In 2015 a Petition (not the 10,000 signature kind – more like a submission with expert reports attached) was sent to the Governor of NSW suggesting that Kathleen Folbigg’s case should be reviewed because we feel that there is enough evidence to cause a sense of unease or disquiet about Kathleen’s conviction.
The experts who have kindly donated their time and considerable effort to this are:
Professor Stephen Cordner, forensic pathologist, who is head of the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine. He has prepared an incredibly detailed report in which he reviewed the forensic evidence presented at the trial, as well as all the autopsy reports and actual pathology slides for each child. This is what he said in conclusion: “If the convictions are to stand they must do so without the support of forensic pathology, and in Laura’s case at least, against the forensic pathology view.”
Dr Sharmilla Betts, clinical psychologist, after reviewing all the diaries and all the current research, concluded that Kathleen’s diary entries are completely consistent with the literature on grieving mothers who have experienced the sudden unexpected death of an infant. There was nothing in her diaries to suggest (even between the lines as the Crown suggested) that she killed her babies.
Dr Ray Hill is an emeritus professor in mathematics from the UK who said in his report that the “one in a trillion” statistic which was being yelled from the rooftops by the media before the Folbigg trial was, simply, wrong and probably had a significant influence on the jury. He says, (quite logically), that in fact if one child dies of SIDS, there is an increased chance of a second or subsequent baby in the same family also dying. So that’s the main thrust of what we have asked the Governor to consider. The Governor has sought advice from other sources, including the Crown who have also submitted a report.
The Attorney General has now been “considering” this petition and the Crown submission for two years, which we believe is nothing short of unconscionable.
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.