Kathleen Folbigg inquiry resumes
The second inquiry into Kathleen Folbigg’s convictions resumes on February 13, after being abruptly adjourned in November 2022.
The inquiry is being led by NSW former Supreme Court Chief Justice, Tom Bathurst KC. It has been reviewing new research into a gene variant called CALM2 G114R, which might have caused Sarah and Laura’s deaths. Tests on their DNA samples showed this mutation was inherited by the girls from Kathleen.
The two weeks of scheduled hearings were cut short after just two days when professors Michael Toft Overgaard and Mette Nyegaard told the inquiry they had made a “significant discovery” regarding the gene that carried the mutation, called calmodulin.
The Danish genetics experts are returning to give further evidence and will be followed by scientists Carola Vinuesa and Todor Arsov, who together found the novel variant in the calmodulin or CALM2 gene; medical expert Matthew Cook; expert in the genetics of cardiac arrhythmias Peter Schwartz; and forensic medicine expert Stephen Cordner.
Resources denied to Folbigg legal team
As reported in The Australian, former Macquarie banker Peter Yates been forced to raise $80,000 to fly scientists from the UK, Denmark and eastern Europe to give evidence at the government-ordered inquiry, as the NSW Government won’t finance their flights.
While the Crown is being funded and resourced by the Attorney-General’s Department; Kathleen’s team have been relying on Legal Aid.
“Instructing solicitor Rhanee Rego and barristers Gregory Woods KC and Robert Cavanagh have been working pro-bono for months because Legal Aid only provided 35 days of funding,” The Australian noted.
“Rego’s efforts alone are said to have reached more than 1000 hours … Most miserly of all is the matter finding accommodation for the legal team. Rego lives in Newcastle and Legal Aid won’t stump up the funds for even a budget hotel in Sydney, the cost of which is about $8000 for the duration of the hearings. It’s the same story for the barristers.”
As journalist Yoni Bashan notes: “Such lopsided arrangements can only signal a half-hearted commitment to the fair and full-throated defence of Folbigg’s case.”
We sincerely hope that is not the case as we seek justice for Kathleen.
The hearing in the Inquiry will take place on Level 4 of the Chief Secretary’s Building, 121 Macquarie Street, Sydney. Public entry to the Chief Secretary’s Building is via Bridge Street, Sydney.
The hearing in the Inquiry will also be live-streamed on the Department of Communities and Justice Youtube channel- external sitelaunch.
Limited seating is available for members of the public at the hearing.