Goodbye job applications, hello dream career
Seize control of your career and design the future you deserve with LW career

Decision made on Kathleen Folbigg’s conviction

Kathleen Folbigg’s application to quash a conviction for the deaths of her four children has been decided by the Court of Criminal Appeal.

user iconNaomi Neilson 14 December 2023 Big Law
expand image

Chief Justice Andrew Bell, Justice Julie Ward and Justice Ian Harrison have quashed Ms Folbigg’s 2003 conviction for the manslaughter of her infant son Caleb and murder of young children Laura, Patrick, and Sarah.

“There is now reasonable doubt as to Ms Folbigg’s guilt.

“As a consequence, it is appropriate that Ms Folbigg’s convictions … be quashed. The court so orders and directs entries of verdicts of acquittal,” Chief Justice Bell said.


Ms Folbigg served 20 years of her 40-year sentence behind bars before being granted an unconditional pardon by NSW Governor Margaret Beazley on the advice of NSW Attorney-General Michael Daley.

Former chief justice Tom Bathurst referred the matter to the Court of Criminal Appeal after an inquiry he headed earlier this year determined “reasonable doubt as to Ms Folbigg’s guilt”.

Former chief justice Bathurst found there were “identifiable causes of death” for Sarah and Laura, being a CALM2 G114R mutation.

Patrick’s apparent life-threatening event (ALTE) was determined to have been caused by a neurogenetic disorder.

Given the findings for these three children, the “reasonable possibility that [Caleb] died of unknown natural causes has not been excluded”.

“Once that conclusion is reached, any probative force of the coincidence and tenancy evidence is substantially dismissed.

“I have concluded that the relationship Ms Folbigg had with her children does not support the inference that she killed them,” he said.

Speaking to Lawyers Weekly in December 2021, lawyer Rhanee Rego said that had the jury in Ms Folbigg’s original trial known about the mutation and the circumstances of her children’s deaths, “it would have found her not guilty and wondered why she was ever charged”.

“For Ms Folbigg, this has been harrowing and traumatic in so many different ways, yet she has remained strong and has always protested her innocence,” Ms Rego said.

“She misses her children every day. She did not kill her children, and she wants the world to know she wasn’t responsible for their deaths.”