Friday, March 27, 2015

11. The Meredith Kercher Case: A Supreme Surprise

Today, March 27 2015, Italy's Court of Cassation overturned the convictions of both Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito.

And it didn't just overturn them. In fact, it also ruled that both should be acquitted, which effectively ends the case.

I must admit that I, for one, am astounded. This was already one of the most extraordinary legal cases of all time, and today's ruling emphatically underscores that.

We will, of course, have to wait a while to see what the court's reasoning has been, but whatever it is, it seems very difficult to see how it would fit in with the same court's earlier ruling of June 2013. After all, the Court of Cassation, at that time, overturned an earlier acquittal handed down by the Perugian Appeal Court. It did so in fairly clear terms, making it - at the time - an almost certainty that a guilty verdict would be required, something that the Florence Court of Appeal thereupon obligingly delivered.

Now, however, the Court of Cassation has decided to strike down that guilty verdict and, taking matters into its own own, has furthermore decided to acquit both Knox and Sollecito.

At first glance, that makes no sense whatsoever. After all, if, back in 2013, the Court of Cassation had agreed with the acquittal of both defendants but not with the reasoning of the Perugian Court, then it could, at that time, simply have confirmed the acquittal itself but amended the reasoning behind it. There would have been absolutely no need to refer the case to the court in Florence in the first place, and the whole trial could have ended two years earlier.

In other words: what the court decided today could as easily have been decided back in 2013. But the court didn't do that back then, so why now? To be frank, it's a total mystery. The only possible explanation I can currently think of is that the Court of Cassation has now discovered some huge and irreparable technical flaw - some statute of limitations, perhaps, or some such issue - of which it was blissfully unaware in 2013. Any other explanation would, I feel, point to an almost inconceivable ineptness on the part of Italy's highest court.

Back in January 2014, when the Florence court (acting upon the very guidelines the Court of Cassation itself gave it in 2013) convicted Knox and Sollecito, I stated that the end of a long, long battle had been reached. Well now, how wrong I was!  

I somehow think that perhaps a lot of us may be writing about this for a long, long time to come.


Robyn Gordon said...

Hello Alex
I hope you have read the Supreme Court's Bruno/Marasca motivation report to satisfy yourself about the acquittals. Likewise the motivation report from Judge Boninsegna who heard the slander case Mignini and other police officers took out against Amanda. It was unceremoniously thrown out and makes for some interesting reading. Both reports can be found at amanda knox

Robyn Gordon said...

I forgot one important thing, Stefanoni's statement that a neg TMB test means no blood present. I have read some of your threads on the case and the responses from Chris Halkides and Kaosium and did not see where they provided a response. That could have been because the documents from that part of the trial were not available at the time. They are now.

Patrizia Stefanoni Testimony Pre-trial October 4, 2008 p177 [A negative TMB result means it’s not blood]

Judge: Ok! And here there is a degree of sensitivity?
Answer: It is very sensitive, now I do not know how to say it to him, however, in common practice …
Judge: There also cites false positives of the series …
Answer: Yes, in the sense that it does not distinguish whether it is human or animal blood, for example.
Judge: However where the result is negative I’m given to understand that it’s almost certain that it is not [blood]?
Answer: Yes, it’s not blood, it is not, yes.