Category: The defenses

Friday, June 19, 2009

Trial: Dr Sollecito Testifies About The Human Qualities Of His Son

Posted by Peter Quennell


Click image above for the first brief report from the Associated Press.

The father of an Italian man accused of killing a British student in Italy says his son was never violent and would not “hurt a fly”...

Francesco Sollecito told the court Friday that his son is not violent. He said his son liked to carry “small knives” in his pockets, a habit he picked up when he was younger.

This testimony is of less interest, perhaps, in the UK and the US than the Knox-Mellas testimony coming up. But Italy is following this with some fascination.

Why the interest?

Well, in part because Dr Sollecito and several of his family might come under indictment for interfering with the case.

Added: A quick translation of the testimony from TGCOM

He spoke of “gross errors that are causing his son to be in prison… [He] referred in particular to a shoe imprint attributed initially to his son but then found to be a Rudy Guede print.

“We were always convinced as to the absolute innocence and total strangeness of the allegations against Raffaele. We have been in compliance with the law, to find any way to help him.”

[he] referred to a dossier prepared to show that the scene of the crime was amended by the forensic teams between the first and second visit.

Some images, such as those of the victim’s body were then distributed by Telenorba and that possible illegal action is being investigated by the prosecutor of Perugia for breach of privacy and abetting.

Raffaele pampered Amanda Knox like a baby…. According to the Pugliese doctor “there was a nice story” between the two ex-lovers. “Raffaele talked with Amanda as he had never done with other girls.”

And Nick Pisa reports further in the Evening Standard:

Mr Sollecito, from Giovinazzo near Bari, told the court: “Raffaele told me he had just started a beautiful love story with Amanda. He loved her and he adored her.

“He spoke to me about her in a way that he had never done about other girls. Raffaele had a certain affection towards Amanda.”

Mr Sollecito also told the court that his son had a habit of carrying knives. When he was arrested in connection with the murder a flick-knife was found in his pocket.

He said: “It’s a habit he has had since childhood. He grew up in the country and he always carried a knife. He is not violent, he would not hurt a fly. I had told him not carry a knife around.”

The knife found on Sollecito is not the murder weapon.

Instead, a 30cm kitchen knife found at his house with DNA from Meredith on the blade and DNA from Knox on the handle is said to be compatible with the wounds to her neck.

Mr Sollecito is himself under investigation for leaking material relevant to the investigation to journalists in Bari and defended his actions in court.

He said: “To me and my family it is obvious that some very big mistakes have been made and my son is innocent. He has spent nearly two years in jail for something he did not do.

“Everything I did was in complete respect of the law. Once I saw the film of the scene from the first search after the murder and the subsequent one in December it was clear that mistakes had been made.”

Mr Sollecito also said he knew his son had taken drugs in the past, adding that he had received a letter from police in Giovinazzo advising him about his son’s drug habit.

 


Friday, June 12, 2009

Trial: Sky News Italy Video Of The Defendant’s Opening Statement Today

Posted by Peter Quennell

This is the court CCTV camera feed to the press-room, which is legitimate for the reporters there to capture.


Thursday, April 23, 2009

End To A Long And Unnecessary Charade Over The House

Posted by Peter Quennell

[click for larger image]

ANSA is reporting that the Court of Assizes of Perugia has acceded to the request of the owner of 7 Via Pergola to have his house back.

Well over one year ago the prosecutors had no objection to this. The crime scene had been thoroughly processed many weeks before, and there was no further evidentiary value.

However, the defense teams claimed they might want to run various tests and inspections. These happened only many months later. We posted on them here and here.

Nothing of value that we are aware of ever emerged from these exercises. If anything, they failed, rather conspicuously.

During the period of the very long defense-induced delay, the house was suspiciously broken into, twice, and the contents was severely disarrayed. Amazingly, defense supporters tried to win points out of this.

So the crime scene was processed well over one year ago, and everything since was pure distraction. And where Meredith lived for two months has been thoroughly desecrated.

We’re glad the defenses are FINALLY calling it quits on this sad charade.


Monday, March 16, 2009

Outcome Of Back-Seat Driving: Defense Lawyers Pulling Their Hair Out? Again?

Posted by Peter Quennell




1) Stepfather Chris Mellas

Mr Mellas as reported on Saturday:

He had spoken to Ms Knox on the eve of the hearing. “I told her she’s innocent and she needs to speak up for herself.”

2) Prosecutor Giuliano Mignini

Dr Mignini as reported on Sunday.

The newspaper Corriere dell’ Umbria said that Giuliano Mignini, the prosecutor, would bring an additional charge of slander against Ms Knox, since all police officers and interpreters who have given evidence at the trial have testified under oath that she was at no stage put under pressure or physically mistreated.

3) Stepfather Chris Mellas as reported on Monday:

Ooops. Did I just cost her 6 more years? Maybe her lawyers really can advise Amanda better than an amateur who doesn’t speak the language. 

I’m on the next plane outta here. Sorry, kid, and all that. Still friends, though, right?

Okay, we made that last one up. But maybe even Amanda Knox is now thinking this way?

4) Times Report - Full Quote

The [UK] Times

Richard Owen, Rome

March 15, 2009

Amanda Knox, the American student charged with the murder and sexual assault of Meredith Kercher, faces an additional charge of slander for claiming that police struck her while she was being questioned.

At the latest hearings in her trial in Perugia, Ms Knox claimed that police had put her under psychological and physical pressure to admit that she was present at the murder.

Ms Knox, who has the right to address the court at any time during her trial, was reacting to evidence from Anna Donnino, a police interpreter who claimed that Ms Knox had behaved “as if a weight had been lifted from her” when she admitted that she had been at the scene of the crime and accused Patrick Diya Lumumba, a Congolese bar owner for whom she worked part-time, of the killing. Ms Knox told police that she had covered her ears in the kitchen to block out Ms Kercher’s screams.

Ms Donnino said that when questioned after Ms Kercher’s body was found, Ms Knox walked up and down nervously at the police station, “hitting her head with her hands”. She had denied responding to an SMS message from Mr Lumumba telling her there was no need to come to work because there were few customers, leaving her free for the evening. But she broke down when police said phone records showed that she had done so, Ms Donnino said.

“She showed extreme emotional involvement ““ she was crying and visibly shocked, saying ‘It was him, it was him. He’s bad’,” Ms Donnino added.

Ms Knox, speaking in fluent Italian, said police had called her a “stupid liar” during “hours and hours” of questioning during which she had stuck to her story that she spent the night of the murder at the flat of Raffaele Sollecito, her former boyfriend and co-accused.

She said that Ms Donnino had suggested to her “that probably I didn’t remember well because I was traumatised, so I should try to remember something else”. There had been an “aggressive insistence” on the text message she had received from Mr Lumumba, Ms Knox said. She insisted she had been slapped on the head by police, adding “I’m sorry, but it’s true”.

Ms Donnino said that Ms Knox had been “comforted” by police, given food and drink, and had at no stage been hit or threatened.

The newspaper Corriere dell’ Umbria said that Giuliano Mignini, the prosecutor, would bring an additional charge of slander against Ms Knox, since all police officers and interpreters who have given evidence at the trial have testified under oath that she was at no stage put under pressure or physically mistreated.

Ms Kercher’s semi-naked body was found under a duvet on the floor of her bedroom in November 2007, at the hillside cottage in Perugia she shared with Ms Knox and two Italian women. She had been stabbed in the throat.

The prosecution accuses Ms Knox and Mr Sollecito of murdering and sexually assaulting Ms Kercher with Rudy Guede, an Ivory Coast immigrant who was given a 30-year sentence last October for the crime under fast-track procedures. He began his appeal last week, claiming Ms Knox had killed Ms Kercher in a row over stolen cash.

The all-night interrogation in which Ms Knox accused Mr Lumumba and described blocking her ears was ruled inadmissible by Italy’s Supreme Court because no lawyer was present. However a voluntary statement written by Ms Knox in English repeating this scenario has been accepted as court evidence despite defence protests. The defence claims Ms Knox was not at the cottage during the murder but at Mr Sollecito’s flat.

Mr Lumumba, who was arrested but later released without charge, is suing Ms Knox for defamation. He is also seeking damages for wrongful imprisonment.

Aida Colontane, another police interpreter, told the court that she had noticed a red mark on Ms Knox’s neck which “leapt out” from her “extraordinary pallor”. Laura Mezzetti, one of the Italian flatmates of Ms Knox and Ms Kercher, has also testified that Ms Knox had a red mark on her neck. Curt Knox, Ms Knox’s father, has suggested the mark was a love bite.

Fabio D’Astolto, an English-speaking police officer who helped to question Ms Knox, told the court that she and Mr Sollecito had behaved strangely, kissing and cuddling and talking together in low voices. A number of other witnesses have given the same testimony.

Mr D’Astolto said he had ensured that Ms Knox understood procedures and questions at all times. Daniele Moscatelli, another police officer, said officers had confiscated a long knife from Mr Sollecito, who had explained to them that he collected knives as a hobby. Mr Sollecito appeared confused and nervous during questioning, he said.

At the last hearings two weeks ago the court was told that Ms Knox had done cartwheels and the splits while waiting to be questioned by police. However Chris Mellas, her stepfather, who is attending the trial, said that his stepdaughter was doing yoga exercises and a police officer had asked her to do gymnastics, remarking “You look rather flexible”.

Oreste Volturno, the police officer who led a search of Mr Sollecito’s flat, said he had been struck by “the powerful smell of bleach”. The prosecution says the kitchen knife found at the flat which is presumed to be the murder weapon had been scrubbed with bleach in an attempt to erase blood and DNA traces.

The court was told that police investigating Ms Knox had tapped her phone calls and intercepted her correspondence before and after her arrest, including an email to friends in Seattle in which she claimed that she had found Ms Kercher’s body. She had written and received around 600 letters over a six-month period, all of which were intercepted and then translated by a team of four police interpreters. Her conversations with prison visitors were also recorded.

Francesco Maresca, the lawyer for the Kercher family, said that the suspects’ alibi that they had spent the night of the murder at Mr Sollecito’s flat had collapsed after Marco Trotta, a police computer expert, said that tests on Mr Sollecito’s computer showed that nobody had used it on the night that Ms Kercher was stabbed to death. Mr Sollecito claims he was at his flat working on his computer at the time of the murder.

Mr Trotta said tests his team had carried out on Mr Sollecito’s computer showed “no human interaction” between 9.10pm on November 1 and 5.32am on November 2, 2007. Ms Kercher’s body was found in the late morning of November 2 but she is believed to have died between 9pm and 11pm the night before.

Mr Sollecito says that he downloaded and watched the film Amelie during the night. However, Mr Trotta said that the film had been watched at around 6.30pm. Ms Kercher returned to the cottage she shared with Ms Knox at about 9pm.

Ms Knox’s Italian language teacher in Perugia, Antonella Negri, told the court that as a class exercise Ms Knox had written a letter to her mother, after the discovery of her flatmate’s body but before her arrest. “In it she said she worried and confused and she wanted her mother to travel to Perugia so she could distract herself and they could go shopping together,” Ms Negri told the court. She said Ms Knox had referred to the murder at the start of the class. “She leaned forward on to the desk and lay her head in her arms.”

The trial resumes next Friday, when the six jurors are expected to tour the murder scene in an inspection requested by lawyers acting for Mr Sollecito. The prosecution claims Ms Knox and Mr Sollecito broke a window at the cottage to simulate a burglary, but the defence contests this.

The court was shown grainy CCTV images said to be of Ms Kercher returning to the house shortly before her death. The images were taken by a surveillance camera at the car park above the cottage. Defence lawyers said that the footage was of such poor quality that it should not be admitted as evidence.


Sunday, March 15, 2009

Trial: Prosecution Witnesses Present Many More Reports On Odd Behavior Of Knox

Posted by Peter Quennell


1) Nick Pisa reported this in Sky News:

Tests found that nobody had worked on Raffaele Sollecito’s computer over an eight-hour period spanning the night when Ms Kercher was stabbed to death in her bedroom, prosecution witness Marco Trotta told an Italian court.

Sollecito has maintained he was at his own apartment the night of the murder, working on his computer. Trotta showed the court videos and said there was “no human interaction” between 9:10 pm on November 1 and 5:32am the following day…

Ms Kercher is believed to have died between 9pm and 11pm on November 1, according to court documents.

2) Other reports from the trial state that the playing of the 90-minute movie “Amelie” from 6:37 pm was the last detectable major action.  The 9:10 pm action appears to have been simply the closing of a program that was running.

3) Sollecito’s lawyer Giulia Bongiorno claimed in the trial that while “this computer may or may not be proof or evidence of an alibi” it had proved impossible for the communication police ‘to read data on four of the five machines seized [two belonging to Sollecito, one to Knox, one to Meredith and one to Guede] three of which have suffered electric shocks” and that the reconstruction of the evening’s computer actions “provided only partial and fragmentary data.”

4) The lawyer Francesco Maresca, who represents the Kercher family as a civil party, observed that for him “one of the alibis collapses” because the findings indicate that in the period of the murder there was no human interaction with the computer.

5) Nick Squires reported this in the Daily Telegraph:

The American’s former teacher told the court that four days after the murder she told her class to practise their Italian by writing a letter home.

Miss Knox penned a letter to her mother in Seattle in which she said she was “confused and worried” and that as a way of distracting herself she wanted to going shopping.

The teacher, Antonella Negri, described Miss Knox as “diligent” and “attentive”. She said that at the beginning of the lesson she had made reference to Miss Kercher’s murder. “I saw in Amanda a reaction of discomfort,” Mrs Negri told the court. “She leant forward onto the desk and lay her head in her arms.”

6) John Hooper reported this in the UK Guardian:

Earlier today, another police interpreter described noticing a red mark on Knox’s neck. Aida Colantone said Knox was in the police station at Perugia.

“Since her throat was bare ““ she had a blue tracksuit with the zip in front ““ I was struck in my mind by the extraordinary pallor of this girl from which a red mark leaped out,” she said.

7) Nick Pisa reported this in the Daily Mirror:

The pretty American - known as Foxy Knoxy - is accused with her ex-lover Raffaele Sollecito, 24, of murdering British student Meredith, 21. She could now face a second slander charge after claiming in court she had been hit by police during questioning.

8) And Richard Owen reported this in the London Times:

Chris Mellas, Ms Knox’s stepfather, told journalists at the court that the police investigation was flawed.

Mr Mellas, 35, an IT consultant, said that he had visited Ms Knox three times in prison.

“She is doing OK,” he said. “These things stress her out, and it’s hard for her to see the overall picture. I sit down and tell her that is not going so bad, that the prosecution haven’t really brought anything up in court yet.”

Asked if he shared the defence view that the police inquiry had been mishandled and evidence contaminated, he said: “I think particular portions of it have not been done appropriately, and the court is seeing that as well. We will see how it was conducted.”

He said that Ms Knox was “completely innocent”. There had “not been a day” when he “even considered” doubting her. There is no evidence against Amanda”.... He had spoken to Ms Knox on the eve of the hearing. “I told her she’s innocent and she needs to speak up for herself.”

Asked for his opinion of the Italian justice system he said: “It is different from ours, but I’m sure it will end up OK. As soon as this is done she will want to rejoin her family and friends. But do I think she will come back to Perugia? Most certainly.”


Sunday, March 01, 2009

Trial: Wrap-Up On The Testimony For This Week From Officers Who Questioned Knox

Posted by Nicki




1.Monica Napoleoni

Today’s hearing resumed with the deposition of Ms Monica Napoleoni, the head of Perugia’s homicide squad, which had been halted yesterday.

Some of her statements were extremely touching and sad. For example, she reported on the text messages that were found on Meredith’s phone from her parents who, having heard on the news broadcasts that a British student had been murdered in Perugia, wanted to make sure that their daughter was fine. [A heartfelt comment on this by reader TT on the post below this one]

Ms Napoleoni also described what she saw when she entered the murder room and leaned over Meredith’s lifeless body. She reported that Meredith body had been cut about so ferociously that it was very hard for her to even look at the wounds.

Ms Napoleoni also talked about a female shoe print that was found next to the pillow near Meredith’s body, a footprint of a size compatible with Knox’s.

During cross-examination, Sollecito’s defense showed Ms Napoleoni pictures of the cottage rooms taken while the search by the Flying Squad and Scientific Police was taking place. She pointed out that shoe covers and gloves were always being worn by everybody present.

In one instance on December18th when the bra clasp was found and sequestered “whole overalls were used by everyone, since the scientific police were at work”.

Ms Monica Napoleoni confirmed the impartial handling of Knox on the night of 5-6 November which she briefly witnessed, and also confirmed that she witnessed “Knox”˜s gymnast show” and improper behaviour of the couple during the course of investigating such a tragic event.

2. Rita Ficarra

Ms Rita Ficarra, the officer in charge of the Perugia Flying Squad, reported about the night between November 5 and 6, when the two defendants were interrogated and later arrested in the wee hours of November 6th.

Knox turned up at the police station, although she hadn’t been asked to, “because Sollecito had been requested to be interviewed and she was accompanying him” Ms Ficarra said.

She was not required to stay, and could have gone home any time.

“I encountered her in the waiting room doing splits, cartwheels and bridges. She was showing off her gymnastic capabilities”. Ms Ficarra added that she reproached Amanda, and asked her to quit her inapt behaviour, as in addition to her gymnast show, Knox kept French-kissing, stroking and hugging Sollecito.

Ms Ficarra felt that was very inappropriate behaviour to be going on in a police station while waiting to be heard concerning a gruesome murder.  “Everybody else was terrified” Ms Ficarra said “except for Amanda and Raffaele, who seemed indifferent, were smirking, and kept on French kissing.”

Ms Ficarra then described Knox’s interrogation and the false accusations against Patrick Lumumba.

Ms Ficarra testified that when Knox was asked about Mr Lumumba”˜s text message to her on the night from his bar, “she started crying and wrapping her hands around her head, she started shaking it, and then she said: it was him”¦Patrick killed her”.

At this point, Ms Ficarra said “I stopped the interrogation and informed the judicial authorities”. Ms Ficarra stressed that “Amanda was never mistreated” and that “she had a chance to rest, go the bathroom, and eat”.  She insisted on writing out and signing statements both then and after being warned of her rights. She declined to have a lawyer present. 

Ms Ficarra’s deposition continued: “After Knox was notified of her arrest ““ in English - she asked for a pen and paper, saying: I’ll give you a present”. Ms Ficarra added “Knox asked me to read what she was going to write before she was taken to jail, because she wanted me to have a clear idea about what had happened”.

Ms Ficarra maintained that “Knox was never subjected to threats or violence…. she was treated firmly, but with cordiality”.

3. Knox and Sollecito

As Andrea Vogt reported, Knox and Sollecito both made impromptu declarations during today’s trial session.

Knox made a very brief statement in Italian, claiming “They did offer me drinks and food, but they started treating me as a person only after I made those declarations”. She did not elaborate any further.

Sollecito’s declaration took more time. He claimed that during his interrogation on the evening of November 5, he asked to make a phone call to his father but was denied it. He then asked for permission to call a lawyer, but he was not allowed to do so. He did not report any mistreatment or any physical or psychological abuse from the police.

4. A comment on this.

It should be noted that when Sollecito asked for a lawyer’s assistance, he had not yet even become a suspect. His status was still that of a “person knowledgeable about the facts” who is not legally entitled to insist on a lawyer being present. 

Not an actual suspect. Simply a person who could possibly yield useful information to the investigators. So why would someone who is being heard as a “helper” be so concerned about getting a lawyer? If he really had nothing to hide?

The next trial dates are March 13 and 14, 20 and 21, and 27 and 28.


Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Amanda Knox Defence Team Strongly Objects To Seattle Sliming Strategy

Posted by Peter Quennell


Above: Luciano Ghirga (left) and Carlo Della Vedova.

Click for a larger image. They are apparently thoroughly ticked off. Here’s our previous post on exactly what made them so ticked.

Once again, the demand from the Amanda Knox legal team goes out: Pipe down, Seattle. And give Amanda Knox a break.

Translation below by poster Kermit is of the story in today’s La Nazione

“Those American personalities are not helping Amanda”

Lawyer Ghirga: “I have spoken with Prosecutor Mignini”

by Enzo Beretta - Perugia

“There are people around the figure of Amanda who have no formal role in the student’s defence team, which is formed by myself together with my colleague Carlo Dalla Vedova.

These people are not only not helping our client in the difficult judicial process in the Corte d’Assise in which we have to defend her, but on the contrary, they are harming her judicial position.”

Luciano Ghirga, lawyer for the American accused by the prosecutor of sexually assaulting and killing Meredith Kercher with her former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito and Rudy Hermann Guede, once again distances himself from the Stars-and-Stripes “know-it-alls” who repeatedly have tried to throw mud on the work of investigators and have even personally attacked Giuliano Mignini, head of the murder investigation.

There is strong evidence which supports the prosecution, unlike the “macaroni” pleading endlessly and one after the other on American television broadcasts, who pay lawyers, show-men and private investigators not much inclined to read the documentation.

That documentation was studied a lot by the Review and Court of Appeal judges, who confirmed preventive prison for the suspects, and the GUP Paolo Micheli, who has sentenced Rudy to thirty years in prison (with the abbreviated trial) and sent the ex-boyfriend and girlfriend to trial. This is a validation of the good work done by the investigators.

Lawyer Ghirga has not acted on a video in which the correctness of the findings of the forensic investigators is called into question, thereby attacking the protagonists of the case. But he will play his cards at the appropriate time in the trial, which resumes Friday.

“On a personal level I expressed my impressions to Dr. Mignini,” Ghirga said.

The lobbying work by Amanda’s side fits into a framework of traditional adversity by Americans when their fellow citizens are left in the hands of another country’s justice.


Friday, January 30, 2009

Is The Amanda Knox Defense Team Being Undermined?

Posted by Peter Quennell



[click for larger images]

Carlo Della Vedova (left) and Luciano Ghirga.

Two of the smartest defense lawyers in Italy.

They are widely regarded as supremely competent and as truly superb players within the Italian system. They have a long list of acquittals to their names.

And they are said to get along very well with Prosecutor Mignini and to respect his role in the process and him personally.

If there are any lawyers in Italy that Amanda Knox can look to for a really powerful defense that could get her off and out of there, it would seem to be the team she has now.

Mr Ghirga and Mr Della Vedova have in the past voiced extreme irritation over past sliming from safely-distant Seattle of the Italian judges, the prosecutors, the police, and the evidence service.

They had essentially asked Seattle to pipe down.

We haven’t yet heard from them on the rabid new sliming of Prosecutor Mignini from Seattle. But lawyers following the case in New York and Italy seem stunned at the ferocity and pure foolishness of the attacks.

Several have remarked that they might walk right off a case if they were so undermined in their handling of a defense. And that they might file suit if they were the prosecutor.

Now Mr Mignini himself actually has filed suit. He has just filed a defamation complaint and Mr Ciolino and a small Seattle rag are those cited.

It seems to be a pretty popular move in Italy. We wonder why…






Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Is The “Mignini Has Framed Them” Meme Now Fading?

Posted by Peter Quennell



[click for larger image]

Looks to us like it might be a strong case.

Perhaps easy to challenge the bits and pieces of the evidence. Perhaps harder now to challenge the sum of the whole.

The whack-a-mole problem.

And if Rudy Guede mounts the stand to tell all (he is to be an early witness, and wants time off his 30 years) and if Rudy’s tale cannot be seriously shaken by the defenses ...

Well, as the lead judge observed, this trial might be over by summer.

In Italy, the notion that Prosecutor Mignini somehow invented or twisted the facts of the crime to frame two of the defendants never really seemed to catch fire.

The problems with this notion are that there were too many professionals involved, the case has had to pass through too many judicial hoops, and there now seems an awful lot of evidence needing serious addressing.

Maverick Rome-based Peter Popham of The Independent (new image above - he looks better!) has seemed to be the lone media holdout for the Mignini-invented-it point of view.

But even Mr Popham is now sounding as if he’s in the dispiriting early phases of a U-turn.

This is from a skeptical piece of his just recently posted:

... how did Mr Mignini discover these salacious details? Through confessions, witness accounts, tapped telephones? Was there a video camera or tape recorder running throughout? None of the above.

None of the three accused has dropped even a hint that they were involved in an orgy, no party trash was discovered, nobody was peeking through the windows. The account seems to have emerged fully formed from the prosecutor’s imagination.

But this is from a more jaded piece also just posted.

Where did they actually pass the night, and doing what? Why did they make a start on cleaning up the murder scene next morning, and why didn’t they call the police? Amanda Knox will have to do a lot more than smile if she wants to go home.


As we mentioned yesterday, Mr Popham’s first piece above was strongly challenged by a commenter - a lawyer in the UK, who actually knew Meredith in person.

Comment by Liam O’Huigin

Title: Peter Popham: Legal Genius

“Knox and Raffaele Sollecito are on trial because Meredith Kercher died horribly, and they gave conflicting accounts of what they were doing at the time and behaved suspiciously the next day.”

Yeah, right. And I suppose everything else the Independent has reported about the pair since November 2007 has come fully formed from the brains of its journalists without the benefit of corroboration from the pair.

Before we take up Mr Popham’s invitation to consider Knox and Sollecito to be whiter than the driven snow, let’s remember, inter alia, that Knox implicated a man who could prove that he was not at the crime scene at the relevant time, that they have given a number of inconsistent accounts of their own whereabouts and activities, that the pair have fallen out between themselves, and that DNA evidence was recovered strongly suggesting their presence. If a prosecutor failed to bring a case against them, people would rightly think that some sort of cover-up was in place.

If it was Mr Popham’s daughter who was the victim of this crime, I doubt he’d be writing about the case in such a lofty and detached tone. I happen to have known Meredith, and I also happen to be a lawyer. I would be outraged if the Italians had not taken matters this far in the light of what we have so far read about the case. And unless the defence manages to produce something very special during the course of the trial I know what verdict I expect to be brought in….

Mr Popham commits an interesting Freudian slip in this article, which shows where his sympathies lie. He talks of the “three” accused, by which I assume he is including Rudy Guede: the latter is no longer an accused, having been convicted of the murder and sentenced to thirty years.

He is therefore correctly described as a murderer, or a criminal or a convict. Why does Mr Popham find that hard to do?

None of Mr Popham’s commenters, in fact, are still buying the fading “invented and framed” line. And we would REALLY like to see more of Meredith’s friends now speaking up.

Write to us, or for us, if you want to win one for her.


Monday, January 05, 2009

Another Dog-And-Pony Show Friday: A Second Defense Attempt At Filomena’s Window

Posted by Peter Quennell





Kermit has already analysed the first, failed attempt for us.

It’s just been reported in the Italian media that a second defense test has been scheduled for 12:30 this Friday. If they fail that test for a second time, it will be pretty obvious to the known universe that:

  • There never was a burglar who covered up a burglary with a sex crime, a bizarre move almost unknown in the annals of crime as the penalties are so very much harsher.

  • There really was a rearrangement of the crime scene in an attempt to point the finger of blame at a single perpetrator who had just taken to his heels up some local steps.

A lot is riding on this one. We guess the burglar the defense hired for the job will be in real fighting trim.

Update: Did the defense blink?! Today’s show simply involved engineers, Giovanni Lombardi and Pasquale di Francesco, apparently retired police technicians.

They took measurements to see if that 4-kilo rock could have been thrown from wherever to land where it did in Filomena’s room.

Why not just, you know, bite the bullet, and actually try throwing the rock?!

No prizes are offered for the answer to that one. There was no Spiderman act, no lawyers were present, and no glass was broken.


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Dramatic Day For Guede, Knox, Sollecito: The Cast Arrives

Posted by Peter Quennell

[click for larger images]

Above: Prosecutor Mignini


Above: Prosecutor Comodi


Above: Prosecutors Mignini and Comodi


Above: Kercher family lawyer Maresca


Above: Guede lawyer Biscotti


Above: Guede lawyer Gentile


Above:Sollecito lawyers Buongiorno and Mauri


Above: Knox lawyers Ghirgha and Vedova


Above: Falsely accused Lumumba and lawyer Pacelli


Above: And the defendants; in the vans


Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Knox & Sollecito Teams Form Truce To Dump ALL Blame On Rudy Guede?

Posted by Peter Quennell




This is from a surprising report from the Guardian’s Tom Kington in Rome:

Claims have been made of a pact between Knox and her Italian former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, 24. It is alleged their lawyers have agreed to work together to blame the murder on Rudy Guede, 21, a part-time gardener from the Ivory Coast and the third accused.

Now, Guede’s lawyers are threatening to call for a separate trial for him alone - well away from the legal teams of the other two whom they fear could prejudice his case.

It is a pact, says Guede’s lawyer Walter Biscotti, that can be traced back to July when Sollecito sent Knox a bouquet of yellow flowers on her 21st birthday which both celebrated in prison.

‘There is a clear desire to make Rudy the guilty party, and it’s clear they will try anything,’ Biscotti said.

All three accused deny murder. Knox, or Foxy Knoxy, as she was known at her Seattle high school, shared a flat with Meredith, from Coulsdon, south London, who was studying in the city as part of her degree at Leeds University.

Knox has attracted headlines through a leaked prison diary in which she detailed her sexual escapades and a Facebook page on which she wrote about rape and fantasy. She has also speculated Sollecito, her then boyfriend, could have been responsible.

Knox’s lawyers maintain that bloodstains in the flat and DNA on a knife found at Sollecito’s flat cannot put her at the murder scene.

Sollecito’s lawyers will also question whether his DNA, found on the back of Meredith’s bloodied bra, is conclusive proof of his involvement. He and Knox claim that they were at his flat when the murder took place.

Guede, who fled to Germany after the murder, is the only suspect who has admitted to being in Kercher’s bedroom on the night she died. He states that they were planning to have sex - though he denies rape and murder. He has stated he was using the bathroom when she was killed, claiming Knox and Sollecito had rushed past him as he emerged.

Sensing a campaign against his client, Biscotti may press for the hearings to be separated in the hope Guede will be cleared quickly. It could involve a fast-track trial behind closed doors and a verdict as early as mid-October.

This could mean that Guede is convicted before a decision is made on whether Knox and Sollecito even stand trial.

‘There was a tacit agreement to just work on the defence of your own client,’ said Biscotti of the other legal teams. ‘But it looks like this is finished.’

He points to a recent briefing by one of Sollecito’s lawyers, Giulia Buongiorno, an MP and high-profile lawyer who has previously defended former Italian Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti against Mafia charges, who told journalists that there had been just one killer.

The Kerchers’ lawyer, Francesco Maresca, said: ‘We are holding out for a trial of the other two, even if Rudy is found guilty.’


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