Please note: This story contains reference to someone who has died.
A High Court ruling has found that the Northern Territory Police Officer charged with the murder of a 19-year-old Warlpiri man cannot legally argue he acted in “good faith”.
Prosecutors challenged Constable Zachary Rolfe’s defence in his trial for the alleged murder of Kumanjayi Walker.
On Wednesday, the High Court ruled in that Constable Rolfe would not be able to rely on the immunity clause in the NT’s Police Administration Act.
The clause provides police protection from civil and criminal liability for actions performed in their line of work which are done in “good faith”.
“The common law and statutory powers are subject to constraints, such as doing only that which is reasonable and necessary,” the high court said.
Constable Rolfe shot Walker three times after Walker allegedly stabbed him with a pair of scissors.
The incident occurred during Walker’s arrest in the Yuendumu in the NT in November 2019.
Prosecutor Philip Strickland SC argued earlier in the case that the decision to rely upon the “good faith” clause would set a precedent for the use of police power.
Strickland also noted that the case is of immense national significance because it involved a First Nations man.
The trial has been pushed back multiple times, most recently to September when the NT judge overseeing the trial announced their retirement.
By Rachael Knowles