• The trial of NT police officer Zachary Rolfe has been delayed due to COVID-19 (Supplied. )Source: Supplied.
The trial of the officer accused of murdering Warlpiri man Kumanjayi Walker could be delayed as the prosecution team cannot enter the NT without quarantining.
Source:
AAP
8 Jul 2021 - 6:37 PM  UPDATED 8 Jul 2021 - 6:37 PM

Zachary Rolfe, 29, is accused of murdering Warlpiri man Kumanjayi Walker, 19, who died after being shot three times during an arrest in the remote community of Yuendumu in November 2019.

Rolfe is scheduled to stand trial on July 26, but much of the Crown's interstate prosecution team can't get into the NT without quarantining.

They're in NSW where another 27 new local COVID-19 cases were recorded on Wednesday and the lockdown for Greater Sydney was extended until at least July 16.

"We all wish this situation didn't exist but it does, we are trapped by it unfortunately," Philip Strickland SC told the NT Supreme Court.

"I live in the Waverley area which is regarded as one of the hotspots."

The prosecutor told the court he'd applied on June 24 for an exemption to travel to the NT for a July 19 pre-trial hearing but had heard nothing back from the Top End's COVID management team.

That hearing will go ahead via an audiovisual link.

As will the evidence from about 15 police officers and three expert defence witnesses based in the US if the trial proceeds a week later.

Defence team solicitor Luke Officer suggested Mr Strickland and Sophie Callan SC come to the NT by Monday and quarantine to ensure the trial can start as scheduled.

But Mr Strickland said he doesn't have time to isolate in Darwin.

The trial is expected to run for four weeks, with Mr Strickland saying there had been "considerable cooperation and coordination" between the Crown and Rolfe's defence team.

"We have substantial agreed facts between us that will definitely reduce court time," he said.

"That will obviate the need to call a number of witnesses... (but) issues of jury deliberation are hard to anticipate."

Canberra-based Rolfe, who remains on bail, is already in the NT, Mr Officer said.

A decision about whether the trial will proceed on July 26 will be further discussed at the July 19 pre-trial hearing.

Kumanjayi Walker’s life mattered
The family of Kumanjayi Walker have finally laid him to rest, nearly one year after he was fatally shot by an NT Police officer in his home in Yuendumu, 300km north-west of Alice Springs. Trigger Warning: This story contains images of a deceased person.