Jury begins deliberations in Zachary Rolfe trial over murder of Aboriginal teenager Kumanjayi Walker

Zachary Rolfe and his legal team decline to comment after the jury begins deliberations.

Update:

The jury in the trial of Northern Territory police officer Zachary Rolfe have decided to retire for the day and continue their deliberations tomorrow.

The 12 jurors were brought back into court before Justice John Burns at 4.30pm (NT time) on Thursday after around three and a half hours of deliberation.

The jury's foreperson told presiding Justice John Burns they wanted to go home and continue at 9am on Friday morning.

The jury also requested a transcript of Justice Burns' directions before they were sent to deliberate.

Earlier:

The jury in the murder trial of Northern Territory police officer Zachary Rolfe has been advised not to be swayed by their emotions or outside opinions of the highly-publicised case as they were sent out for deliberations.

It comes after presiding Justice John Burns presented his summary of the case and instructions to the jury on Thursday morning after the almost five-week trial.

The charges stem from the shooting death of Aboriginal teenager Kumanjayi Walker by Constable Rolfe during an arrest gone wrong in the NT remote community of Yuendumu in November 2019.

The jury of 12 - seven men and five women - were sent out to begin deliberations about 12.45pm (Northern Territory time).

Aboriginal teenager Kumanjayi Walker, left, was shot three times by Constable Zachary Rolfe. Pictures: Supplied, Sarah Matthews

Aboriginal teenager Kumanjayi Walker, left, was shot three times by Constable Zachary Rolfe. Pictures: Supplied, Sarah Matthews

Constable Rolfe, 30, is facing a charge of murder, as well as lesser alternative charges of manslaugther and engaging in violent conduct causing death. He has pleaded not guilty to all three.

The jury's foreperson told Justice Burns that if a verdict is not met by close of business on Friday, the jury will resume deliberations on Monday rather than deliberating over the weekend.

READ MORE:

If found guilty of murder, Constable Rolfe would face at least 20 years in prison because of the Northern Territory's mandatory sentencing laws.

In his summing up, Justice Burns told the jury they must be satisfied the prosecution proved all the elements of the relevant charges, as well as overcome the three defences available to the defence.

The defences are: self-defence, which includes the defence of another; acting reasonably in his duty as a police officer; and acting in good faith in his role as a police officer.

"The Crown must prove the elements of the offence on the indictment," Justice Burns said.

"You cannot find the accused guilty unless you are also satisfied of the other matters."

Justice John Burns made his final comments to the jury on Thursday morning. Picture: NT Courts.

Justice John Burns made his final comments to the jury on Thursday morning. Picture: NT Courts.

He advised the jury not to be influenced by any media reporting or opinions on the case heard outside the court, or let themselves be swayed by their emotions.

"You cannot become involved in that exercise, you have sworn to give true verdicts in accordance with the evidence."

Agreed facts state Mr Walker was an "arrest target" for NT Police after he breached a court order by cutting off his ankle monitor and fleeing a residential rehab in Alice Springs in late October, 2019 to return to his home community for a funeral.

Police in Yuendumu, about three hours from Alice Springs, attempted to arrest him on November 6 but Mr Walker ran at them with a small axe, causing them to back away and allowing Mr Walker to escape.

Zachary Rolfe arrives at the Darwin Supreme Court on Thursday morning. Picture: Sarah Matthews

Zachary Rolfe arrives at the Darwin Supreme Court on Thursday morning. Picture: Sarah Matthews

Constable Rolfe was a member of the Alice Springs Immediate Response Team, which was deployed to Yuendumu on November 9. Less than an hour after Constable Rolfe arrived in Yuendumu, he had found Mr Walker and tried to arrest him.

Mr Walker pulled out a pair of surgical scissors and stabbed him in the left shoulder, and Constable Rolfe shot him in the chest.

His police partner wrestled Mr Walker to the ground, at which point Constable Rolfe fired two more shots at close range. It is these two shots that are the subject of the murder trial, with the prosecution deeming the first as justified.

Mr Walker died in the Yuendumu police station from his injuries around an hour later.

This story Jury begins deliberating in Zachary Rolfe murder trial first appeared on Katherine Times.