Defence to quiz witnesses in Rolfe case

By AAP Newswire

A Northern Territory police officer charged with murdering an Indigenous teenager will seek to cross-examine a number of witnesses to give evidence at a committal hearing next month.

Constable Zach Rolfe was charged after Kumanjayi Walker, 19, was fatally shot last November as two officers tried to arrest him in his home in Yuendumu, 300km northwest of Alice Springs.

His case returned to Alice Springs Local Court on Friday where defence counsel David Edwardson QC outlined submissions in relation to each witness he sought to question.

Judge John Birch will make a ruling on the defence application later this month.

It was also revealed that prosecutor Philip Strickland SC had been given a special exemption from COVID-19 restrictions to travel from Sydney to the Northern Territory for the preliminary hearing.

Rolfe's bail was continued and he was expected to appear by video link at the committal.

The 29-year-old is living interstate after earlier concerns for his safety in the Territory.

Mr Walker's death has been a flashpoint for anger over police treatment of Aboriginal people.

Numerous rallies have been held around Australia citing his death, including recent Black Lives Matter marches.

Rolfe's lawyers previously tried but failed to get his trial moved to Darwin, citing those inflamed tensions and division within the community.

But Yuendumu residents, who could only attend in Alice Springs, were opposed to any change.

Part of Rolfe's defence is that Mr Walker stabbed him and attacked another police officer, which the family disputes.

The case is due back in court on August 20.