The former NSW Director of Public Prosecutions has apologised for comments he made about convicted baby killer Keli Lane in the ABC documentary series Exposed.
- Mr Cowdery apologised for making remarks about Keli Lane's sexual history
- White Ribbon Australia says his comments were not respectful or expressed well
- Lane was sentenced to 18 years in jail but has always protested her innocence
Nicholas Cowdery QC told the program he believed Lane was not a threat to the general community because there was no risk she would harm other children.
"She seemed to be a bit of a risk to the virile young male portion of the community," Mr Cowdery said.
"That's not grounds for putting her in prison, of course."
Lane was convicted of killing her two-day-old baby daughter in 2010 based on circumstantial evidence, including a series of lies she told about three secret pregnancies, which resulted in two adoptions, and one child who mysteriously disappeared.
The child's body has never been found and Lane maintains her innocence.
Throughout the trial much was made in the media of Lane's sex life, with the public baffled about how she fell pregnant three times in four years, and carried children to term with no-one, including her partner, apparently knowing.
During the documentary series Lane alleged she had been sexually assaulted as a teenager and that may have been the start of her pattern of repeatedly falling pregnant.
The White Ribbon Foundation, of which Mr Cowdery QC is a chair, issued an apology today titled, "We are all accountable for the language we use, and the impact it has".
"White Ribbon Australia's chair, Nicholas Cowdery AM QC, acknowledges that his comments and response to questions about Keli Lane on ABC documentary Exposed were not respectful, and he apologises," the statement read.
"Mr Cowdery supports the need for every person to be mindful of the language that they use and the meaning it can have."
White Ribbon chief executive Tracey McLeod Howe wrote on Twitter that "a robust discussion" was necessary.
"Not acceptable, no excuses for it. Apologies to Keli Lane particularly and women everywhere. I am ceo of @WhiteRibbonAust and when home from my current holiday with my son, a robust discussion will no doubt be had."
Meanwhile the RMIT University Innocence Initiative is calling on New South Wales Attorney-General Mark Speakman to order an urgent review into the Lane case and an investigation into the policing and prosecutorial practices leading up to the trial.
In a statement, the Innocence Initiative said the ABC documentary series revealed information that cast doubt over the adequacy of the police investigation and the fairness of her trial.
It said Lane's conviction was based on a flawed police investigation and trial process.