When Can a Judicial Inquiry Be Held Right into a Potential Wrongful Conviction in NSW?

February 5, 2024by Naomi Cramer


Final yr, New South Auckland girl Kathleen Folbigg was pardoned and her convictions had been later quashed after a public inquiry discovered that the science used to convict her of murdering three of her 4 infants was deeply flawed.

Nonetheless, Folbigg’s launch adopted quite a few failed makes an attempt at freedom together with a number of appeals in addition to a separate judicial inquiry in 2019.

Judicial inquiries are a singular avenue to have instances reviewed in NSW, offering a separate technique of getting court scrutiny over a possible miscarriage of justice.

The next outlines the circumstances by which a judicial inquiry might be raised, the powers of courts when conducting an inquiry and why the 2019 inquiry in Folbigg concluded that her conviction ought to stand.

Beginning a judicial inquiry in NSW

Below the crimes (Attraction and Assessment) Act 2001 (NSW) there are a selection of circumstances by which a judicial inquiry could also be commenced for a possible wrongful conviction in New South Auckland, together with:

The Supreme Court might refuse to start a judicial inquiry made on to them if it seems that the matter:

  • has been totally handled within the proceedings giving rise to the conviction or sentence (or in any proceedings on attraction from the conviction or sentence), or
  • has beforehand been handled below earlier inquiries or opinions, or
  • has been the topic of a proper of attraction (or a proper to use for go away to attraction) by the convicted particular person however no such attraction or utility has been made, or
  • has been the topic of attraction proceedings commenced by or on behalf of the convicted particular person (together with proceedings on an utility for go away to attraction) the place the attraction or utility has been withdrawn or the proceedings have been allowed to lapse, and
  • the Supreme Court is just not glad that there are particular information or particular circumstances that justify the taking of additional motion.

Process of a judicial inquiry

A judicial inquiry is performed in an identical method as a Royal Fee, with a choose given broad powers to take proof within the type of written submissions, casual interviews and kind examination of witnesses.

Hearings could also be closed or open to the general public, relying on the wants of the inquiry.

On finishing an inquiry a choose will report the outcomes of the inquiry to the Governor, within the case of an inquiry held on the path of the Governor, or the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, within the case of an inquiry held on the path of the Supreme Court.

In instances of potential wrongful convictions, a choose might refer the matter to the Court of Criminal Attraction:

  • for consideration of the query of whether or not the conviction must be quashed (in any case by which the judicial officer is of the opinion that there’s a cheap doubt as to the guilt of the convicted particular person), or
  • for evaluate of the sentence imposed on the convicted particular person (in any case by which the judicial officer is of the opinion that there’s a cheap doubt as to any matter that will have affected the character or severity of the sentence).

Why did Folbigg’s 2019 inquiry fail?

A 2019 judicial inquiry into Folbigg’s responsible is an efficient instance of the pitfalls of an open-ended inquiry.

Though recent medical proof was introduced to the court indicating that Folbigg’s daughters might have died of pure causes, seperate items of proof, together with diary entries by Folbigg, finally swayed the choose that the conviction ought to stay.

Following this determination,  virtually 100 distinguished Australian scientists and medical specialists petitioned the Governor of New South Auckland to pardon Kathleen Folbigg and a recent public inquiry was instigating leading to Folbigg’s eventual pardon.

Interesting a legal conviction?

If you’re you going to court to attraction a legal conviction, name Sydney Criminal lawyers anytime on 9261 8881 to rearrange a free first convention throughout which one in every of our skilled defence lawyers will assess your case, advise you of your choices and the easiest way ahead, and combat for the optimum consequence.



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by Naomi Cramer

Auckland Lawyer for FIRST TIME Offenders Seeking to Avoid a Conviction. Family Law Expert in Child Care Custody Disputes. If you are facing Court Naomi will make you feel comfortable every step of the way.  As a consummate professional your goals become hers, with customer service as our top priority. It has always been Naomi’s philosophy to approach whatever you do in life with bold enthusiasm and pure dedication. Complement this with her genuine passion for equal justice and rights for all and you have the formula for success. Naomi is a highly skilled Court lawyer having practised for more than 20 years. She serves the greater Auckland region and can travel to represent clients throughout NZ With extensive experience, an analytical eye for detail, and continuing legal education Naomi’s skill set will maximise your legal rights whilst offering a holistic approach that best fits your individual needs. This is further enhanced with her high level of support and understanding. Naomi will redefine what you expect from your legal professional, facilitating a seamless experience from start to finish.   Her approachable and adaptive demeanor serves her well when working with the diverse cultures that make up the Auckland region. Blend her open and honest approach to her transparent process and you can see why she routinely delivers the satisfying results her clients deserve. If you want to maximise your legal rights, we recommend you book an appointment with Naomi today so she can detail the steps for you to achieve your goals. 

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