‘Flawed and biased’: Victoria Police to review Zachary Rolfe murder investigation over shooting of Indigenous man | Englishheadline


Victoria Police have been asked to review the investigation that saw Northern Territory Police officer Zachary Rolfe charged with murder over the shooting of an Indigenous man in 2019.

Former Constable Rolfe shot dead Kumanjayi Walker, 19, during an attempt to arrest him at Yuendumu, about 300km northwest of Alice Springs.

Four days after the shooting, Mr Rolfe was charged with murder. 

In March last year, a jury found Mr Rolfe was not guilty of murder and the reserve charges of manslaughter and engaging in a violent act causing death.

In June this year, Mr Rolfe’s lawyer Luke Officer lodged an official complaint with Police Commissioner Michael Murphy about the conduct of a senior detective involved in the investigation into the shooting.

He detailed five actions taken by Detective Senior Sergeant Wayne Newell he said were of “very serious concern”.

These included accusations he amended and edited the evidence of an independent expert witness, and that he withheld evidence that would have been favourable to Mr Rolfe.

“When one looks to the context of this case and its investigation, it gives the impression of an attempt to gather evidence to fit the prosecution case,” Mr Officer wrote in a letter to Mr Murphy.

“These matters are cause for significant concern. Not the least of which is the concern held by our client whose life was altered in an irreparable way at the age of 28 when he was charged with murder.

“In our view he should never have been charged at all. The investigative conduct at best leaves a lot to be desired, and at worst, it was flawed and biased from the start.”

Detective Senior Sergeant Newell has declined requests for comment.

Mr Murphy confirmed the matter had been referred to Victorian Police for review.

“We obviously take any complaint very seriously,” he said on Friday. 

“We referred the matter to the Northern Territory Commissioner Against Corruption and also the Northern Territory Ombudsman. 

“I’ve also allowed for the level of independence, a referral to an interstate law enforcement agency to assist us with a review.”

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