Communities and Justice

Kathleen Folbigg Pardoned

Monday, 5 June 2023

After twenty years in gaol, Ms Kathleen Megan Folbigg is being pardoned.

NSW Attorney General Michael Daley made the recommendation of a pardon this morning to the NSW Governor, Her Excellency the Honourable Margaret Beazley AC KC.

Her Excellency accepted the recommendation.

NSW Attorney General Michael Daley has today also released summary findings prepared by the Hon Thomas Bathurst AC KC, who has been leading the Inquiry into the convictions of Kathleen Megan Folbigg.

In a memorandum outlining his findings, Mr Bathurst stated he had reached “a firm view that there was reasonable doubt as to the guilt of Ms Folbigg for each of the offences for which she was originally tried.”

Based on these findings, Mr Daley recommended to the Governor that the Royal prerogative of mercy be applied to unconditionally pardon Ms Folbigg.

Key points from Mr Bathurst’s memorandum to the Attorney General include:

  • There is a reasonable possibility that three of the children died of natural causes.
  • In the case of Sarah and Laura Folbigg, there is a reasonable possibility a genetic mutation known as CALM2-G114R occasioned their deaths.
  • Mr Bathurst was “unable to accept… the proposition that Ms Folbigg was anything but a caring mother for her children.”
  • In relation to the death of a fourth child, Mr Bathurst found that “the coincidence and tendency evidence which was central to the (2003) Crown case falls away.”
  • In relation to Ms Folbigg's diary entries, evidence suggests they were the writings of a grieving and possibly depressed mother, blaming herself for the death of each child, as distinct from admissions that she murdered or otherwise harmed them.

Mr Bathurst advised that due to the volume of submissions and evidence, it would take some time for the formal report to be finalised.

Mr Bathurst will continue to prepare a report to the Governor pursuant to s 82 of the Crimes (Appeal & Review) Act 2001 NSW.

Quotes attributable to NSW Attorney General Michael Daley

“The result today is confirmation that our judicial system is capable of delivering justice, and demonstrates that the rule of law is an important underpinning of our democratic system.

“I thank the team on the inquiry for the work they have done so far. I also thank Mr Bathurst for the thorough and robust assessment he provided me which helped enable this outcome.

“I thank the previous Attorney General Mark Speakman and the NSW Governor her Excellency the Hon Margaret Beazley, KC, AC, for establishing this inquiry.

“Given all that has happened over the last 20 years, it is impossible not feel sympathy for Kathleen and Craig Folbigg. I am glad that our legal system in NSW contains provisions that allow for the continual pursuit of truth and justice.”

Last updated:

08 Jun 2023