New evidence clears woman who was convicted in 2003 of murdering her children

 December 14, 2023

The nation of Australia was outraged two decades ago after a woman was found guilty of murdering her four children. However, new scientific evidence recently resulted in her acquittal. 

According to CNN,  Kathleen Folbigg was found guilty of three counts of murder and one of manslaughter in 2003 over the deaths of her four children.

Genetic mutation linked to sudden death in children

While no physical evidence was put forward to show Folbigg had murdered her children, prosecutors argued that it was impossible for all to die from natural causes.

Yet in 2022, scientists discovered a previously undetected genetic mutation in two of her daughters that is known to cause sudden death.

CNN quoted Chief Justice Andrew Bell as saying on Thursday that the "substantial and extensive body of new scientific evidence" requires Folbigg's conviction to be reversed.

Anna-Maria Rabia serves as Chief Executive of the Australian Academy of Science, and she said Folbigg should serve as a call to action.

Folbigg "grateful" for introduction of new evidence

"Here in New South Wales, we’ve just seen the crushing of the convictions of Kathleen Folbigg after 20 years in jail. If a case of this magnitude does not trigger law reform, I’m not sure what does," Rabia declared.

"It is time for Australia to review its legal system to ensure it can be more scientifically informed, particularly given the pace of change of scientific discovery and technological advances," she insisted.

Time magazine reported that Folbigg spoke to reporters following her acquittal, saying, "I hoped and prayed that one day I would be able to stand here with my name cleared."

Folbigg indicated she was "grateful that updated science and genetics have given me answers of how my children died."

Member of Parliament celebrates decision

Folbigg's exoneration was celebrated online by her supporters, including Australian Member of Parliament Sue Higginson.

"Kathleen Folbigg's convictions have today been quashed," Higginson wrote in a post on the social media platform previously known as Twitter.

"Kath spent 20 years in prison, in May she was pardoned and now she is exonerated. Thanks to the tireless advocacy of her friends and supporters who have never given up, the nightmare can now come to an end," the politician added.

" A free people [claim] their rights, as derived from the laws of nature."
Thomas Jefferson
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