Heartbreak following inquiry verdict
Supporters of Kathleen Folbigg are devastated that Chief Judge of the NSW District Court Reginald Blanch, who conducted the inquiry into her convictions, has concluded he does not have “any reasonable doubt” as to her guilt.
In a 500-page report released tonight, Judge Blanch rejected the evidence presented at the inquiry, which included a world-leading genetic researcher Professor Peter Schwartz calling for a re-evaluation of Kathy’s convictions, based on a genetic variant he said “justifies fully re-opening the case”.
Professor Schwartz wrote a letter to the inquiry following an approach by Professor Carola Vinuesa, who gave evidence to the inquiry in April.
Professors Schwartz and Vinuesa said: “We think it is likely that the two female Folbigg children died as a result of the CALM2 G114R variant, while the two male children died from different causes that could also be genetic.”
The letter, made public this week, said the identification of a genetic variant known as “CALM2 G114R” in Folbigg and two of her children raised “significant doubts” over her conviction.
The CALM2 variant is a gene associated with life-threatening cardiac episodes during infancy and early childhood.
“My conclusion is that the accusation of infanticide might have been premature and not correct,” Professor Schwartz wrote.
However, in a statement, NSW Attorney-General Mark Speakman said he had spoken to Craig Folbigg — the convicted killer’s ex-husband — regarding the report.
“I acknowledge that the decision to commence an inquiry has further aggravated what already was an unimaginable tragedy,” he said.
“I am sorry for the toll that the inquiry has taken on Mr Folbigg and family members over the last year.
“I hope that the conclusion of the inquiry, and the report’s findings, might provide comfort in some way to the relatives of Caleb, Patrick, Sarah and Laura, and will dispel community concern regarding Folbigg’s convictions.”
No, Mr Speakman, it has not dispelled our concern. We are deeply shocked that Judge Blanch is so set on refusing to see reasonable doubt where it so obviously exists.
Speakman concluded his statement by saying: “Ms Folbigg will continue to serve her sentence of 30 years imprisonment. She will be first eligible to apply for parole in 2028 at the conclusion of her 25 year non-parole period.”
Our hearts go out to Kath at this heartbreaking time.
But as supporter Tracy Chapman notes: “We will not give up. We cannot. truth and justice is important for us all.”