By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA (Worthy News) – A woman who served 20 years behind bars in Australia after wrongfully being convicted for killing her four children has been pardoned.
Australia’s New South Wales Attorney General Michael Daley ordered Kathleen Folbigg to be freed following one of the country’s “gravest miscarriages of justice.”
Based on preliminary findings of an inquiry expressing “reasonable doubt” about her guilt for all four deaths, he spoke to the governor and recommended an unconditional pardon.
The pardon was granted, and the woman who had been branded as “Australia’s worst female serial killer” would be released from Clarence Correctional Center this week, Daley confirmed.
“This has been a terrible ordeal for everyone concerned, and I hope that our actions today can put some closure on this 20-year-old matter,” Daley said.
He added that he had informed Craig Folbigg, the babies’ father, of his decision. “It will be a tough day for him,” Daley stressed.
Kathleen Folbigg was jailed in 2003 on three counts of murder and one of manslaughter following the deaths of her four babies over a decade from 1989.
In each case, she was the person who found their bodies, though there was no physical evidence that she had caused their deaths. She always maintained her innocence.
The 55-year-old was jailed for 25 years in 2003 for the murders of three children and the manslaughter of her first son, Caleb.
Each child died suddenly between 1989 and 1999, aged between 19 days and 19 months, with prosecutors at her trial alleging “she had smothered them.”
Previous appeals and a separate 2019 inquiry into the case found no grounds for reasonable doubt and gave greater weight to circumstantial evidence in Ms. Folbigg’s original trial.
But at the fresh inquiry, headed by retired judge Tom Bathurst, prosecutors accepted that research on gene mutations had changed their understanding of the children’s deaths.
However, the unconditional pardon does not quash Folbigg’s convictions, Daley said. That would be a decision for the Court of Criminal Appeal if Bathurst refers the case to it – a process that could take up to a year.
If her convictions are overturned, she could potentially sue the government for millions of dollars in compensation. Alternatively, she could receive a settlement similar to that of Lindy Chamberlain, who was awarded 1.3 million Australian dollars ($858,000) in 1992 for her wrongful conviction over the death of her daughter Azaria.
However, experts say Folbigg’s compensation could be much higher as she spent much of her adult life in prison.
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