Kathleen Folbigg, jailed for killing her four children, has failed to get dismissed a former senior judge’s report that concluded her guilt was “even more certain” following a special review.
Former NSW District Court chief judge Reginald Blanch QC in 2019 found significant investigations had failed to find a reasonable natural explanation for any of the deaths of Caleb, Patrick, Sarah and Laura, who all died before their second birthday in the decade to 1999.
Folbigg’s own explanations and behaviour in respect of her diaries, which weren’t available in any of the mother’s criminal appeals, made “her guilt of these offences even more certain”, Mr Blanch concluded.
But the jailed woman challenged the conclusions in the NSW Court of Appeal, claiming Mr Blanch had failed in the obligation to conduct an inquiry about the potential for the deaths to have been natural.
The court on Wednesday dismissed her judicial review application and ordered she pay the state’s legal costs for February’s two-day hearing.
Written reasons will be published later in the day.
Folbigg moved her eyes towards the ceiling as she watched the court hand down its decision via video link from prison.
Her lawyer had told the court in February there was evidence that Caleb potentially died in 1989 of a floppy larynx – undermining Mr Blanch’s conclusion that there was no identifiable natural cause of Caleb’s death.
Jeremy Morris SC also suggested Folbigg’s contemporaneous diaries had only been read from the perspective the mother was guilty.
Folbigg, who has already served 18 of a minimum 25-year jail term, lost three appeals against conviction, including one in the High Court in the mid-2000s.
Her supporters say Sarah, Laura and their mother share a genetic mutation that has been linked to sudden deaths in young children – a theory Mr Blanch concluded didn’t raise reasonable doubt.
Three weeks ago, a group of prominent scientists put their name to a petition calling for a pardon and Folbigg’s immediate release, saying the genetic data was compelling evidence she did not kill her children.
The list of 90 scientists included Australian Academy of Science president John Shine, epidemiologist Professor Fiona Stanley, Nobel laureate Professor Peter Doherty and former chief scientist Professor Ian Chubb.