Police Commissioner Jamie Chalker did not disclose the existence of two coronial reports into the death of Yuendumu teen Kumanjayi Walker to the Director of Public Prosecutions and officer Zachary Rolfe’s defence team, but will now hand parts of them over, a court has heard.
Mr Rolfe is set to stand trial in July for the shooting death of Walker in November 2019.
Defence counsel David Edwardson told the Supreme Court on Wednesday that the defence team had only recently become aware of the existence of the coronial reports and had to file subpoenas to force Mr Chalker to produce them.
The reports are understood to have been prepared by former Coronial Senior Investigating Officer Detective Superintendent Scott Pollock.
Mr Edwardson said the reports had not been disclosed to either the defence team or the DPP.
“They were reports that were prepared in the context of the Coroner’s inquiry but nonetheless bare significantly on this question of – amongst many things – the training and discharge of the relevant firearm by Zach Rolfe that resulted in the death of Kumanjayi Walker,” he told the court.
Mr Edwardson added that the defence team had also sought “other documents” that would connect the reports “together with other communications between various senior police officers as to the creation of that report, why those reports were so important and the like”.
He added that Mr Chalker and the NT Police recently confirmed the existence of the two reports but would only provide redacted versions of them.
Mary Chalmers, appearing on behalf of Mr Chalker, said police intend to fight the subpoenas on the basis of “legal professional privilege” but would release redacted versions to the defence by the close of business on Monday.
Mr Edwardson indicated the reports might help the defence counter expert prosecution evidence.
“It’s likely that those reports may well inform the basis upon which we determine our objection to existing expert evidence that’s currently on the prosecution brief,” he said.
“What is deeply disturbing is that it’s been brought to our attention about the existence of these reports and no disclosure had been made and we’ve had to force the issue by the issuing of a subpoena.”
The matter returns to court for a mention on June 4.
The trial of Mr Rolfe will be heard in Darwin and run for five weeks from July. It’s understood he will plead not guilty.