Chamberlain flags jury change after Folbigg pardon

Folbigg calls her release 'victory for truth'

Lindy Chamberlain-Creighton wants juries to be allowed to lean on a panel of impartial experts in complex cases after watching another mother wrongly convicted, then pardoned.

Kathleen Folbigg was granted an extraordinary pardon in June, two decades after a jury found her guilty of three counts of murder and one of manslaughter over the deaths of her four babies.

Advancements in science and a coalition of leading scientists eventually led NSW’s former chief justice to find reasonable doubt about her guilt.

In her first comments since Folbigg’s pardon, Chamberlain-Creighton told The Australian Women’s Weekly science was over the head of the average person sitting on a jury.

She said Folbigg’s case had once again “really slapped this (gap in understanding) in the public’s face”.

“We’re giving juries very complex tertiary and even PhD-level forensics to decipher and decide whether a person is guilty or innocent,” she said in the magazine’s November edition, published on Thursday.

“It’s not their fault if they get it wrong.”

Chamberlain-Creighton spent four years in prison for the 1980 murder of her baby Azaria until the girl’s jacket was found in a dingo lair near Uluru, torpedoing the prosecution case.

Folbigg waited even longer for freedom, despite protests of her innocence and the emerging understanding of some extremely rare genetic disorders afflicting two of her children being known during a conviction review in 2019.

It took until a second review in 2023, headed by former NSW chief justice Thomas Bathurst, for authorities to accept the former Hunter Valley hospitality worker’s guilt was far from watertight.

Chamberlain-Creighton called for juries to have access to a panel of impartial experts in complex cases to advise on the validity of the evidence.

Panels of experts are sometimes used in criminal court cases and are bound to give truthful evidence but those experts are often called by the prosecution or defence to suit their respective cases.

“A lot of people think that if you go to court and tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth, you’ll be believed, justice will be served,” Chamberlain-Creighton said.

“But that’s not the way it works.”


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