New details of Zachary Rolfe’s arrest and out-of-hours bail hearing emerge at Kumanjayi Walker inquest

The police officer who headed the murder investigation into Constable Zachary Rolfe has told the Northern Territory coroner he was “uncomfortable” investigating a fellow cop and denied being “particularly accommodating” in arresting the officer over the shooting death of Kumanjayi Walker.

WARNING: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander readers are advised that this article contains an image of a person who has died, used with the permission of their family.

Superintendent Kirk Pennuto was the officer in charge of the criminal investigation into Constable Rolfe, who shot Mr Walker during an attempted arrest in the remote community of Yuendumu in November 2019.

Constable Rolfe has since been acquitted of all charges, including murder, manslaughter and engaging in a violent act causing death.

The coroner investigating the circumstances of the police shooting, Elisabeth Armitage, today heard new details about the decision to arrest and charge Constable Rolfe four days after the November 9 shooting.

Constable Rolfe was granted bail in an out-of-hours court hearing, over the phone with an on-call judge, around four hours after he was arrested.

Zachary Rolfe walking outside the Supreme Court on day one of his murder trial.
Zachary Rolfe was found not guilty on all charges by a Supreme Court jury earlier this year.(ABC News: Che Chorley)

Superintendent Pennuto said while after-hours bail hearings were common, he had never been involved in a situation where someone charged with murder was bailed so quickly.

The court heard despite police opposing bail for the officer charged with murder, that position was not formally presented to the judge.

“The fact that the call had been made to the judge, your Honor, indicates that the police had already considered bail, and that bail had been refused,” Superintendent Pennuto said.

Rolfe ‘not treated in any special way’ during arrest

Constable Rolfe was arrested late in the afternoon of November 13, after he had flown from Alice Springs to Darwin.

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