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written 2014 about Amanda Knox and a

further twist in the Perugia murder case



commentary • 10.02.14

Knox and Sollecito have been re-convicted for the murder of Meredith Kercher. I wrote about the case before and thought it such an appalling attempt at justice. I was relieved back then to see their conviction quashed but last year the acquittals were thrown out by the Italian Supreme Court and a new trial ordered. A few days ago that trial found the pair guilty yet another time, once again facing the possibility of long prison sentences.

Without having to be knowledgeable about law any reasonable person would see that the legal process in Italy has failed everyone involved in this tragic case. I also noticed that the vitriol Amanda Knox herself has been subject to hasn’t calmed down any. If anything it seems only to have intensified as the haters and crazy bloggers are given a new lease of life by the updated verdict, whipping up a storm of delight at the prospect of conviction. Not salacious enough for these people the tragedy of a brutal murder, they need to see someone go down for it even at the cost of due process. If the someone is an attractive young woman then seemingly all the better. Many things point to the innocence of the accused pair, at the very least things that point to a legal process falling well short of acceptable standards of proof.

There is something primitive about people needing to pass judgement outside of a fair procedure. Modern systems of law are supposed to counter that natural tendency among humans to apportion blame without evidence and to inflict punishment. That the massive machinery of a state prosecutor can impose itself on individuals is why the burden of proof is set high and accusations and speculations are scrupulously subject to the rational laying out of facts as far as that is possible. The case against Knox and Sollecito has failed to do that but, hey, no matter, that girl looked like she might be guilty, she acted a bit weird so she probably is...

   No matter she was initially interrogated for several days without proper legal representation and without the sessions being taped as they should've been.

   No matter for much of that time she was unaware she was even a suspect.

   No matter she was subjected to an all-night tag-team of interrogators until finally submitting to a trumped up accusation when she was exhausted and could barely think straight.

   No matter this amounted to a forced confession, immediately retracted, and later deemed inadmissible in court.

   No matter she was faced anyway with a concurrent civil action for something said in the forced confession, something that slandered another man.

   No matter it was the police who put that other man in the frame.

   No matter it was the best part of a year before the accused were formally charged.

   No matter habeas corpus.

   No matter the prosecution changed supposed motives for the murder from satanic ritual to sex game gone wrong to domestic dispute with little to no evidence for any of those.

   No matter there was no physical evidence of Amanda being in the room where the murder was committed, no finger prints, no foot prints, no DNA.

   No matter any DNA that was put forward as evidence was discredited and thrown out by the appeals court at the second trial.

   No matter that acquittal didn’t just say there was insufficient evidence for a conviction but that Knox and Sollecito categorically did NOT commit the crime.

   No matter there have been three trials for these people to be dragged through - guilty, not guilty, guilty again - with more proceedings to come.

   No matter double jeopardy.

   No matter this recent third trial produced no new evidence and the re-examined DNA samples showed even fewer results than before.

   No matter Rudy Guede was already convicted of the crime with plenty evidence of him being present when the murder was committed.

   No matter he initially said Knox had nothing to do with the murder but then changed his story several times led by a savvy lawyer to maximise his chances within the system.

   No matter he will be out soon.

In short, no matter reasonable doubt, double jeopardy and habeas corpus. Surely it’s a travesty when a modern legal system breaches these basic tenets of justice. The Italians have their way and it’s just different say the trolls in their medieval tones, the ones who would happily see Amanda Knox stoned to death, dragged across the coals, broken on the wheel.

As I said before, no one can know for sure what happened in the room that terrible night in 2007 other than those involved. We can be a bit surer of what did not happen and there is reasonable doubt that Knox and Sollecito were not present when Meredith was murdered. It is long past the time when this case should have been settled and the people caught up in it given a chance to try for recovery free of legal contortions. Justice is supposed to alleviate the misfortunes of life not add to them.

Update - 28/3/15

It was anticipated that when it met this week the Supreme Court would uphold last year’s convictions. Alternatively there was an outside chance it might order yet another trial. No one expected a complete acquittal but that is what happened. After more than seven years of judicial torment Knox and Sollecito were finally exonerated, the family of the victim, the Kerchers, left to their own conclusions. What a fiasco. From conviction to acquittal, to acquittal quashed, to conviction again, to final acquittal. The Italian justice system? Bloody hell!