The NT’s Director of Public Prosecutions has laid fresh charges against NT Police officer Zach Rolfe, 19 months after the shooting death of Indigenous man Kumanjayi Walker and just weeks before the high-profile murder trial is set to begin.
On Friday afternoon, outgoing DPP Jack Karczewski filed two extra indictments against Mr Rolfe, including manslaughter and violent act causing death.
Both are alternatives to the murder charge Mr Rolfe is facing.
The manslaughter indictment claims Rolfe “engaged in conduct that caused the death of Walker, being reckless or negligent as to causing the death of Walker”.
The other charge claims Rolfe “engaged in conduct involving a violent act to Walker, namely discharging a firearm and that conduct caused the death of Walker.”
An internal memo issued by the police brass to the rank-and-file on Saturday about the new, alternative charges “reminded” members not to comment publicly, including on social media, and to refer all media requests to NT Police media.
NT Police Association Paul McCue said the new charges were “nothing but desperation”.
“With just a few weeks remaining prior to the commencement of the trial, the DPP have decided the time is right to lay additional charges,” he said. “This m ay well be par for the course, but it smacks of nothing but desperation”.
Mr Rolfe is accused of the November 2019 shooting death of Kumanjayi Walker in the remote community of Yuendumu.
He intends to plead not guilty.
The trial is scheduled to begin next month and expected to run for five weeks.