Zach Rolfe to be served discipline breach notices by top brass after not guilty verdict

by | Mar 13, 2022 | Cops, News | 0 comments

 

The NT Police executive have notified the union representing police that it intends to issue new disciplinary notices on Constable Zach Rolfe, who was on Friday cleared of murder by a Supreme Court jury, which would officially continue his suspension from service, the NT Independent understands.

The details of the latest disciplinary notices remain unclear, but would be added to a number of notices the executive served on Constable Rolfe after he was first arrested, sources have said.

The executive notified the union of the new alleged breaches just hours after the verdict was handed down on Friday afternoon.

One well-placed police source said one of the latest breaches was for speaking to the media, particularly an interview with The Australian, where he said the NT Police executive told lies.

He is expected to be formally issued the notices through Police Professional Standards Command, headed up by Assistant Commissioner Bruce Porter, for also speaking to the media without first obtaining permission on the steps of the Supreme Court, shortly after his not guilty verdict – in which he had said he was giving that space to Kumanjayi Walker’s family and community and refrained from any substantial comment.

It’s understood more breaches could also be filed for other matters.

Four police sources have confirmed that he has already been served other disciplinary notices, or what are called Section 79s in the force, pertaining to that part of the Police Administration Act.

Several sources have said police went through every one of his jobs and emails over his NT policing career since 2016, after he was charged with murder for the shooting death of Mr Walker in 2019.

This would include evaluating body-worn camera vision, and talking to people who he arrested about whether he swore or used excessive force.

“Executive are fearful that he wants to return to work with NT Police, and these discipline breaches, which are trivial, are designed to stonewall his return to work,” one source said.

“It is an incredible situation, and grubby from a toxic management culture.”

Another source said there were seven or eight disciplinary notices that had already been served.

“They would be for things like offensive language and excessive force and they would have gone out and interviewed Aborginal people who he arrested and showed them a picture of Zach and asked them if he had been too rough with them,” they said.

“They started after he was arrested, and had fuck-all, but they went through body-worn camera footage.

“This is management trying to save face, ‘we didn’t get him on murder but we did get him on using excessive force’.”

Police Commissioner Jamie Chalker was criticised over his public statement on Friday following the not guilty verdict, in which he failed to effectively communicate with the public and took no questions from the media.

Mr Chalker made no reference to Mr Rolfe, his family, the community of Yuendumu, Mr Walker’s family or anything to do with a Supreme Court murder trial.

There were about four Assistant Commissioners in the police top brass who resigned last year, including Nick Anticich who was central to the criminal charges against Mr Rolfe.

Sources had previously said Assistant Commissioner Narelle Beer quit the force late last year, partly because she felt “used” by the executive when charges were laid against Constable Rolfe.

On Friday, the CLP called for an independent inquiry into the decision to charge Constable Rolfe with murder, stating that Chief Minister Michael Gunner needs to answer “serious questions over the appearance of political interference”.

“The extraordinary circumstances surrounding the decision to charge and bring Constable Rolfe to trial requires nothing less than a full, independent, inquiry,” CLP Leader Lia Finocchiaro said.

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