Australian Court Considers Overturning Mother’s Convictions for Killing 4 Children

Australian Court Considers Overturning Mother’s Convictions for Killing 4 Children
Kathleen Folbigg appears via video link during a convictions inquiry at the New South Wales Coroners Court in Sydney on May 1, 2019. (Joel Carrett/AAP Image via AP)

SYDNEY—An Australian court will consider overturning a woman’s convictions for killing her four children, a government inquiry reported on Wednesday months after she was pardoned for the crimes due to new evidence that the siblings had died of natural causes.

Overturning Kathleen Folbigg’s convictions would end a legal battle that has reached the highest level of Australia’s court system to clear her of responsibility for her children’s deaths, which happened over a decade between 1989 and 1999.

Ms. Folbigg, 56, was freed in June after spending 20 years in prison when the New South Wales state government pardoned her on three counts of murder and one of manslaughter.

The pardon was based on the interim recommendations of a state inquiry into new scientific evidence that created reasonable doubt that Ms. Folbigg had smothered her children, as prosecutors had alleged at her trial.

The inquiry’s final report recommended on Wednesday that the state Court of Criminal Appeal consider clearing Ms. Folbigg’s criminal record.

Ms. Folbigg’s lawyer, Rhanee Rego, welcomed that recommendation as “another significant positive milestone in Ms. Kathleen’s 24-year journey to clear her name.”

“Today, and every day, Kathleen’s thoughts are with her children,” Ms. Rego said in a statement.

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