90 scientists call for Kathleen Folbigg to be pardoned
How much longer can the NSW justice system chose to ignore growing medical evidence that supports Kathleen Folbigg’s innocence?
Today 90 eminent scientists—including two Australian Nobel Laureates, medical practitioners, science leaders and prominent Australians—have signed a petition calling for Kathleen’s immediate pardon and release from jail.
The petition argues she should be granted a pardon based on the significant scientific evidence of natural causes of death for her children.
The group submitted the petition to the Governor of NSW, the Honorable Margaret Beazley AC, earlier this week.
The petition includes medical and scientific explanations from leading experts in their field that address each of the Folbigg children’s deaths.
The petition concludes: “The executive prerogative of mercy is designed to deal with failures of the justice system such as this one. It is incumbent on the Governor to exercise her power to stop the ongoing miscarriage of justice suffered by Ms Folbigg. Not to do so is to continue to deny Ms Folbigg basic human rights and to decrease faith in the NSW justice system.”
Health lawyer David Wallace, who also signed the petition, told ABC News: “It’s quite rare for scientists, collectively, to step out of the field and make a comment on a legal matter.
“I’m not aware of a similar example where you’ve got 90 top scientists specifically petitioning on a wrongful conviction-style case.”
Childhood friend Tracy Chapman speaks to Kathleen every day on the phone and also visits her regularly at the prison in northern NSW where she is serving her sentence.
“It’s been 18 years – pretty much we’re coming up to 18 years since 2003 – when she was incarcerated,” she told the ABC.
“It’s very surreal. It’s always been a surreal situation. But at the end of the day, I guess we’ve got more answers now about what’s happening and what had happened … in terms of losing the four children, than we’ve ever had before.
“I feel a lot more hopeful than I ever have before.”
In response to today’s developments, NSW Attorney-General Mark Speakman told the ABC in a statement that the petition to the NSW Governor would “be given appropriate consideration” and noted that Kathleen had been found guilty of killing her four children in the NSW Supreme Court, with the verdict backed up by the later inquiry.
“As the Attorney-General will make a recommendation to Her Excellency the Governor to resolve the petition, it would not be appropriate for the Attorney-General to provide further comment at this stage,” Speakman said.
But, as the scientists concluded in their petition: “A reasonable person should have doubt about Ms Folbigg killing her four children. Deciding otherwise rejects medical science and the law that sets the standard of proof.
“Ms Folbigg’s case also establishes a dangerous precedent as it means that cogent medical and scientific evidence can simply be ignored in preference to subjective interpretations of circumstantial evidence.’’
Pictured main (from left): Academy President Professor John Shine, Professors Carola Vinuesa, Fiona Stanley and Jozef Gecz and Former Chief Scientist Professor Ian Chubb, who have all signed the petition.