The morning after

60 minutes

People tell me there was a lot of hate on the 60 Minutes Facebook page last night after the report on Kathleen Folbigg’s possible innocence. I couldn’t bring myself to read it. I was too gutted already.

There was a live poll afterwards on whether justice had been served. The verdict – 54% guilty, 46% not guilty.

Nothing like a trial by TV.

When the segment began, I started weeping. My husband came and sat beside me on the sofa and held me as the story unfolded.

I couldn’t even put into words why I was crying. Except I think it has something to do with being too close to it all, having just seen her that morning, imagining her alone in her cell watching it unfold on the screen.

But watching that footage of her children, the footage of her being questioned, the footage of experts proclaiming her innocence … it was all so harrowing.

I continued to weep through most of it, physically shaking with … what? Grief, shock, empathy …

I thought it was incredible television. The producer, Jo Townsend, did an amazing job in pulling it together. And lawyer/author Emma Cunliffe was incredibly powerful too – to face the cameras and profess so unequivocably that she thinks Kathy is innocent.

I doubt anything presented was enough to sway the true believers in their conviction that justice was done, but it’s the closest I’ve seen to a balanced view of the evidence in the case.

As one of my – impartial – Facebook friends said: “I think that’s probably the most evenly weighted major story on this case in my memory.”

Kathy was subdued when I saw her yesterday morning. Nervous about the direction the story would take and what her foster sister would say. She’s become so accustomed to being portrayed as a monster that the idea of being given a fair hearing seems almost impossible to her.

It was unsettling walking into the jail. Even the prison officer who processed my paperwork couldn’t help commenting about her appearing on TV that night. The officers and the inmates in the protection wing have apparently been buzzing about it.

I wonder what they are saying now. But, like those Facebook commenters, at the same time I don’t want to hear.

There is so much hate in the world, sometimes it feels like I can’t bear hearing or reading any more.

I’ve spent my life leaning to the right of the wing. But I find myself becoming less rigid about my blacks and whites, rights and wrong, as I age.

I no longer believe in eye for eye, tooth for tooth. All it does is sow a seed of ugliness in your soul.

All too often those who are baying for blood can’t possibly know enough to be sure or are too ignorant to open their minds to doubt.

5 thoughts on “The morning after

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  1. I have never watched a TV program, where three people I went to school with appeared on. I was a very surreal night and one which I have been following through your blog. I believe the balanced approach of the story last night was a big step forward and can only garnish support to have the government look into the case and hopefully bring justice to Kathy.

  2. I’ve always been a bit of “gray” person, able to see both sides of the story, it’s a pain really – the fence sitting gets a bit uncomfortable. However, there have been times when I have felt “sure”. I remember standing in a corner store as a teenager and hearing customers voice their certainty over Lindy Chamberlain’s guilt. This was just days after Azaria went missing. I felt horrified that people could be so damning about somebody they didn’t know just because she wasn’t behaving in a way they thought “appropriate”. I always believed she was innocent.

    Yet in the case of Kathleen I struggle with the fact four babies died which pushes me more toward the guilty side. But what I think is irrelevant, essentially I have no real idea if she is guilty or innocent, but last night did seem to raise a number of questions that need to looked at again. (I also think the reader poll at the end was pretty tasteless – again because what anyone thinks is irrelevant).

    As I have said before, I really admire your loyalty to your friend, and I hope that the arguments presented by Emma Cunliffe are considered. Whichever way you look at it this is a tragic story.

    As for the commenters on the various forms of social media – don’t read it – vitriol and hatred are ugly. I’m all for healthy disagreement and informed discussion but unfortunately that’s not what usually appears.

  3. People see red when children are involved and are easily swayed by their emotions rather than the evidence or the lack of it. Nothing is black or white, unfortunately our adversarial system of law does not deliver the truth or often, justice either.

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