How Kathleen Folbigg’s diaries reveal her innocence
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.”