Thursday, 10 December 2009

Amanda Knox is almost certainly innocent

That's the view put forward by columnists in The Times and The Guardian this week. According to Alex Wade, writing in the former:
This is a young woman preparing to spend the next 26 years behind bars, whose case, had it been brought in Britain, would never have reached court. If by some cruel miracle a British judge had found himself presiding over 12 good men and true, whose task it was to determine whether Knox was innocent of Kercher’s murder, it is inconceivable that he would not have made strong, telling directions to acquit.
Then why was she convicted? Wade puts it down to sexism, plain and simple: 'In a trial where the evidence has struggled even to reach the realm of the circumstantial, Knox has been demonised for being a sexually active woman.' And he concludes: 'It is a tragedy that Italy — which [...] played a key role in the development of Western jurisprudence — should stand by as so chilling a blend of sexism and injustice wreaks havoc.'

On the other hand, for US crime writer Douglas Preston, writing today in The Guardian, this apparent miscarriage of justice is all about preserving the reputations of corrupt and self-serving prosecutors. Preston alleges that Amanda Knox's initial interrogation was a travesty, in which she was tricked (and possibly beaten) into signing a confession she hardly understood:
I have read those statements. They are written in perfect, idiomatic, bureacratic 'police jargon' Italian. It is difficult to imagine that a foreign student, who had been in Italy for just two months, would have understood what those statements said, let alone made them herself.
And he accuses Italian police of declaring the case closed, and treating Amanda Knox and her boyfriend Raffaele Solicito as convicted criminals, before they had even come to trial: 'With Knox and Sollecito locked up, the police threw all their resources into retroactively gathering the evidence to prove them guilty.' Then, despite the fact that defence lawyers painstakingly demolished every shred of evidence against them in court, and firmly believed they had won the day, the jury found the pair guilty. Why?
I posed this question to my most knowledgeable contact in Italy, a highly connected person who knows whereof he speaks. Here is his opinion: 'This verdict had nothing to do with the actual evidence. It's all about la faccia, face. They had to convict her. Now, with the conviction, everyone has saved face, the judiciary, the prosecutors and police have been vindicated. There will be an appeal and she will be acquitted, and that will be done to satisfy the Americans. Then everybody will be happy. Of course, Amanda and Raffaele will be in prison for another two years, but that's a small matter compared to the careers of so many important people.'
That's justice in Berlusconi's Italy.

[A trivial aside: I tried linking to Douglas Preston's article, which I read in the G2 section of today's print edition, but despite my best efforts I can't find it on the Grauniad website. It's not the first time this has happened: it may look pretty, but the paper's site must be one of the most frustrating to search, and there's often a strange disconnect between print and online editions. Inputting 'Amanda Knox' only brought up days-old articles, while typing 'Douglas Preston' threw up stories in which that particular Christian name had occurred in conjunction with the Lancashire town. On the other hand, when I searched The Times website, Wade's piece came up first time.]


The Random Nouns said...

The trial in some ways reminds me of the 'Guildford 4', in which a corrupt police force bullied somewhat naive young people living abroad into a confession, then twisted whatever evidence they came upon to suit their needs. There is no physical evidence that bears scrutiny, nor do the prosecution witnesses, one who magically appeared one year after the crime to tie the three accused together but claims to have seen Amanda Knox wearing an outfit she does not possess and was never found, one who contradicted his own statements about not seeing Amanda Knox the day after the murder, buying bleach in his shop, and was also contradicted by his own shop assistant, who says she saw neither Knox nor Sollecito. After the shoddy DNA, and the unreliable witnesses, we are left with what the press so gleefully indulged in (shamefully by many in Britain as well as Italy), smutty innuendo. An internet moniker, a vibrator bought as a joke, and Mr Sollecito's manga magazines depicting what manga magazine's always depict, sex and violence, all of which adds up to nothing. The fact it all began because Knox and Sollecito are what every young couple are, immature and prone to inappropriate kissing and cuddling, beggars belief. I only hope that, as one of the above writers speculates, that they are freed on appeal and not left to languish as the Guildford 4 were.

Ted Janson said...

Unfortunately, as much as I love America, Amanda's guilty and there is a mountain of evidence against her. Much of it was not reported in the American media. I don't know if this was due to the Knox/ Mellas PR campaign's influence (or money); or because journalists know that controversy and nationalism increase ratings and readership. Or if American reporters were content to rely on 2nd, 3rd, and 4th hand information (which often appears to have been the case) rather than reading the court transcripts in their entirety.

No one who has read the legal transcripts can say with any credibility that Knox is innocent. She was buying bleach the morning after the crime, and tried to frame an innocent man. The guilty verdict will become clear when the Italian court formally releases its arguments and reasoning in March.

Anonymous said...

Ted Janson is full of baloney. His ignorance of the case is clear when he speaks of "reviewing the transcripts." Well, there are no transcripts available to the public as anyone who has genuinely followed the case would know. Also, the claim that Knox purchased bleach was one of the lies the prosecution leaked to the media and then never backed up in court. She didn't buy bleach and there was no clean up.

Instead of there being a "mountain of evidence" there is a mountain of deceit, misrepresentation of forensic data, and speculation. The prosecution case is incoherent in its broad theories and not there at all in the detail--as anyone who had really followed the case closely would know.

This isn't some abominable party game. The lives of two innocent young people are at stake. If you break the evidence down point by point and study in light of what is known about forensic science and technique it is clear Amanda and Raffaele are completely innocent.

The truth is there is not a "mountain of evidence

Harry Rag said...

Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito repeatedly told the police a pack of lies in the days after Meredith's murder.

On 5 November 2007, Knox and Sollecito were confronted with proof that they had lied and were given another opportunity to tell the truth. However, they both chose to tell the police even more lies.

Sollecito's new alibi was shattered by computer forensic evidence and his mobile phone records.

Knox accused an innocent man, Diya Lumumba, of murdering Meredith despite knowing full well that he was completely innocent. She didn't recant her false and malicious allegation against Lumumba the whole time he was in prison.

Knox's account of what happened on 2 November 2007 is contradicted by her mobile phone records.

Rudy Guede's bloody footprints lead straight out of Meredith's room and out of the house. He didn't lock Meredith's door, remove his trainers, go into Filomena's room or the bathroom that Meredith and Knox shared.

Rudy Guede didn't scale the vertical wall outside Filomena's room or gain access through the window. The break-in was clearly staged. This indicates that somebody who lived at the cottage was trying to deflect attention away from themselves and give the impression that a stranger had broken in and killed Meredith.

Guede had no reason to stage the break-in and there was no physical evidence that he went into Filomena's room.

The scientific police found a mixture of Amanda Knox's DNA and Meredith's blood on the floor.

There was no physical evidence that Rudy Guede went into the blood-spattered bathroom. However, the scientific police found proof that Knox and Sollecito tracked Meredith's blood into this bathroom.

Amanda Knox’s DNA was found mingled with Meredith’s blood in three different places in the bathroom: on the ledge of the basin, on the bidet, and on a box of Q Tips cotton swabs.

Sollecito left a visible bloody footprint on the blue bathmat.

Amanda Knox left a bloody shoeprint on the pillow under Meredith's body.

Knox's and Sollecito's bare bloody footprints were revealed by luminol in the hallway. Knox’s DNA and Meredith’s DNA was found mixed together in one of the bloody footprints.

An abundant amount of Raffaele Sollecito's DNA was found on Meredith's bra clasp. Sollecito must have applied considerable pressure to the clasp in order to have left so much DNA. The hooks on the clasp were damaged which confirms that Sollecito had gripped them tightly.

Amanda Knox's DNA was found on the handle of the double DNA knife and Meredith's DNA was found lodged in a tiny groove on the blade. Sollecito knew that Meredith's DNA was on the blade which is why he twice lied about accidentally pricking her hand whilst cooking.

The defence experts were unable to prove that there had been any contamination. Alberto Intini, head of the Italian police forensic science unit, pointed out that unless contamination has been proved, it does not exist.

Amanda Knox voluntarily admitted that she involved in Meredith's murder in her handwritten note to the police on 6 November 2007. She stated on at least four separate occasions that she was at the cottage when Meredith was killed. She also claimed that Sollecito was at the cottage.

Harry Rag said...

The English translation of the Italian Supreme Court report which explains why Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito's acquittals were annulled can be downloaded from the Perugia Murder File website: