It feels like a dream. I can’t believe it’s finally happening.
Almost 12 months after a response was expected from the government, Kathleen Folbigg is finally going to get her answer.
The NSW Governor was supposed to decide what to do about a petition for a judicial review of her case in September last year. But things got VERY bogged down.
We were told that “in light of the volume of material to be considered including 27 days of transcripts, multiple exhibits and numerous expert reports it is estimated at this stage that advice will be given to the Attorney General around 30 October 2015.”
It’s now August 2016 and we’re still waiting … but not for much longer.
The Crown Solicitor has notified Kathleen Folbigg’s legal team that their advice has been passed to the Attorney General for consideration. It has been marked “urgent” and we have been assured that it will be fast-tracked as much as a complex matter like this can be.
One of the barristers says they expect an answer in weeks rather than months.
Just to recap in case you’re out of the loop ….
The Newcastle Herald‘s Joanne McCarthy noted last year:
Newcastle barristers Robert Cavanagh, Nicolas Moir and Isabel Reed, and University of Newcastle Legal Centre director Shaun McCarthy, sent the petition to NSW Governor David Hurley on June 11, seeking a judicial review, after serious concerns about the convictions were first raised by legal academic Dr Emma Cunliffe in her 2011 book, ‘‘Murder, Medicine and Motherhood’’.
The petition has argued the Folbigg convictions were unreasonable in light of more recent knowledge about children’s sudden deaths, particularly relating to cardiac conditions, and the trial’s acceptance of a default diagnosis of murder after incorrect evidence about the incidence of four children’s deaths in one family.
The weight of new evidence was significant, the petition argued, and greater than the ‘‘unease and disquiet’’ standard required to justify a judicial review of the case.
One of the most compelling parts of the petition is a 120-page report by Professor Cordner, head of international programs at the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine, who found much of the forensic pathology discussed at the trial was ‘‘misconceived’’.
His report also states that the default diagnosis of murder was ‘‘wrong’’ and there was no forensic pathology support for the Crown case that Kathy smothered her four children between 1989 and 1998.
As for her diaries, a respected clinical psychologist found the entries were consistent with maternal grief reactions.
(Also, the bits that have been made public have invariably been taken out of context or truncated.)
It’s almost too scary to contemplate what the Attorney General might decide about the petition.
I gave an interview about the case to SBS in August last year. I noted it was pretty fascinating to hear Lindy Chamberlain’s lawyer give his views.
Coincidentally, I’m visiting Kathy at Silverwater Jail this Sunday.
There are already knots in my stomach. It promises to be a tense few hours.
She will be desperate to have hope but also terrified of having it dashed.
I will let you know as soon as I have any news.