Kathleen Folbigg — who spent two decades in prison after being convicted of killing her four children — has had her name cleared after the NSW Court of Appeal quashed her convictions.
Folbigg, 55, was pardoned and released from prison in May, following the conclusion of a second inquiry into her murder and manslaughter convictions over the deaths of her four children — Sarah, Caleb, Laura and Patrick.
All four children died between 1989 and 1999.
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She has always maintained her innocence, saying her children died from natural causes.
Last month Chief Justice Thomas Bathurst referred Folbigg’s case to the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal after he found there was an “identifiable cause” for three of the Folbigg children’s deaths.
The former NSW chief justice also found Folbigg’s diary entries — controversially used during her trial to help secure her conviction — did not contain reliable admissions of guilt.
On Thursday, Chief Justice Andrew Bell and Justices Julie Ward and Ian Harrison handed down the appeal judgement, finding there was reasonable doubt as to her guilt.
Kathleen Folbigg and her four children. Credit: SuppliedKathleen Folbigg with her best friend Tracy Chapman on Thursday. Credit: AAP
“Having ourselves reviewed the report, we do so find, for similar reasons that led Mr Bathurst to the same conclusion,” Chief Justice Bell said in handing down the judgement.
“First and most significantly, the ‘substantial and extensive body of new scientific evidence’ … substantially diminished any probative force of what had been relied on at the original trial as powerful coincidence and tendency evidence.
“Secondly, in relation to the diary entries, it may readily be understood how certain entries, viewed in isolation, had a powerful influence on the original jury in a manner adverse to Ms Folbigg.
“Viewed in their full context, however, as they must be, and informed by the expert psychological and psychiatric expert evidence referred to extensively in the report and which was not before the jury, we agree with Mr Bathurst’s conclusion that the diary entries were not reliable admissions of guilt.
“Thus, while the verdicts at trial were reasonably open on the evidence then available, there is now reasonable doubt as to Ms Folbigg’s guilt.”
All of Folbigg’s convictions were quashed and a verdict of acquittal was entered on each count.
Folbigg sat in the courthouse with her best friend Tracy Chapman and her lawyer Rhanee Rego as the judgement was delivered.