A mother who was jailed for the deaths of four children she had could be pardoned in 20 years.
The prosecution told an inquiry looking into the convictions against Kathleen Folbigg that there could be “reasonable uncertainty” about her guilt.
Folbigg, who was jailed for murdering her children between 1991 and 1998 (between the ages of eight months and nineteen months), was sentenced to prison in 2003.
Caleb was only 19 days old in Newcastle when he was killed in 1989.
Folbigg has been 55 for over a decade and she has never wavered in her belief that the deaths of these two women were due to natural causes. She has also petitioned a pardon on account of her convictions.
A new inquiry is currently being conducted, and it has been informed of some scientific evidence which could support the prosecution’s claim that these deaths were caused by natural causes.
Sally Dowling, the state director of public prosecutor in New South Wales, submitted a written statement to the inquiry on Wednesday. She said that the new evidence could have led her to doubt whether she was guilty.
Folbigg is not guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, according to the lawyer who was appointed as the assistant chairperson of the inquiry.
If retired judge Justice Tom Bathurst finds that there is reasonable doubt about Folbigg’s innocence, he can recommend to the governor of the state that she be pardoned.
He can also appeal to the Court of Criminal Appeals for consideration of reversing her convictions.
Caleb Folbigg, the first child of Folbigg, was born in 1989. He died 19 days after his birth in what a juror determined to be manslaughter.
Patrick, her second child, was only eight months old in 1991 when he passed away.
Laura, her fourth child, died in 1999, aged 19 months.
In 2003, she was found guilty of 3 counts of murder and 1 count of manslaughter. Her sentence is set to expire 2033.
In 2018, evidence that Sarah and Laura both carried the rare CALM2 gene variant prompted an investigation into her convictions.
Click here to read more
Australian woman convicted of killing four children asks for pardon
Scientists demand pardon for Kathleen Folbigg, convicted child killer
According to cardiologists, this genetic mutation has been linked with sudden infant death syndrome. It is “a reasonable cause” for the sudden deaths of the two daughters, said the hearing.
Patrick’s sudden death may also have been caused by an “underlying neurological disorder”, according to “persuasive evidence” heard at the inquiry.
Folbigg, the only person at home and awake when the children were killed, told the jury that she found three of them while going to the bathroom. She also discovered one death as she checked on the child’s well-being.
The prosecution also informed the jury that Folbigg’s diary contained admissions to guilt.
The psychologists and psychiatrists who testified at the hearing said that “it would be unreliable to interpret these entries in this manner”.
Sophie Callan said that Folbigg was suffering from a “major depressive disorder” and “maternal grieving” at the time she wrote the entries. She had been appointed by former Justice Bathurst to help her in the investigation.
She added, “This puts Ms Folbigg’s confessions of guilt for the deaths in her diaries of her children into a completely different light.”
The hearing of final submissions has been postponed to Thursday