It was because he wanted to arrest Kumanjayi Walker there and then,” he said.

“He did not want to cordon and contain. He did not want to negotiate a surrender.

“His mindset at that time was that if there was to be any resistance by Kumanjayi Walker, any presentation of a weapon … he would draw his firearm and use it.”

The jury has heard that Rolfe pulled the trigger the first time after the teen had lied about his identity and stabbed the constable in the shoulder with a pair of scissors.

The Crown concedes the first shot, fired while Mr Walker was standing and wrestling with Sgt Eberl, was justified.

But it says the second and third shots into the teen’s torso, which are the subject of the murder charge, as he struggled against Sgt Eberl on the ground went “too far”.

Mr Walker died about an hour after the second shot ripped through his spleen, lung, liver and a kidney.

The closing address continues.


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