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Annette Lin

Police officer's letter contempt of court, lawyer says

An open letter from the police offer who shot an Indigenous teenager should be investigated for contempt of court, the lawyer representing the teenager's family say.

An inquest into the shooting death of Kumanjayi Walker resumed on Monday, days after Constable Zachary Rolfe wrote a long open letter criticising NT police and the coroner. He has since left the country.

Const Rolfe shot Kumanjayi Walker, 19, three times as he resisted arrest in Yuendumu, northwest of Alice Springs, on November 9, 2019.

At the inquest on Monday, Andrew Boe, representing Mr Walker's family, asked to submit the letter, along with an opinion piece published in the Daily Telegraph, a recording from Sky News and a Facebook comment attributed to Const Rolfe's mother, to be investigated for contempt of court.

"The publications contain contemptuous remarks about this coronial investigation, and the inquest, and about Your Honour, and our submission is that they be refuted in court," Mr Boe told Coroner Elisabeth Armitage.

Ian Freckelton, representing the NT Police Force, questioned the motive of Const Rolfe's letter and if it was an attempt to intimidate senior leaders of the police force.

"We don't know whether the motive of Mr Rolfe is to try to intimidate the two members of the executive who are going to be giving evidence before you this week," Dr Freckelton said.

"If that is his motive, it is an attempt to pervert the course of justice. It is a gross and blatant attempt to interfere with your inquest."

Mr Boe said the letter contained "very false allegations about Kumanjayi which were denigrating of him".

Const Rolfe has previously refused to answer questions as part of the inquest.

It is not known when Const Rolfe will return to Australia.

Witnesses scheduled to give evidence at the inquest in the next fortnight include Deputy Police Commissioner Murray Smalpage and other police officers.

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