COVID may delay murder-accused cop's trial

·1-min read

The long-awaited trial of a Northern Territory policeman, who allegedly murdered an Indigenous man during an outback arrest, could be delayed due to COVID-19.

Zachary Rolfe, 29, is accused of murdering Kumanjayi Walker, 19, who was shot three times in the remote community of Yuendumu in November 2019.

He's scheduled to stand trial on July 26 but much of the Crown's interstate prosecution team can't get into the NT without quarantining for a fortnight.

They're understood to be in NSW where 98 new local Delta variant cases were recorded on Monday and a lockdown in Greater Sydney continues.

A week-long pre-trial hearing will be held using an audio-visual link so prosecutors Philip Strickland SC and Sophie Callan SC can appear.

But it remains unclear if they'll make it to Darwin for the first day of the trial, which starts next week.

Mr Strickland previously told the NT Supreme Court that he had applied on June 24 for an exemption to travel to Darwin.

But a courts' spokesman told AAP there had been no confirmation it had been granted.

The situation is expected to become clearer on Monday.

However, the pre-trial hearing will be closed to the public and media and Acting Justice Dean Mildren hasn't yet given permission for court staff to release information about whether the trial will go ahead.

Rolfe has returned to the NT after being granted bail to live in Canberra while awaiting trial.

NT Health has not responded to questions about Mr Strickland's and Ms Callan's exemption applications.

The trial is expected to run for four weeks in Darwin.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting