The Minds Changing Lives

Classroom to courtroom: How students helped change Kathleen Folbigg's fate

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Episode notes

Kathleen Folbigg, widely now regarded as the victim of Australia's most egregious miscarriage of justice, was pardoned in 2023. However, a decade earlier, students at the University of Newcastle's Legal Centre, alongside experts and solicitors, would conduct analysis and research that would be of help in paving the way towards an eventual pardon. One of those students, Kate Wielinga, discusses her involvement in the case with host Shahni Wellington. Now a practising solicitor, she shares the life-changing impact of the experience on her professionally and personally. Associate Professor Shaun McCarthy, director of the Legal Centre, discusses the centre’s long-standing history with public interest advocacy and the priceless skills students gain working on real-life cases. Kathleen's Barrister, Robert Cavanagh, also joins the discussion, highlighting the pivotal role played by these dedicated students in advancing Kathleen's cause. Plus, Associate Professor Xanthe Mallett, criminologist and forensic scientist, breaks down the evidence presented in the case and how students with experience in social justice could help create a fairer and more equitable legal system for all.


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