Thursday, 10 September 2015

Beyond Reasonable Doubt

Italian Justice System Restores Its Integrity and Honour

When judicial officers try to assuage and satiate public demands, injustice seeps out like bodily fluids from a decomposing cadaver.  Finally, the Italian justice system has cleaned up--at least in one notorious case.  Donna Leon, of Guido Brunetti fame, will be pleased.  

Amanda Knox acquitted because of 'stunning flaws' in investigation

Judges’ legal reasoning says case against Knox and ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito lacked evidence to prove wrongdoing

The Guardian

Italy’s highest court acquitted Amanda Knox and her former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito of the 2007 murder of the British university student Meredith Kercher, because there were “stunning flaws” in the investigation that led to their convictions, according to judges’ legal reasoning.

A panel of judges at the court of cassation in Rome found that the state’s case against the pair, who were definitively cleared of murder in March, lacked enough evidence to prove their wrongdoing beyond reasonable doubt, and cited a complete lack of “biological traces” in connection to the crime.

Releasing the details involved in a court decision months after a verdict has been announced is common practice in Italy’s highest court.  “The trial had oscillations which were the result of stunning flaws, or amnesia, in the investigation and omissions in the investigative activity,” the judges wrote.

They also said that the murder investigation was ultimately hindered by the fact that investigators were under pressure to come up with answers once the case was prominently covered in media around the world.  “The international spotlight on the case in fact resulted in the investigation undergoing a sudden acceleration, that, in the frantic search for one or more guilty parties to consign to international public opinion, certainly didn’t help the search for substantial truth,” the judges wrote.

They also criticised prosecutors and lower court judges for failing to establish a clear theory on what would have prompted Knox, who is now 28, and Sollecito, 31, to commit the murder, and that they instead had bought into a “theory of complicity” – suggesting, for instance, that Knox had been resentful of her flatmate – with few facts to back them up.

The judges denounced the prosecutors’ argument that there was not more physical evidence linking Knox and Sollecito to the crime because they had selectively cleaned the crime scene as illogical. Such an act would have been impossible, they said.

Additional counts levelled:
Count three: amnesia and omissions in the investigation;
Count four: panicked, hasty investigation due to media pressure;
Count five: no clear theory of the crime;
Count six: illogical reasoning over "selectively" cleaning up the crime scene to explain lack of evidence;

The judges added that the only crime of which Knox was guilty was the false accusation she made to police days after her roommate was killed, in which she blamed her boss, Diya “Patrick” Lumumba, a bar owner, for the crime. Lumumba spent two weeks in jail before he was exonerated. Although the charge carried a three-year sentence, it was deemed moot because of the time Knox had already spent in prison.

On Monday Carlo Dalla Vedova, one of Knox’s lawyers, said the judges’ explanation was tantamount to a “great censure, a note of solemn censure of all the investigators”. Speaking about his client, the lawyer told AP: “She is very satisfied and happy to read this decision. At the same time, it’s a very sad story. It’s a sad story because Meredith Kercher is no longer with us, and this is a tragedy nobody can forget,” he added.

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