Kathleen Folbigg was a loving mother of four children; Caleb, Patrick, Sarah and Laura. On May 23, 2003, she was found guilty by jury of the murder of Patrick, Sarah and Laura, and guilty of the manslaughter of Caleb, in the Supreme Court of New South Wales.

There was no physical evidence the children were murdered. The prosecution relied on circumstantial evidence to present their case. Kathleen has spent the last 15 years in prison and continues to maintain her innocence.

In June 2015, three Newcastle-based Barristers submitted a Petition to the Governor outlining grounds upon which Kathleen’s convictions should be reviewed. This Petition contains fresh and compelling evidence consistent with Kathleen’s innocence, including a report from one of Australia’s leading forensic pathologists who concluded that there is no basis in forensic pathology that any of the children were smothered.

Three years later, Kathleen and her supporters are still waiting for the Governor to respond to the Petition.

Happy New Year to everyone who shares our hope that Kathleen Folbigg will finally be given her freedom in 2022.

We have almost reached 2000 signatures on our petition that calls on NSW Attorney General Mark Speakman to release her NOW!

Kath wanted us to share a special message with you:

“To all my lovely supporters, advocates, scientific geniuses, medics, therapists and legal eagle minds that have travelled parts of this damn long road with me …I wish you all well and hope that 2022 brings all of us our wishes, desires, wants and even basic needs that we are all yearning for. I hope that everyone’s health stays strong and we all strive each day to be a better version of ourselves. My appreciation, gratitude, love and adoration is as strong as always. Love, Kath.” 

2021 was a huge year for Kath – her case is now internationally recognised and the scientific community both here and abroad has rallied behind our calls for justice. So many people across the world are asking really important questions about why and how Kath was ever convicted, why she remains in prison and what the NSW legal system is doing. 

We still have no answers. The Attorney General’s delay is unjustifiable and he continues to be silent.

We will not give up – human rights and dignity are important for everyone including Kath. She may just be a woman from Singleton to those in power; just one person, but to us she is our friend and she is a kind, loving person who has been treated so poorly by those who should have done better.

This case is bigger than just Kath – she is an example of a failure of the legal system. It is profoundly sad that those in power continue to leave an innocent woman languishing in prison even when they have clear evidence in front of them of Kath’s innocence. Our fight is to improve the system for us all – for our children, their children and ourselves. 

That being said, so many great things happened in 2021. 60 Minutes produced two programs (plus an ‘extra minutes’ segment) on Kath which you can watch here:

Discovery Channel aired a documentary to 80 million viewers worldwide (unfortunately not to Australia just yet) entitled “The Baby Killer Conspiracy”. This is an excellent program which talks about Kath’s case, and the tragic UK cases of Sally Clark and Angela Cannings which are very similar to Kath’s. 

The Australian Academy of Science, Cosmos Magazine, the Age Examine and Australian Science Media Centre all listed Kath’s case in their top stories for 2021! Kath’s story has been shared thousands of times across the world and featured in places like the New York Times, Washington Post, on CNN and in countries such as the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Canada, Norway, China and India. The level of support from science and the media has been unprecedented. Here are some of the stories:

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/03/08/world/australia/kathleen-folbigg-child-murder-genetics.html

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2021/05/06/australian-mother-murder-genetics/

https://edition.cnn.com/2021/03/19/australia/kathleen-folbigg-children-deaths-sids-intl-hnk-dst/index.html

https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/subscribe/news/1/?sourceCode=DTWEB_WRE170_a_GGL&dest=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.dailytelegraph.com.au%2Ftruecrimeaustralia%2Fcrimeinfocus%2Fnew-recording-of-kathleen-folbigg-talking-about-her-children%2Fnews-story%2F74a7df10aebe46a0359460c9625fa164&memtype=anonymous&mode=premium&v21=dynamic-cold-control-noscore&V21spcbehaviour=append

https://www.science.org.au/news-and-events/news-and-media-releases/celebrating-science-year-review

https://www.canberratimes.com.au/story/7562464/more-of-2021s-biggest-science-stories

Further media stories, books and documentaries are coming. The interest in this case is only growing and people are seriously wondering why the NSW legal system is unprepared to listen to science and act on this miscarriage of justice. The role of all players in Kath’s conviction and maintenance of her incarceration are under the microscope. 

We will share the legal team’s submissions in support of the petition soon. These submissions are clear on why Kath’s case is a miscarriage of justice and why her immediate release is the only reasonable way forward.

Please continue to spread the word about Kath’s case. Those in power need to know that this is not going away and the fight will continue. Whenever you post about Kath’s case, please use the hashtag #justiceforkathleenfolbigg

Please ask your friends and family to sign the petition and share it around.

Thank you.

More voices have been added to the growing support for Kathleen Folbigg’s immediate release, with Lawyer’s Weekly releasing an update on her case, an in-depth investigation by Wired and a new documentary on the way.

Lawyer’s Weekly writes: “A ground-breaking development within clinical practice that indicates a natural cause of death for two of Kathleen Folbigg’s children is further evidence that she has spent the last 19 years behind bars for a crime she never committed, her solicitor tells Lawyers Weekly in this exclusive look at likely our worst miscarriage of justice yet.

“Earlier this year, a legal team behind Ms Folbigg circulated a petition containing new research into an unreported cardiac mutation found in two of her children, Sarah and Laura, that explains how they likely died from natural causes. In a development shared with Lawyers Weekly, that mutation has been added to the list of mutations in ClinVar, a worldwide authoritative database used by clinicians and geneticists.

“Put another way, if the mutation – referred to as the CALM2 G114R gene – is found in an infant who dies without explanation, a genetic counsellor will inform the families that it is the cause of death. Ms Folbigg’s lawyer, Rhanee Rego, said not only would this bring families some certainty, but it would lead to better options for people to start preventative therapy that was not available to Ms Folbigg over two decades ago.

“Today, Kathleen, who has the CALM2 G114R mutation but is affected differently by it (given her cardiac history), would be counselled that she could consider having a cardioverter device implanted to avoid having a fatal cardiac arrest,” Ms Rego said, adding that ‘it’s hard to emphasise just how important [the ClinVar addition] is because it has the capacity to save lives across the world’.

“In addition to saving countless lives, the addition of CALM2 G114R to ClinVar is an “important breakthrough” for science and solidifies that the two female Folbigg girls died from the lethal mutation, rather than the crimes their mother was convicted for.”

“I very strongly urge the Attorney-General and those advising him to expedite this matter and not let an innocent woman spend her 19th Christmas in prison. Look at the cold, hard, verifiable scientific facts that lead to the only reasonable conclusion: there is an innocent woman languishing in prison for crimes she did not commit,” Ms Rego said.   

Click here to read the full article

Why this renowned forensic pathologist fights for Kathleen

​​Wired has published an article that explores Carola Garcia de Vinuesa’s involvement in the case, after being asked to examine the evidence in 2018.

It reveals that in her email to the lawyer, Carola wrote: “As a mother, I cannot think of any more worthy cause to invest time and effort in. I find it hard to believe there is someone sitting in jail for this.”

It also notes that in 2013, Stephen Cordner, a renowned forensic pathologist at Melbourne’s Monash University wrote up a 112-page report arguing that the facts more strongly supported natural causes than smothering—the evidence for which was zilch. In a veiled criticism of the expert testimony in Kathleen’s case from 2003, he wrote, “There is no merit in forcing certainty where uncertainty exists.”

Wired writes: “In June 2015, Folbigg’s legal team delivered an official petition, including Cordner’s report, to the attorney general’s office in Sydney, where it sat for three years. Finally, on August 22, 2018, attorney
general Mark Speakman announced that an official inquiry would take place the following year.”

In 2018, a technician in Vinuesa’s lab put samples of Kathleen’s DNA through a genetic sequencing and discovered a mutation in Kathleen’s CALM2 gene. CALM2 is one of three genes in the calmodulin family, which among other things help regulate the heart’s expansions and contractions. Other calmodulin variants have been associated with severe cardiac disorders and sudden death in infancy.

“Professionally, Vinuesa had little to gain from spending her free time investigating the genome of a convicted killer. But seeing that mutation in the CALM2 gene triggered in her a sense of duty.

“In December, Vinuesa finished her report on the CALM2 variant and sent it to Folbigg’s lawyers. They passed it on to inquiry officials in the government. Soon, Vinuesa was traveling to Sydney to meet with a
handful of other scientists who had been assigned to the case. Officials with the New South Wales attorney general’s office had asked these scientists—some of whom worked for the government—to conduct a separate genetic investigation.

Vinuesa, eager to share her results on CALM2, told them what she’d found. To her surprise, she sensed in a few of the scientists in the room some conservatism—even animosity—toward her approach.

In February 2019, Vinuesa found in Laura and Sarah precisely the same CALM2 mutation as in Kathleen and wrote a report saying the novel CALM2 variant was “likely pathogenic.”

In March, the Folbigg inquiry hearings began at the Forensic Medicine and Coroner’s Court in Sydney’s western suburbs. Vinuesa and several of the geneticists came to testify.

Wired reports that the members of the Sydney team were seated on an elevated platform, while Vinuesa and her colleague were instructed to sit to the side at a small table and her credentials were questioned.

“I was introduced in a way that was disqualifying from the outset,” she said. “I felt it, and I was so angry.”

A little while later, a pediatric cardiologist named Jonathon Skinner, who had assessed the cardiac health records of Folbigg and her children, was called to testify. At one point, Furness asked him about
the CALM2 gene. Skinner responded that because Kathleen showed no evidence of cardiac disease, to suggest it had killed her daughters was “stretching credibility.”

“In the weeks after her testimony, Vinuesa spent several sleepless nights going over what had happened in court.

“One night, when she was home and obsessing over the case, Vinuesa emailed a handful of cardiac geneticists for their opinion on the CALM2 variant. One of them was Peter Schwartz, a cardiovascular geneticist at Italy’s Istituto Auxologico Italiano and an expert on life-threatening heart defects caused by mutations of the CALM genes.

“When Schwartz replied, his email held a bombshell: He had just published a paper reviewing the International Calmodulin Registry, a large, collaborative effort to enlist every person with a disease-causing mutation in the CALM genes. One family, he wrote, had variant in another CALM gene that looked almost identical to the Folbigg mutation. In this family, two children had suffered cardiac arrest at ages 4 and 5, and one of them had died. Their mother, from whom they inherited the mutation, was seemingly healthy.”

However, the Sydney team “seemed to have made their minds up and were not willing to accept this new evidence”.

Wired writes: “Reginald Blanch, the judicial officer presiding over the inquiry, was left with a decision to make. The Sydney team and the Canberra team had submitted conflicting expert opinions. When Blanch
delivered his decision in July of 2019, his language was unmistakably subjective.”

The night Vinuesa read the inquiry report, she couldn’t believe it. In the middle of the night, she woke up weeping.

“She thought about Folbigg: If this woman was in fact innocent, her suffering must be beyond comprehension,” Wired notes.

There was only one option left: to petition the governor of New South Wales to enact the Royal Prerogative of Mercy. In other words, to grant Kathleen a pardon. In March, Folbigg’s legal team drafted the petition and sent it to eminent scientists around the world to sign. So far, they have collected more than 100 signatures, including from several of the world’s leading cardiac geneticists and two Nobel laureates.

“The petition—like the appeals that came before it—argues that the new evidence on the CALM2 variant raises reasonable doubt about Folbigg killing all four of her children. To keep Folbigg in prison would
be to establish a dangerous precedent, ‘as it means that cogent medical and scientific evidence can simply be ignored in preference to subjective interpretations of circumstantial evidence.

“The petition awaits review in the office of the New South Wales attorney general, Mark Speakman. Vinuesa and many of her peers insist the science is clear—CALM2 is now in the medical literature as a genetic cause of SIDS. The investigation of Folbigg’s DNA had helped to advance scientific knowledge. But Folbigg’s own fate remains uncertain.

Vinuesa finally met Kathleen earlier this year and admits she couldn’t help but feel she had let her down.

“Vinuesa told Folbigg she had hoped to say goodbye on a happier note,” Wired writes. “Folbigg told her that the petition alone had improved her life in prison. After it became public, she said, she received a letter from
other inmates telling her she was now welcome to join them in the main section of the prison. They believed her to be innocent.”

Click here to read the full Wired article.

Professor Carola has also spoken on UK radio about the case.

Click here to listen to the podcast.

New documentary on the way

Additionally, another documentary is about to be commissioned in Denmark on the case, which will start filming here in early February, as the eyes of the world begin to focus on this terrible miscarriage of justice.

It follows the two-part Discovery Channel/BBC documentary released in November: The Baby Killer Conspiracy.

It tells the story of three mothers who were given life sentences based on one man’s killer statistic. Now one of these women is dead, one is free and one, Kathleen, is still in prison.

In 1998, Professor Sir Roy Meadows stated that unless proven otherwise, the chances of three babies from the same mother dying of natural causes were 1 in 73 million. After British solicitor Sally Clark suffered the devastating loss of her second baby, Meadows’ Law was used to arrest and convict her of murdering both of her children. In 2002, supermarket worker Angela Cannings was also jailed after the death of her third child. In what can only be described as a modern-day witch hunt, Meadows’ Law set a  default position that multiple infant deaths in one family is so rare that it had to be murder, and was used to arrest grieving mothers across the world and presented in Kathleen’s trial.

Meadows’ evidence was eventually discredited and Sally Clark was freed.

Although she never got her life back, her release contributed to three other British mothers having their convictions overturned.

Clare Laycock, SVP Planning & Insights, Head of Entertainment at Discovery, said it was an important and gripping documentary series that confronts the devastating miscarriages of justice still impacting women today.

PICTURED MAIN: ART BY MARIE SMITH, VIA WIRED

Associate Professor of Linguistics at Macquarie University David Butt has told 60 Minutes he believes it is not reasonable to claim that Kathleen Folbigg’s diaries support only one ‘damning’ interpretation.

Butt said he did not subscribe to the belief that the diaries are a “virtual confession”. He added that his conclusion after reading the diaries was that there was reasonable doubt. He suggested the police and prosecutors should have approached her case with the mandate of “innocent until proven guilty”.

“If you start out with the presumption of guilt, you can find it,” he cautioned.

Butt was among four leading experts who analysed Folbigg’s diaries have formally submitted their opinions to NSW Governor Margaret Beazley AC QC, and to NSW Attorney-General Mark Speakman, as part of a petition originally lodged in March – and which has now been backed by 155 eminent scientists, science advocates and medical experts from around the world – calling for her to be pardoned and released.

“There is a likelihood that the courts and Inquiry have misinterpreted the feelings of responsibility for not being a better mother as admissions of agency in the deaths of the children,” he noted in the formal submission.

“I am comfortable in describing Ms Folbigg as having been a very loving and attentive mother …,” psychotherapist Dr Kamal Touma said.

“After reading and analysing the minute particulars of Ms Folbigg’s diaries and having met her for five analytical psychotherapy sessions, I cannot see anything in the diaries or from my sessions with Ms Folbigg to indicate that she harmed her children.”

Dr Touma had five audiovisual consultations with Folbigg and concluded that “the painful aloneness of being dissociated with and from her feelings is illustrated by this simple heartbreaking entry in her diary the day her daughter Sarah died: MONDAY 30: SARAH LEFT US.”

But Dr Touma rejects the notion that she may have killed her children in severe dissociative, fugue like states.

“Nowhere in the diaries nor in my conversation with Ms Folbigg was this observable,” he said. “I can comfortably exclude this hypothesis.”

When Dr Touma spoke to Folbigg, he was struck by how she spoke about her children.

“A written transcript cannot reflect what we may call the ‘musicality’ of the moment where immersed in associative thinking she talked about her children. This is the true memories she keeps of her children and wasn’t since losing them able to access to express. This is not how a murderous mother would ever talk about her children,” he said.

A second expert, US-based psychologist and textual analyst Professor James W. Pennebaker, who has helped the FBI and CIA understand the language of kidnappers, terrorists and violent criminals, said: “I see absolutely no evidence to suggest that these were premeditated murders.

“I see no evidence that Kathleen Folbigg’s language … exhibited any signs of deception or attempts to cover anything up. I also see no sign that Folbigg is mentally unstable or is someone harbouring buried hostility or rage,” Prof Pennebaker said.

A third expert, consultant psychiatrist Associate Professor Janine Stevenson, said: “Nowhere in her journals does she use agency verbs, such as ‘I hurt her’ … Throughout the journal Ms Folbigg is detailing all the steps she took to ensure the safety of her children. There is no anger, no aggression, only self-doubt.”

Watch Butt’s interview below:

Kathleen Folbigg has spent 18 years behind bars on the basis of discredited evidence and presumptions about her diaries that are not supported by experts. It’s time for the NSW justice system to admit it made a mistake.

Sign our petition here: https://www.change.org/p/mark-speakman-attorney-general-mark-speakman-release-kathleen-folbigg-now

A leading forensic pathologist who examined the evidence in Kathleen Folbigg’s case and found no proof that she had killed her children has called for the establishment of a Criminal Cases Review Commission.

In 2015, Melbourne-based Professor Stephen Cordner concluded that: “There is no positive forensic pathology support for the contention that any or all of these children have been killed.”

An article co-authored by Kerry BreenStephen Cordner and David Weisbrot for John Menadue’s Public Policy Journal suggests that an independent review body will buttress the courts, remedying miscarriages of justice by deciphering often complex expert evidence.

“Most Australians implicitly trust the Australian legal system to convict the guilty and acquit the innocent. Generally, that trust is well-earned, although cases where complex expert evidence is central can be problematic,” the co-authors state.

They point to the difficulty that judges and juries have in interpreting and weighing complex scientific and medical evidence, and the difficulty in determining the reliability of that evidence.

“Such a weakness was at the heart of the worst miscarriages of justice seen in Australia,” they state, pointing to  “current disquiet over the continued incarceration of Kathleen Folbigg in New South Wales”.

Criminal Cases Review Commission was established in the UK 25 years ago, following a series of disturbing miscarriages of justice. The CCRC provides a specialist independent mechanism for thorough review of convictions after the completion of all appeals, but where concerns continue or emerge.

“In our view, Australia urgently needs to establish its own CCRC at arms’ length from courts and politicians,” they write. “It is simply not fair that, for example, Folbigg’s future now rests formally with the NSW governor, acting on the advice of the NSW attorney-general.”

We agree – it is devastating that Kathleen remains behind bars, with her fate in the hands of elected politicians who, as Professor Cordner (above) writes, are “subject to the tempests of public opinion”.

We stand with these respected medical and legal professionals in calling for Australia to establish a CCRC and call for the scientific evidence in Kathleen’s case to be considered ahead of public opinion.

Kathleen has spent 18 years behind bars on the basis of discredited evidence. It’s time for the NSW justice system to admit it made a mistake.

Click here to read the full article

Journalist Quentin McDermott has revealed that the diaries used to convict Kathleen Folbigg may hold the key to overturning her convictions.

He writes in an article published in The Australian that four leading experts have come forward to contradict the long-held view that the diaries were a “virtual” admission by Folbigg of guilt to murdering her children, Patrick, Sarah, Laura, and for the manslaughter of her firstborn, Caleb, who died between 1989 and 1999.

They have formally submitted their opinions to NSW Governor Margaret Beazley AC QC, and to NSW Attorney-General Mark Speakman.

Psychotherapist Dr Kamal Touma said: “I am comfortable in describing Ms Folbigg as having been a very loving and attentive mother … After reading and analysing the minute particulars of Ms Folbigg’s diaries, and having met her for five analytical psychotherapy sessions, I cannot see anything in the diaries or from my sessions with Ms Folbigg to indicate that she harmed her children.”

A second expert, US-based psychologist and textual analyst, Professor James W. Pennebaker, who has helped the FBI and CIA understand the language of kidnappers, terrorists and violent criminals, said: “I see absolutely no evidence to suggest that these were premeditated murders.

“I see no evidence that Kathleen Folbigg’s language … exhibited any signs of deception or attempts to cover anything up. I also see no sign that Folbigg is mentally unstable or is someone harbouring buried hostility or rage.”

A third expert, consultant psychiatrist Associate Professor Janine Stevenson, said: “Nowhere in her journals does she use agency verbs, such as ‘I hurt her’ … Throughout the journal Ms Folbigg is detailing all the steps she took to ensure the safety of her children. There is no anger, no aggression, only self-doubt.”

And a fourth expert, associate professor of linguistics Professor David Butt, said: “There is a likelihood that the courts and inquiry have misinterpreted the feelings of responsibility for not being a better mother as admissions of agency in the deaths of the children.”

Solicitor Rhanee Rego and barrister Robert Cavanagh said this week: “Experts now say that the diaries cannot be taken as confessions of murder or harm to any of her children. The only consideration is reasonable doubt.

“Every argument that has been used to suggest the guilt of Ms Folbigg has now been overcome and her convictions are untenable.

“Now no reasonable person can conclude that Ms Folbigg’s guilt is established beyond reasonable doubt,” they said.

“It’s time for Mark Speakman to recommend to the Governor that Kathleen Folbigg be released.”

In a statement, the Attorney-General said: “These materials are voluminous and complex. They will be subject to thorough consideration. It would be inappropriate to provide further comment at this stage.”

Read McDermott’s full article by clicking here.

Leading Australian scientists have renewed their call for Kathleen Folbigg’s pardon and release from jail following a special report by 60 Minutes.

Despite conclusive scientific and medical evidence that points to natural causes of death for all four of her children, Kathleen remains incarcerated, more than 18 years after she was sent to jail.

The renewed call comes six months after 90 eminent scientists submitted a petition to the Governor of NSW, the Honourable Margaret Beazley AC, who awaits advice from the NSW Attorney-General, Mark Speakman.

In April, the Australian Academy of Science offered to facilitate for the NSW Attorney-General a briefing by scientists with expertise in genetics and statistics, to explain the new genetic evidence that had been uncovered.

The NSW Attorney-General declined that briefing and instead requested the new evidence be submitted via Kathleen’s legal representatives, which occurred in June.

This includes new peer-reviewed genetic findings by an international team of 27 scientists published in a top international cardiology journal, Europace, in November 2020. It showed two of the children had genetic mutations that predisposed them to sudden death in childhood from lethal heart arrythmias. Forensic pathologists had declared natural causes of death for the other two children.

Australian Academy of Science President, Professor John Shine is among the petition signatories and says there is very reasonable doubt about Kathleen’s conviction.

“The NSW Attorney-General now has sufficient medical and scientific evidence before him that provides an alternative explanation for the deaths of the Folbigg children, that carries more weight than the circumstantial evidence used to convict her,” Professor Shine noted in a statement on science.org.au.

“Our offer to the NSW Attorney-General to facilitate a scientific briefing stands. These matters can appear complex to a non-scientific audience.

“We also call on the federal and state and territory attorneys general to consider legal reform that would empower the judiciary to identify the most qualified expert to provide evidence for any given case.

“To ensure miscarriages of justice like this are prevented in the future, it is imperative that evidence heard by the courts is accurate; is delivered by the most qualified expert; and draws on the most up-to-date science. This is particularly important in rapidly moving areas such as human genetics.

“We urge the NSW Attorney-General to expedite this matter and advise the NSW Governor to pardon Kathleen Folbigg and release her from jail,” Professor Shine said.

Petition signatory Australian Nobel Laureate and Corresponding Member of the Australian Academy of Science, Professor Elizabeth Blackburn said it was profoundly wrong to deny justice by denying science.

“Do those who would deny Kathleen Folbigg’s right to scientific evidence deny that the planet Earth revolves around the sun?” said Professor Blackburn.

Watch the 60 Minutes story in which the science behind the case is explored.

Sign the petition to release Kathleen now!

Justice For Kathleen Folbigg has create a petition on Change.org to support Kathleen’s immediate release.

Her case is not just about one woman who has been imprisoned for crimes she did not commit; it is also about fighting for the criminal legal system to listen to science and supports calls for the legal and scientific communities to work more closely together to ensure evidence placed before the courts is reliable and accurately presented and understood by all those involved in such cases.

To get the conversation started, please share the petition and use the hashtag #JusticeforKathleenFolbigg

Click here to sign and share: https://www.change.org/p/mark-speakman-attorney-general-mark-speakman-release-kathleen-folbigg-now

If you need help to sign, here’s a link to some helpful instructions: https://help.change.org/s/article/How-to-sign-a-petition?language=en_US

Kathleen Folbigg has spent more 18 years behind bars in maximum security prisons, but science has proven that she did not kill her children.

Kathleen was convicted of the murder of three of her children and the manslaughter of a fourth in 2003. In November 2020, 27 world-leading scientists published a study in an Oxford University journal which concludes that the two female Folbigg children likely died – with 90-95% certainty – from having a lethal cardiac mutation. The two male Folbigg children possess rare epileptic gene mutations, which are currently under scientific investigation.

This new evidence is now supported by more than 150 world leading scientists and medical experts who are calling for Kathleen’s immediate release from prison. The new ground-breaking genetic evidence further supports the evidence given by leading forensic pathologists that all four children died of natural causes. World recognised forensic pathologist, Professor Stephen Cordner concluded: “Simply, there is no forensic pathology support for the contention that any or all of these children have been killed. Let alone smothered.”

We are calling on Attorney General of NSW Mark Speakman to recommend the pardon and immediate release of Kathleen.

For more on Kathleen’s case and the science behind her plea of innocence, read the Petition to the NSW Governor calling for her pardon here:  https://www.science.org.au/files/userfiles/events/news/documents/petition-to-governor-of-nsw-for-pardon-of-kathleen-folbigg-05-03-21.pdf

Our plea to Mark Speakman, Attorney General for NSW, Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Sexual Violence and Member for Cronulla, is to acknowledge the facts. He has more than enough factual supportive evidence before him to recommend the immediate release of Kathleen from prison. Why is he failing to act?

Our faith in the NSW criminal legal system decreases each day that passes without him immediately pardoning and releasing Kathleen Folbigg.

Justice For Kathleen Folbigg has create a petition on Change.org to support Kathleen’s immediate release. More than 1400 people have already signed it and we need you to add your name to the list.

Her case is not just about one woman who has been imprisoned for crimes she did not commit; it is also about fighting for the criminal legal system to listen to science and supports calls for the legal and scientific communities to work more closely together to ensure evidence placed before the courts is reliable and accurately presented and understood by all those involved in such cases.

To get the conversation started, please share the petition and use the hashtag #JusticeforKathleenFolbigg

Click here to sign and share: https://www.change.org/p/mark-speakman-attorney-general-mark-speakman-release-kathleen-folbigg-now

If you need help to sign, here’s a link to some helpful instructions: https://help.change.org/s/article/How-to-sign-a-petition?language=en_US

Scientific evidence showing reasonable doubt in the Kathleen Folbigg case was the subject of a 60 Minutes investigation last night.

A petition was signed earlier this year by 90 eminent scientists, medical experts and science advocates, who included two Nobel laureates, and two former chief scientists, calling for Kathleen to be pardoned.

A subsequent letter sent to the Governor supporting the petition was signed by 66 members of the Royal Society of NSW.

Their petition relies on fresh, peer-reviewed scientific evidence published in the British-based cardiac journal Europace last Nov­ember suggesting the deaths of Folbigg’s two daughters, Sarah and Laura, were “likely” caused by a genetic mutation, CALM2 G114R, and that the deaths of her two boys, Caleb and Patrick, may have been caused by a different genetic mutation.

The study concludes that the two female Folbigg children likely died – with 90-95% certainty – from having a lethal cardiac mutation. The two male Folbigg children possess rare epileptic gene mutations, which are currently under scientific investigation.

Last night, many of those scientists spoke about their concerns surrounding legal handling of the case and called for her release.

But the NSW Government is refusing to listen.

The 60 Minutes special report also revealed that jurors never heard key evidence before sentencing Kathleen.

Australian National University Professor of Immunology Carola Vinuesa (above) said: “At the time of Kathleen’s trial, even though it has just been discredited, it still permeated the idea that four deaths in a family is just too rare. Well, we know it isn’t. These things happen.”

At the time of the original trial, the same tragedy had happened to at least eight other families overseas. 

Why is the Attorney General, Mark Speakman, continuing to ignore calls for Kathleen’s release?

Click here to watch the 60 Minutes report.

Quentin McDermott has since revealed in The Australian that Kathleen has written a four-page letter to NSW Attorney-General Mark Speakman begging him to “soften your heart” and grant her a ­petition for pardon.

Her letter pays tribute to the scientists: “To them, this isn’t only about helping Kathleen Folbigg, but rather about a need for scientific proof to be listened to, respected and heeded. I pay homage to all scientists involved. They have removed the stigma of being perceived as an evil monster, removed the anxiety and fear that I have suffered every day for over 30-odd years.”

She also discusses her love for her children and her devastating grief.

She concludes by saying: “Please soften your heart.”

McDermott also reveals that Speakman has rebuffed an offer from leading scientists to help him and his colleagues assess the complex science that underlies the petition.

Speakman told John Shine, president of the Australian Academy of Science: “I do not propose to convene private consultations with individuals or organisations in relation to further information advanced in support of Ms Folbigg’s petition.”

How much longer can the NSW Government hide from the growing scientific evidence that Kathleen did not kill her children? How does Speakman sleep at night with the knowledge that a woman may have spent 18 years behind bars for crimes she did not commit?

Please sign our petition

Kathleen’s friend Tracy Chapman, who was interviewed for the 60 Minutes special report, said: “Science has proven, beyond a reasonable doubt, that our friend, Kathleen Folbigg is innocent of all crimes she has been incarcerated for.

“To coincide with the 60 Minutes special event on the Kathleen Folbigg case, Justice for Kathleen Folbigg has created an online petition calling on the NSW Attorney General, Mark Speakman to immediately pardon Kath and release her from prison. Justice for Kathleen Folbigg is asking all our friends and Kath’s supporters to please sign this peition and to share it among your friends and colleagues.”

Click here to sign the petition.

When is it reasonable doubt?

The University of Newcastle’s Criminology & Criminal Justice Society will present an online panel discussion next month – “Kathleen Folbigg – When is it reasonable doubt?”

New medical evidence emerged in Kath’s case in 2019, which suggested her children may have died of natural causes as a result of genetic abnormalities. This research was published in 2020 and led 90 eminent Australian scientists and medical professionals to petition the NSW Attorney General to pardon her. At the time of writing, we are still awaiting the AG’s response. Whatever the AG finds, the outcome will rock the legal world in Australia.

The panel will bring together experts from both sides of the divide, legal – criminological, social – to discuss in a Q&A format the criminal justice system’s role in cases such as this, and to whom that system should be accountable.

Isabella Crebert, the host of the University Of Newcastle Crime Podcast, will host the event. The panel members will include:

Tracy Chapman: Tracy has been friends with Kath since childhood and is among those leading the fight for justice in her case. She speaks to Kath every day and visits her frequently.

Michael Nott: As a lawyer, Michael specialises in child protection and domestic violence, with a focus on medical and scientific evidence. He is renowned for defending alleged perpetrators of shaken baby cases, Munchausen Syndrome, factitious disorder, and cot deaths. In 2014, Nott composed an article about Kath’s infamous diary entries, where he provided his medical expertise on how the prosecution used the hypotheses of Munchausen Syndrome By Proxy and ‘the rule of three’ in relation to cot deaths during Kath’s trial.

Dr Xanthé Mallett: Forensic Anthropologist, Criminology, three time author, true crime television presenter, and associate lecturer in Criminology at the University of Newcastle. Xanthé’s first book ‘Mothers Who Murder’ (2014) explored the lack of forensic evidence in Kath’s case. Xanthé not only campaigns for Kath’s innocence, but for the grave miscarriage of justice that she believes has occurred.

The free event will be held on September 9, 2021, from 6-7pm.

Click here to register

The Australian Academy of Science has issued a strongly worded statement regarding the NSW Court of Appeal decision that it found there was no legal error in the inquiry into Kathleen Folbigg’s conviction, which was led by former judge the Hon R O Blanch AM QC in 2019.

The Academy said on March 24: “There are medical and scientific explanations for the death of each of Kathleen Folbigg’s children.

“Today the NSW Court of Appeal has dismissed Kathleen Folbigg’s appeal, which requested that the findings of the Commissioner of the 2019 inquiry be overturned. The appeal reviewed the legal processes undertaken by the Inquiry but did not consider an assessment of the scientific evidence available since the Inquiry.

“The incorrect conclusions about the genetics evidence found by the Commissioner of the 2019 inquiry, were adopted by the NSW Court of Appeal in their conclusion today. The Europace peer reviewed scientific paper , which validates the findings of the mutation in Sarah and Laura Folbigg, displaces the findings and non-scientific reasoning at the Inquiry,” said Professor Carola Vinuesa FAA FAHMS.

“These points were made clear in the petition recently submitted to the NSW Governor and which is currently being considered by the NSW Attorney-General as a separate matter to today’s Inquiry. 

“The petition argues that Ms Folbigg should be granted a pardon based on the significant scientific evidence of natural causes of death for her children.

“This includes new peer-reviewed genetic findings by an international team of 27 scientists published in a top international cardiology journal last year.”

Australian Academy of Science President Professor John Shine AC PresAA FAHMS(Hon) FRS was among 22 Fellows of the Academy and 90 scientists to sign the petition.  

“It is deeply concerning that there is not a mechanism to appropriately weigh up all medical and scientific evidence in a case of this nature,”  Professor Shine said. “There is now an alternative explanation for the death of the Folbigg children that does not rely on circumstantial evidence.”

Human geneticist and researcher Professor Jozef Gecz FAA FAHMS added: “The science in this particular case is compelling and cannot be ignored. Despite the new knowledge gained from sequencing the human genome almost 20 years ago, we still have some way to go when it comes to both understanding the complexities of genetic disorders and educating the community about these issues.” – 

Former Chief Scientist Professor Ian Chubb AC FAA FTSE added: “Expert advice should always be heard and listened to. It will always trump presumption.”

ANU Professor Carola Vinuesa FAA FAHMS, who was an unpaid expert witness in hearings that took place during the 2019 inquiry into the convictions of Kathleen, issued a separate statement saying:“Today, the incorrect conclusions about the genetics evidence found by the Commissioner of the 2019 inquiry were adopted by the NSW Court of Appeal in their conclusion. The evidence set out in The Europace paper, which validates the findings of the mutation in Sarah and Laura Folbigg and were published after the 2019 inquiry displaces the findings and non-scientific reasoning at the Inquiry.

“As pointed out in our report to the 2019 Inquiry (which was endorsed by international calmodulin and cardiac genetics experts), the International Calmodulin Registry and peer-reviewed literature document that the Folbigg girls’ deaths were not outliers with regards to already known CALM-related sudden unexpected deaths. It is unfortunate that incorrect statements regarding these facts have once again been given such weight.”

Pictured main (from left): Academy President Professor John Shine, Professors Carola Vinuesa, Fiona Stanley and Jozef Gecz and Former Chief Scientist Professor Ian Chubbwho have all signed the petition.