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Rolfe to wrap up evidence in Walker death inquest

Neve Brissenden -

An inquest into the death of an Indigenous teenager is set to wrap up after 18 months as evidence from the police officer who shot him enters its final day.

Zachary Rolfe shot Kumanjayi Walker, 19, three times as he resisted being handcuffed while armed with a pair of scissors in Yuendumu, northwest of Alice Springs, on November 9, 2019.

He was acquitted of murder at a five-week trial.

Mr Rolfe has spent four days in the box at the man's coronial inquest, fielding questions from seasoned silks and lawyers representing grieving families.

On his fifth day on Friday, his lawyer, Michael Abbott, will run through the evidence presented to him and the court throughout the inquest.

Mr Abbott, an experienced South Australian barrister, has spent much of the week objecting to evidence, often to the frustration of lawyers and the Northern Territory coroner.

"I object to the accusatory tone of this cross-examination," he said earlier in the week.

"My learned friend is counsel assisting, not counsel for the prosecution."

On multiple occasions, he said the inquest was acting as if it was a "royal commission into Mr Rolfe".

Counsel Assisting the Coroner Peggy Dwyer grew frustrated with his interruptions about her tone.

"I absolutely object to the suggestion and it misunderstands the question, but it's 2024, there are lady barristers ... my learned friend is going to have to get used to that," she said.

Former constable Rolfe has made a series of explosive claims throughout the week, including a reference to an "ingrained racist culture" in NT police which prompted an internal investigation.

On Thursday he was shown an interview with a journalist where he said if "(Walker's) family had offered to go inside and bring Walker out themselves, I would have given them my handcuffs".

He then told the coroner the family ought to take some responsibility for the death of Mr Walker.

"I accept that is hurtful, but this is about the truth and that is the truth ...," he said.

Throughout the week Mr Rolfe has been repeatedly questioned about eight use-of-force incidents, a series of racist text messages and his declining mental health at the time of the shooting.

He denied lying at the murder trial about whether Mr Walker's hand was on his gun at the time of the shooting.

Neve Brissenden - AAP


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