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Murder, Medicine and Motherhood: The Wrongful Convictions of Kathleen Folbigg 2nd ed

ISBN13: 9781509974146
Previous Edition ISBN: 9781849461573
To be Published: March 2025
Publisher: Hart Publishing
Country of Publication: UK
Format: Hardback
Price: £85.00
Paperback edition not yet published, ISBN13 9781509974108

The 2nd edition of Murder, Medicine and Motherhood presents a fresh examination of the case of Kathleen Folbigg and a critical evaluation of the process that led to her exoneration in 2023.

In 2011, the 2nd edition of this influential work argued that Kathleen Folbigg was wrongly convicted of killing her 4 children. The book attracted scholarly and public attention and led to medical and legal reviews of the Folbigg children's deaths.

Two subsequent inquiries examined Folbigg's convictions. In 2019, Commissioner Blanch concluded that Folbigg's guilt was “even more certain” than it had been at trial. His report provoked an unprecedented response from the Australian Academy of Science, highlighting a rift between the legal and scientific establishments over how medical evidence should be managed. A petition signed by Nobel prize winners and others demanded a further review. The 2nd inquiry, completed in 2023, adopted a markedly different approach to scientific and behavioural evidence. Commissioner Bathurst ultimately reached the “firm view” that “reasonable doubt exists as to Folbigg's guilt.”

This new edition extends the examination of the legal process, medical evidence, and normative expectations of motherhood. It evaluates law's fact-finding processes and the legal system's adherence to the principles of proof beyond a reasonable doubt, and raises concerns about how legal actors work with scientific uncertainty and assess women's credibility and demeanour.

Evidence, Criminal Law
1. Introduction
2. The Folbigg Case
3. Unexplained Infant Death: A Shifting Theory of Maternal Culpability
4. Distinguishing Homicide from SIDS
5. The Scientific Case Against Folbigg
6. A Mother Who Would Kill Her Children
7. Reading Guilt: Kathleen Folbigg's Diaries
8. Media Monster
9. Conclusion