Series Evidence & witnesses

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Netflixhoax 14: Omitted - Any Mention Of Big Red Flag In Forced Closing Of Vecchiotti’s Laboratory

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters


Netflix’s Amanda Knox is an extreme example of misleading bias by cherrypicking. This post is another in our ongoing series, the mothership for material for this media-friendly page online soon.



This post is one in our ongoing series.

Amazingly EIGHTEEN MONTHS AGO Dr Carla Vecchiotti became quite possibly the most discredited DNA expert in the world, when news about her appalling lab conditions exploded in Italy. 

In their narrow-minded fanaticism to make Dr Mignini the most reviled prosecutor in the world - and Nick Pisa the most reviled reporter - the producers somehow left that awkward fact out of their report entirely. She and Dr Conti are given major time in the film to misrepresent key evidence. 

Netflix’s own due diligence (if any; we think not) missed all of this entirely. Now thanks to Netflix the misrepresented evidence and Vecchiotti’s discredited opinions of the Scientific Police labs are being given credence as hard fact worldwide.

KrissyG in her own excellent review of the movie summarised the conditions that led to the lab being closed down. It happened directly because the Carabinieri DNA experts Dr Barni and Dr Berti appointed for the 2013-14 Nencini appeal (which Netflix also omitted any mention of) visited the place to inspect it, and to pick up some key evidence, a DNA sample from the knife.   

They made mention of what they encountered in their report and in court testimony. That was nearly three years ago (January 2014) long before the final cut of the movie and long before the sale to Netflix was a done deal.

In our view this HAD to be yet another deliberate dishonesty. 

2. Catnip’s Translations Of Main Italian Reports Of Lab Closing

Catnip kindly provided us with these translations of some of the Italian news reports 18 months ago.

The March 2015 report from News 24

The Medico-Legal Institute of Sapienza University in Rome was closed down this morning.

For some time it has been known that unhygienic conditions were the norm in the Institute and the Rector of the University has decided today, in anticipation of NAS findings, to shut down the entire mortuary.

Sapienza’s Institute did not have adequate space to accommodate the large number pf bodies and quite often they had to be spread out along the corridors.

The hygiene rules were onerous and the building inadequate. It was for this reason that the Public Prosecutor’s Office had ordered a detailed report by NAS which would have presented their findings within a few weeks.

The Rector of the University, Eugenio Gaudio, has pre-empted the PPO’s expected closure of the Institute. The closure, explains Guadio, had been necessary to prevent the raising of legal questions as regards the autopsies being carried out, which would have risked the results being no longer reliable in future.

During the NAS inspections, even cadaver remains from 1990 had been found, a serious anomaly due to, as the mortuary attendants explained, the fact that no one had ever reclaimed the bodies. Another serious problem at the Sapienza Institute is the huge disorder that reigns inside the building, where, in point of fact, cadavers are to be found out in the corridors.

The March 2015 report from Corriere.

Rome: bodies in the mortuary corridors, Medico-Legal Institute of Sapienza closed

The Rector’s decision anticipates the MOSSA by the Prosecutor’s Office which has been investigating conditions at the Medico-Legal Institute of Rome’s flagship university

by Giulio De Santis

ROME – The University of Sapienza’s Legal Medicine Institute has been closed for health reasons. The decision has been made by the university’s Rector, Eugenio Gaudio, who made the order before the Prosecutor’s Office could make a move. At Clodio Place the investigators, in fact, are expecting the filing of a report by NAS, where serious hygienic shortcomings by the management of the Institute are highlighted.

Unreliable autopsies?

The closure has been necessary to head off the raising of questions relating to future autopsy results that would have risked being unreliable. The problems discovered by the Carabinieri of the Health and Food Adulteration Unit – and noted to the university administration – relate to, in fact, the equipment, starting with the tables, intended for carrying out autopsies, which have deteriorated during the course of time. The oldest have been in the building since the early 1980s while those acquired more recently go back to ten years ago. Even the instruments used to examine the cadavers have deteriorated and should be replaced.

Cadavers in the corridors

During the inspections, remains of cadavers preserved since 1990 were found. An anomaly due to the fact that no one had ever reclaimed the bodies. The other problem raised by the doctors at the Institute and revealed by NAS is the disorder that reigns in the Institute, where it is possible to see cadavers in corridors due to the lack of space in which to store them. Sapienza has now promised to proceed with restoration works. There is lack of certainty though on the end point by which the Institute will become operative again. There is no compulsory time limit but the university has guaranteed a return to normality by the beginning of May.

Transferring the bodies

Contributing to the uncertainty are Sapienza’s empty coffers and the collection of funds is expected to be complicated. In the meantime, to try and minimise the impact of the closure, autopsies will be carried out at the Tor Vergata Institute directed by Professor Giovanni Arcudi. The bodies have already started to arrive in the last few days in the mortuary of that university and in some cases the work has been given to specialists from the Gemelli Polyclinic. A case file has been opened by the Prosecutor’s Office and assigned to Antonella Nespola who in October had already ordered the sequestration of the mortuary. The decision to close the Institute has been communicated to the Prosecutor’s Office, who is caught out by the choice.

The March 2015 report from RAI News.

Rome, Medico-Legal Institute closed. The Public Prosecutor’s Office is investigating health conditions. The decision of the Sapienza University Rector Ettore Gaudio. Cadavers from 1990 found.

Cadavers in the corridors because of lack of space for storing them, serious health issues in the management of the Institute. For this reason, Sapienza’s Medico-Legal Institute has been shut down for health reasons. The decision was made by the university’s Rector, Eugenio Gaudio, who made the order before the Prosecutor’s Office could make a move. At Clodio Place the investigators, in fact, are expecting the filing of a report by NAS, where serious hygienic shortcomings by the management of the Institute are highlighted.

The closure had been necessary to pre-empt questions being raised about the risk of future autopsy results being unreliable. During the inspections, cadaver remains preserved from 1990 were found. An anomaly due to the fact that no one had ever claimed the bodies. The other problem raised by the doctors at the Institute and noted by NAS is the disorder that reigns in the Institute, where it is possible to see cadavers in the corridors because of the lack of storage space.

The March 2015 report from Cronaca

Cadavers in corridors, Medico-Legal Institute in Rome closed
Rector Eugenio Gaudio’s decision: «Autopsy results at risk».
01 March 2015

There were cadavers in the corridors due to lack of space, as well as serious health issues in the management of the building. For this reason the Medico-Legal Institute at Sapienza University in Rome has been closed for health reasons.

RECTOR’S DECISION. The decision had been taken by the unicersity’s Rector, Eugenio Gaudio, who made the order before the Public Prosecutor’s Office could act. At Clodio Place, the investigators, in fact, are expecting the filing of a NAS report, where serious hygiene problems in the management of the Institute are highlighted. The closure was necessary to forestall questions being raised concerning future autopsy results which would have been at risk of being unreliable.

REMAINS OF CADAVERS FROM 1990. Inspections revealed remains of cadavers preserved from 1990. An anomaly due to the fact that no one had ever reclaimed the bodies. The other problem raised by the doctors at the Institute and noted by NAS is the disorder that reigns in the Institute, where it is possible to see cadavers in the corridors because of lack of space to store them.

The March 2015 report from Dagospia.

Sad corridors dimly lit. A room with refrigeration units from the 1980s, dozens of units occupied by the bodies of persons deceased by violent means and never recognised, never asked for, and, if foreigners, never repatriated. It’s here that, as many say, along the basement corridor it is even sadder: there’s no space inside and the cadavers are just left there, on trolleys, at times not even in mortuary bags. The smell, they say, is pungent and nauseating. To say nothing of the dissection tables and the equipment, or even the safety of the workers. Non-existent.

And so the Public Prosecutor’s Office launched an investigation by NAS, the Carabinieri of the Health and Food Adulteration Unit [nucleo antisofisticazione e sanità]. Eugenio Gaudio, Rector of Sapienza University — of which the Medico-Legal Institute is a part — and Domenico Alessio, Director-General of the Polyclinic at Umberto I University, have pre-empted likely legal orders deciding to shut down the building.

SAPIENZA MORTUARY

It received the latest body last Wednesday a little before midnight. The others — like that of the young man squashed on Friday night by a bus in Piazza Venezia and dying in San Giovanni Hospital — will all be, from Thursday onwards, taken to the Gemelli Polyclinic.

A truly disconcerting situation for the largest mortuary in the Capital, the Sapienza Medico-Legal Institute. Already by October month end Public Prosecutor Antonella Nespola had sequestered six operating theatres at the Umberto I University Polyclinic, which is close to the mortuary, and also placed the Medico-Legal Institute in her sights.

And «for possible contamination, likely compromised results, the building physically falling apart, cadavers in the corridors and inadequate equipment», they explain in the mortuary. «NAS inspected the mortuary when I was not even Rector» explains Eugenio Gaudio. «We are all hopeful that the restoration works will conclude as soon as possible: within two months».

MORTUARY

Eight years a scandal led to the lose of the operating theatre at Umberto I: not only were the health and safety conditions extremely bad (blood traces everywhere, building falling apart, a back and forth of funeral agency operators who were following the relatives of the deceased), but corneas were being stolen from the bodies, which in turn ended up having to be transferred from one place to another under armed guard. But today «we’re re-opening the Polyclinic dissection room» explains Gaudio. «I’ve put in an order for autopsy tables and new and modern equipment».

And even if the Rector highlights that the decision to close «had been taken in accord with the Health Director and Director-General of the Polyclinic, with all due care and authority» in the Public Prosecutor’s Office the news of the closure, which seems to have arrived with only 24 hours’ notice, has raised a storm. Chief Prosecutor Giuseppe Pignatone plays it down. But he also explains that today or at the latest tomorrow «there will be a meeting at the PPO with the top layers of management from the Polyclinic and Rector Eugenio Gaudio». And in the meantime, «for now, Gemelli will be asked to handle the immediate exigencies».

The funeral undertakers who tell of the scene from hell are describing «flies and bluebottles attracted by the odour, doors that don’t seal properly and when you go downstairs at the least you almost fall ill», as a source who works in the mortuary recalls. «But even on the first floor, where the forensic pathologists work, everything has remained stuck at 40 years ago. To say nothing of the place where the evidence is kept: all heaped up on each other, contaminated according to me unusable».

EUGENIO GAUDIO

Captain Dario Praturlon, NAS Commander in Rome who last September on delegation from the Public Prosecutor’s Office carried out an inspection, explains that «we only had to check if there were health and safety irregularities: and we had found lots of them. The employers — that is the Rector and the Polyclinic Health Director — are obliged to fix up the building. To give the workers a safe place to work. We found none of all this». The first criminal charges are expected quite soon, although relating to previous management.


3. Lab Reopens Sans Vecchiotti

The lab has been closed for 18 months but now Corriere reports its reopening under the supervision of three prosecutors’ offices, making it all but impossible for either the lab or Vecchiotti to perpetrate further transgressions.

University’s Polyclinic takes over management of Rome’s mortuary instead of Sapienza University, while the forensic pathology department is now overseen by the three relevant Public Prosecutor’s Offices (Rome, Tivoli and Civitavecchia).


Monday, October 17, 2016

Netflixhoax 13: Omitted - How The DNA Processes And Evidence Points Were Deliberately Misrepresented

Posted by KrissyG



Above, modern Scientific Police labs in Rome; bottom, hellhole consultants labs (now closed)

1. Introduction

“Amanda Knox” by Netflix is massively misleading on the DNA. It completely ignores that Conti’s and Vechiotti’s 2011 report was unceremoniously ridiculed in 2013 by the First Chambers of the Supreme Court and the fraudulent pair branded as ‘intellectually dishonest’. 

Netflix presents Conti and Vechiotti as trustworthy and competent when Vechiotti’s appalling lab had already been forcibly shut down. They ignore that the pair illegally colluded with US and British DNA academics Hampikian, Budowle and Gill beholden to the defense who interfered to pervert the outcome of the appeal.

They present Knox and Sollecito as ‘exonerated’ and ‘innocent’ based in part on Vecchiotti & Conti’s misleading narrative when they were nothing of the kind.

They ignore that, in large part because of their incompetences and dishonesties, the 2011 appeal was annulled.  They ignore that the case was remitted back down to a different Appeal Court, in a different area (Florence) under a different judge (Nencini) while the 2011 judge (Hellman) was edged into retirement.

And they ignore that Italy’s best DNA experts, from the Carabinieri labs in Rome, were assigned the role of DNA analysis for the repeat appeal, as they should have been in 2011, and important confirmations were presented and barely challenged.

Here is TJMK’s series of DNA analyses and the Wiki’s giant DNA spreadsheet with a lengthy explanation of how it works. And here in Italian is the full rebuttal of all defense challenges by Dr Stefanoni, lead prosecution expert at trial and annulled appeal. 

Finally, a tip on the images below. These are movie snippets, with English subtitles included. They expand to full screen in Acrobat Reader (please download it if you dont have it) if you click on each image.

Part 2 below explains what is in the film that misleads, and Part 3 describes all that was left out.

2. What Is In The Film

In the film, Vecchiotti and Conti appear quite deeply into the film, at minute 64 of 92 minutes.  The appearance of the ‘DNA experts’ towards the end enables the film makers to reinforce the image of a great miscarriage of justice, leading up to the grand finale denouement. 


Enter Conti. Referring to the evidence of Sollecito’s DNA found on the bra, Conti introduces the audience to a key principle of DNA.  It is ‘dust spread everywhere,’ he avers.  To set the scene, we are informed that the Forensic Police (‘Scientific Police’ in Italy) acted chaotically and that the crime scene was an absolute shambles.  We hear an audio voiceover of a supposed scientific policeman saying to another ‘this is absurd, there is unbelievable chaos everywhere’.

So there we have it.  ‘A crime scene must be completely sterile’.  We are roundly informed that this crime scene was not, based on Conti’s word for it.




Next, enter his co-partner, the other ‘independent’ expert hired by the Hellmann appeal court to evaluate the evidence concerning he DNA identified on the presumed murder weapon knife, and the bra clasp sample: Carla Vecchiotti.


Carla Vecchiotti claims that the issue of contamination of the DNA ‘was raised by the court’.  Shot moves to the scientific police as she continues, ‘ it could have been by other people’.

She then throws in a red herring.  ‘There was the DNA of two unknown males on the clasp’, which we can dispense with straight away.  In reality they were fragments of DNA, no more than 6 – 8 alleles, and precisely of the type of dust contamination Conti is talking about.  This effectively subverts the issue away from the strong DNA profile of Sollecito found on the clasp.




Vecchiotti then continues the theme of the film that the prosecutor Mignini was acting entirely intuitively.  ‘You can’t just make it what you want it to be’.

She claims there are ‘problems with contamination in the laboratory’, yet in court she insisted the alleged contamination was at the collection stage, and not at the laboratory.  A picture of the knife comes up.




Vecchiotti comments, ‘The Knox DNA profile is a very good one.’

Of the Kercher DNA on the blade she states, ‘It’s so small.  So scarce, the likelihood of contamination is very high.’

From this, she concludes the Kercher DNA is ‘inconclusive’.

The film makers show us the picture at least three times with ‘INCONCLUSIVE’ in bold red letters.  ‘I asked Dr Stefanoni (the forensic police chief in charge of this case) how she concluded this is the murder weapon without any other evidence?’

However, the courts upheld, and Conti and Vecchiotti themselves concurred under oath, that far from being inconclusive, it was a strong profile of Meredith, at 15 alleles.




Again, Vecchiotti repeats the lie that the laboratory was contaminated, when no such finding was upheld by any court, including Hellmann’s, by referring to Stefanoni stating she had examined fifty of Meredith’s samples at the same time, see above.  She insinuates Stefanoni overrode standards so that they would not have to close the lab up between samples.




The film then cuts to clips of US media outrage at Vecchiotti’s findings of ‘contamination’, even dragging in Donald Trump, no doubt sucking on a tic tac, with just a small cameo of Mignini for ‘balance’, stating that ‘all evidence’ needs to be looked at, implying that Mignini accepted the alleged contamination and was now trying to deflect from it onto other evidence.  The reader should bear in mind, that in fact, there was no such finding of contamination in Stefanoni’s labs.

Nor does she or her co-partner ever once in the film, and nor do the film makers mention that their report was discredited by the Chieffi Supreme court and Hellmann expunged.




Having established – falsely – that Vecchiotti and Conti had proven contamination to an unwary audience, the film then cuts to Amanda Knox claiming, ‘There is no trace of me in the murder room’.

We are shown a diagram of eight black spots of Rudy Guede’s traces and one white one for Sollecito, some distance away from the body, underneath which it was actually found.  A police mug shot of Guede appears on screen, whom Knox describes as ‘ a guy who regularly committed burglaries’.

From this we are led to believe Guede is a seasoned criminal career burglar, when as of the time, he had no convictions at all.  The film makers inform the audience it is, ‘a burglary gone wrong’, not a finding by any court, apart from the vacated Hellmann court.  The balance (at roughly six to one against, in terms of time coverage) once again is provided by Mignini who points out its unfairness, given the evidence found at the trial.




The film then cuts to Conti, who makes an astonishing confession – for a scientific professional expert witness and professor –  stating, ‘What happened inside that room between Guede and Meredith, was not a job assigned to me.’

So now it is out in the open, Vecchiotti and Conti, far from protecting their professional integrity by following their ethical code, which states that they are expected to act with objectivity in their professional role and should safeguard this by recusing themselves should they feel that they have become advocates for a party, in the film do not even hide their partisanship.

Conti feels confident in this ‘documentary’, now as a global film star, to declare his advocacy for Knox and Sollecito with the above statement.




The Vecchiotti and Conti sequence of the film ends with a drawn out episode of a supercilious Conti leaning back in an attitude of condescension, no doubt aimed at Mignini, when he concludes,

‘Cicero once said’ – pause – ‘ Any man can err, but only a fool perseveres.’

Next, the film completely ignores that his and Vechiotti’s 2011 report was unceremoniously ridiculed in 2013 by the next level court – Chieffi, Supreme Court – and the pair branded as ‘intellectually dishonest’.  It ignores that the case was remitted back to a completely different Appeal Court, in a completely different area, from Umbria to Tuscany, and under a completely different judge.

In the Netflix film, a diagram showing Knox’ DNA on the knife handle is admired as a strong profile.  Meredith’s DNA on the blade is highlighted as a question mark.  About three times, the viewer is shown the same diagram with the word ‘INCONCLUSIVE’ above the Meredith DNA in red letters.

The truth is, ALL of the defence experts – including Vecchiotti and Conti – accepted it was a strong DNA profile of Meredith (15-allele) so we see a blatant misrepresentation here, that rather than the confidently strong profile it is, Vecchiotti declares that it is ‘inconclusive’, and leads the viewer to believe this was because of proven contamination.

This deception is underlined by the film makers immediately galloping to the 2011 Hellman Court after the Vecchiotti & Conti interview, with wild scenes of Hellmann freeing the pair and declaring them innocent.

The connection is made: the knife DNA – and the bra clasp – is ‘contaminated’ and that is why the pair were freed.  ‘This was the only flimsy evidence,’ is the message conveyed. Thanks to the lurid and putrid imaginings of Mignini and Pisa, those kids suffered, the viewer is told.

Cue mass media bombardment by the outraged Netflix viewers, on Twitter and Facebook excoriating Pisa, mostly, and also Mignini as having botched up the whole case and ruined the lives of these two kids.

3. What Was Left Out

Part 3 is perhaps twice as long as Part 2 because Netflix lied by omission to its audience on such a grand scale. These are the areas to be covered.

  • I will look at Vecchiotti and Conti’s true track record, which is appalling. The husband of a murder victim was denied justice for a staggering NINETEEN years, as DNA investigator Vecchiotti, et al, negligently refused to investigate the DNA of the perpetrator of the murder.

  • How did Vecchiotti and Conti get appointed by Hellmann court at all? I reveal how the US contingent of pro-Amanda Knox scientists helped ‘fix’ it.

  • I will highlight the legerdemain ploys adopted by the pair in preparing their report, which predicated Hellmann freeing the pair from prison. It was a moot point henceforth as to whether they would ever return.

  • I will set out Chieffi’s and Nencini’s damning criticisms of Vecchiotti and Conti in the case.  Crini points out, in the Nencini report, that Vecchiotti’s own laboratory fridge did not have a thermometer!

  • I will show how the elaborate ‘heist’ of the judicial system in springing ‘the kids’ from jail happened. A US scientist, using Boise University resources Greg Hampikian was bragging to courts in the US under oath, even as Hellmann had been expunged and Nencini had just recommenced the appeal, that, ‘I am still working on the Amanda Knox case’.

  • My analysis exposes the interconnections between US advocates Hampikian, Bruce Budowle and British forensic expert, Dr Peter Gill, with Vecchiotti and Conti, which casts grave doubt on the pair being ‘independent’ expert witnesses at all.



Vecchiotti lab

The Conti and Vecchiotti Track Record

On 21 April 2016, Carla Vechiotti, together with Pascali, Vicenza and Arberello, was found guilty in a civil suit of gross negligence in the examination of the murder of Contessa Ogliata, dating from 1991, and ordered to pay €150,000 in damages.  Vecchiotti appears to have a reputation for cutting more corners than Stirling Moss, with other cases often quoted, with which she is associated.

Recently, Conti and Vecchiotti’s laboratory in Rome was closed down due to public health issues. Contamination almost certainly occurred in their laboratory.  Rotting cadavers unclaimed by relatives, were said to have piled up in the corridors.  Stefanoni’s laboratory, which followed all the conventional standards of the day was never proven to have been contaminated.
Carla Vecchiotti’s reputation is in tatters. She has made a number of shocking errors in a couple of murder cases, she repeatedly misled the appeal court - Judge Nencini described her and Conti’s work as “misleading” and “reprehensible”.



Vecchiotti lab

The Hellmann Court (Appeal Court)

On 18 Dec 2010 at the Hellmann appeal the defences made three unusual requests, (a) to get an independent review of the DNA and (b) to bring in Alessi to challenge Guede’s testimony and (c) Aviello, a mobster.  Hellmann agreed to appoint Conti & Vecchiotti from La Sapienza University in Rome.  In the interim 16 Dec 2010, Rudy Guede was definitively convicted.

Request (a) was challenged by Comodi, saying there were many experts for both sides already.  Hellmann argued a judge did not have sufficient expertise to evaluate the experts’ opinions.  Having achieved the appointment of Conti & Vecchiotti , Conti & Vecchiotti [‘the experts’] delivered the coup de grâce: claiming international standards were not met, contamination could not be ruled out, and that the DNA profile of Meredith could not be reliable.

The pair made the claim the DNA could have ‘come from dust’, strongly rebutted by Stefanoni, who said in that case, there should have been contamination elsewhere, not just on the bra clasp.

Contamination from the laboratory was completely ruled out, contrary to the claims made in the Netflix film, after which, ‘the experts’ moved to a stance that the contamination happened before it even got to the laboratories.  At the hearing, Conti was constantly asked what the criteria were for alleging contamination, to which he replied, ‘Anything is possible’.  As a scientist, a proper evaluation of probability was expected of him.

In their report they claimed, ‘The electrophoretic profiles exhibited reveal that the sample indicated by the letter B (blade of knife) was a Low Copy Number (LCN) sample, and, as such, all of the precautions indicated by the international scientific community should have been applied.’

It transpired ‘the experts’ had decided to use the US standards of Bruce Budowle and supported by Gill, et al., that the threshold for Low Copy Number (LCN) DNA should be raised to 200 picograms, from the hitherto conventional 100 picograms.

In addition, ‘the experts’ argued, the US standard of 50 RFU’s should be used in place of the then Italian standard of 30 RFU’s.  Analysis of DNA below these levels introduces a higher risk of ‘background noise’; contamination from alien sources, i.e., everyday dust, which may contain DNA fragments.

Hellmann, ‘the experts’ and the US scientists getting involved, by virtue of ‘the experts’ quoting extensively from their papers, erred in presupposing that Dr Stefanoni knew nothing about these issues.  Professor Novelli, for the state, challenged the claim that there was any contamination.  Indeed ‘the experts’ were unable to demonstrate this other than by quoting lengthy academic papers which had little to do with mundane case law and more to do with ivory towers.

Vecchiotti, born 1951 with a long CV from medical student days would have known what Italian standards were, yet tried to subvert them in retrospect.

A complaint was lodged by the prosecution about the pair being seen to openly fraternise with Sollecito’s defence team during the hearing, a strict Bar Standard ‘no, no’ for an independent expert witness.

‘The experts’ refused to analyse a further sample of DNA found on the knife, giving the reason it was LCN, and they ‘didn’t want to make the same mistake as Stefanoni.’

Hellmann accepted ‘the experts’ findings and acquitted Knox and Sollecito declaring them innocent, aside from the calunnia for Knox, together with finding that Guede acted alone, as a ‘burglar disturbed.’

For the film makers, this defines the end of the film.

The Chieffi Court (Supreme Court)

In 2013 the next level of appeal court overturned completely Hellman’s findings.  It rebutted that the DNA sample of Meredith’s was ipso facto low quality just because it was LCN.

‘The experts’ had claimed, relying on their US sources that LCN sampling should only be done on special projects, such as missing persons or cadaver identification, and that there was not the technology as it was ‘too innovative’.

Chieffi did not buy this, pointing to embryology studies.  He scoffed at the idea of ‘the experts’ being more expert than Professor Novelli or Dr Torricelli.  He censured Hellmann for failing to consider their equivalent expert knowledge.  Chieffi was particularly critical of ‘the experts’ refusing to test the remaining knife sample, calling their reasoning, ‘intellectually dishonest’.

On 25 March 2013, Chieffi ordered the case back to the Appeal court to consider the DNA evidence again, amongst other issues, and that the knife sample be tested.  One suspects ‘the experts’ were loath to test the sample in case it turned out be further DNA of Meredith, and this may be why Chieffi smelt a rat.

The Nencini Court (Appeal Court)

In 2014 Judge Nencini made it clear in a newspaper interview it was not within his remit to criticise ‘the experts’, but rather, to assess the legal rectitude of the Massei court decision, which Hellmann patently failed to do.  However, criticise he does. 

He directs Dr Barni, witness for the Carabinieri Lab, that ‘no US standards’ are to be quoted which C&V had done profusely. In upholding the findings of the Massei court he makes the following point in his reasoning about the DNA of the knife and bra clasp:

“… The consultant holds furthermore that the most appropriate technical approach to interpret the genetic profile arising from trace 165B and to avoid subjective interpretations is to “call upon”, meaning to consider as valid, all of the alleles with RFU > 50, independently of their position or whether or not they might be stutter.

Once the complete profile is determined, given that there may also be more than two contributors to the trace, we feel that the only statistical approach that can be used adequately here is the RMNE (Random Man Not Excluded) method.

This statistical approach makes it possible to estimate the possible error due to a chance compatibility, meaning that of a person chosen randomly from the population and who by pure chance is fully compatible with the genetic characteristics of the individual represented in the trace.

The higher and nearer to 1 that probability is, the more likely it is that the profile could be the result of a random choice and thus the higher the probability of an error in the attribution of the genetic profile to a given individual. In this case, as seen in Table 5, the profile of Raffaele Sollecito is compatible at all the loci analyzed in the mixture of DNA found on Exhibit 165B.

The probability that a random individual from the population would also be compatible (the inclusion probability) [245] was calculated, and came out to be equal to 3.05592 x 10^-6, which is about 1 in 327 thousand. This computation is considered to be extremely conservative, since all of the allelic components are taken into consideration together with their frequency in the reference population.” (Pages 15-17 of the technical report submitted at the 6 September 2011 hearing before the Court of Assizes of Appeal of Perugia.)

The same investigative method was also suggested by the consultant of the Prosecutor in relation to the interpretation of the genetic profile of the markers located on the Y chromosome of trace 165B. Here again, all alleles with RFU>50 were considered, giving the following table:



[246] On the basis of the data in the above table, applying the method of statistical calculation indicated above, Prof. Novelli estimated the probability of a chance inclusion of a random person from the population in the mixed profile, together with the chance compatibility of this random individual with the major contributor to the Y chromosome, as about 1 in 3 billion.”

He upholds that the Forensic Police, aside from some human error, acted correctly and dismissed defence claims that Stefanoni had withheld raw data, and as claimed by ‘the experts’, citing documentary proof the information had been deposited.  Nencini reinstated the convictions, 31 January 2014, and dismissed the claim of contamination.

The sample on the knife ‘the experts’ had claimed was ‘starch’ and ‘too low LCN’ was successfully tested and found to be that of Amanda Knox.  None of this is mentioned by Vecchiotti & Conti in the film and nor do the film makers point it out, leaving their audience to believe ‘the experts’ claim of ‘contamination is proven’.

A key finding was that Professors Novelli and Torricelli had already been the target of the criticisms raised specifically by Prof. Adriano Tagliabracci, technical consultant for the Sollecito defense, at the first instance trial court, and thus was a matter settled (res judicata).

This is important to note, for Marasca later describes Tagliabracci in glowing terms as ‘world renowned’ when he reinstates the Hellmann findings in this matter, at the next level.  Nencini observes, ‘Finally, it is observed that Prof. Tagliabracci’s criticism is founded on an unproven and unprovable suspicion, namely that the biologist doing the work being already in possession of reference samples supposedly used the “suspect-centric” method.’

Nencini also found that the second instance [Hellman] court undervalued the fact that the tests carried out took place during the preliminary investigation [of which the Defence was notified and had the right to attend], that at the time of those tests, there were no objections concerning the sampling and laboratory activity, nor was a pre‐trial hearing requested regarding the testing, all of which proves agreement with the [laboratory] procedures.



Nencini

Was There Contamination?

There were NO full male DNA profiles on the bra, apart from Sollecito and Guede’s.

Vecchiotti and Conti, significantly, in the film, try to detract from this highly incriminating scientific fact, by making reference to everyday dust fragments, as if that could possibly account for it.

The assertion by Conti in the film that ‘a crime scene must be kept sterile,’ is meaningless for there are many environmental pollutants at every crime scene.

The expert witness testimony of Professor David Balding, to the court is as follows, and who, until October 2009 was Professor in Statistical Genetics at Imperial College, London, where he still retains an affiliation as Visiting Professor. He is an editor of the Handbook of Statistical Genetics.

“Sollecito’s alleles are all represented and these generate the highest peaks, but there are some low peaks not attributable to him; so at least one of the additional contributors of low-level DNA to the sample was male.”

“They correctly criticised the scientific police for ignoring these: many do appear to be stutter peaks which are usually ignored, but 4 are not and definitely indicate DNA from another individual.  The extra peaks are all low, so the extra individuals contributed very little DNA.

That kind of extraneous DNA is routine in low-template work: our environment is covered with DNA from breath and touch, including a lot of fragmentary DNA from degraded cells that can show up in low-template analyses.  There is virtually no crime sample that doesn’t have some environmental DNA on it, from individuals not directly involved in the crime.

This does create additional uncertainty in the analysis because of the extra ambiguity about the true profile of the contributor of interest, but as long as it is correctly allowed for in the analysis there is no problem - it is completely routine.” (David Balding).

“in some cases we have peaks that correspond to a fourth person.”

“The fourth person is not Guede, it seems. This mystery fourth person hasn’t been mentioned much. (Luciano Garofano, Darkness Descending).

“But because Sollecito is fully represented in the stain at 16 loci (we still only use 10 in the UK, as the legal threshold, so 16 is a lot), the evidence against him is strong.”

“In this case all the peaks associated with Sollecito seem clear and distinct so I think there can be no concern about the quality of the result as far as it concerns him or Kercher.”

The Italian Scientific Police follow the guidelines of the ENFSI - the European Network Forensic Science Institutes. Dr Stefanoni observed that they followed these specific guidelines whereas Conti and Vecchiotti basically picked and mixed a random selection of international opinions:

“We followed the guidelines of the ENFSI, theirs is just a collage of different international opinions”.

In other words, Conti and Vecchiotti were not referring to the specific guidelines and recommendation of one particular international forensic organisations despite giving that impression at the appeal in Perugia.

They cited a number of obscure American publications such as the the Missouri State Highway Patrol Handbook and Wisconsin Crime Laboratory Physical Evidence Handbook. The Italian Scientific Police are under no obligation to follow the DNA protocols of the Missouri State Highway Patrol and Wisconsin Crime Laboratory.

Professor Novelli also pointed out that contamination has to be proved:

“The contaminant must be demonstrated, where it originated from and where it is. The hook contaminated by dust? It’s more likely for a meteorite to fall and bring this court down to the ground.”

Professor Torricelli testified that it was unlikely the clasp was contaminated because there was a significant amount of Sollecito’s DNA on it. Professor Novelli analysed the series of samples from all 255 items processed and found not a single instance of contamination, and ruled out as implausible that a contaminating agent could have been present just on one single result.

Back in 2008 pre-trial there was an independent review of the forensic evidence.

Dr Renato Biondo, the head of the DNA Unit of the Scientific Police, reviewed Dr Stefanoni’s investigation and the forensic findings. He testified at Rudy Guede’s fast-track trial in October 2008 and confirmed that all the forensic findings were accurate and reliable. He also praised the work of Dr. Stefanoni and her team.

“We are confirming the reliability of the information collected from the scene of the crime and at the same time, the professionalism and excellence of our work.”

So thus we have a pointer as to why Conti introduced his presentation by claiming ‘DNA is spread like dust.’

To the bottom line, then, WAS there any possibility of contamination, as Vecchiotti and Conti are now claiming in the film?

    1. Conti and Vecchiotti didn’t prove there had been any contamination. Judge Chieffi pointed this out.

    2. Conti and Vecchiotti lied to the appeal court - Judge Nencini pointed this out - and they didn’t test the DNA sample despite the fact they were specifically instructed to do so.

    3. Numerous DNA experts believe the bra clasp is strong evidence - Professor Balding, Professor Novelli, Luciano Garofano, Professor Torricelli and Dr Biondo.

    4. It’s impossible that the knife was contaminated.

    5. There is no universally accepted DNA standards for collecting and testing DNA evidence. DNA protocols vary from country to country.

    6. Conti and Vecchiotti cited obscure sources, They didn’t refer to the specific guidelines of an international forensic organisation.

    7. Conti and Vecchiotti excluded contamination in the laboratory.

    8. The defence experts had no objections when the DNA evidence was tested.

    9. Vecchiotti made calamitous errors in other cases and her lab was closed down.

    10. Does anyone really believe Sollecito’s DNA floated on a speck of dust under Meredith’s door and landed on the exact part of her bra clasp that had been bent out of shape during the attack on her?

The Marasca-Bruno Supreme Court (Final)

In the final Marasca-Bruno Supreme Court appeal, the short-form provisional 48- page reasoning from March 2015, the guilty verdicts as upheld by Massei and Nencini are overturned, and Vecchiotti & Conti‘s report reinstalled.

“The second reason [the first reason being: The first reason challenged the violation and inobservance of the criminal law], highlights a problem of great relevance in the circumstance of the present judgment, that is the right interpretation of the scientific examination results from a perspective of respect of the evaluation standards according to article 192 of the criminal procedural code and the relevance of the genetic evaluation in the absence of repeatable amplification, as a consequence of the minimal amount of the sample and, more generally, the reliability coefficient of investigations carried out without following the regulations dictated by the international protocols, both during the collecting phase and the analysis.

Particularly, anomalies were challenged in the retrieval of the knife (item 36) and the victim’s brassiere hook, which do not exclude the possibility of contamination, as correctly outlined in the Conti-Vecchiotti report, ordered by the Perugian Court of assizes, which also notified the unreliability of the scientific data, precisely because it was not subject to a further examination.

It was also denied that the retrieved knife would have been the crime weapon.”

Thus, we see the First (Chieffi) Supreme Court Chambers directly challenged by the Fifth Chambers and the criticisms of Vecchiotti and Conti swept aside, as though they had never happened.

Judges Marasca & Bruno write:

‘In fact, no trace of Sollecito was found in the room of the murder. The only element of proof against him was represented by the DNA trace retrieved on the brassiere hook of the victim; trace of which relation with the indicted was actually denied by the Vecchiotti-Conti report, which, in this regard, had accepted the observations of the defense advisor Professor Tagliabracci, world-renowned geneticist.’

It further states:

‘12) Also erroneous was the interpretation of the results of the genetic evidence on item 36) …[…]

14) Obvious also was the flawed reasoning on the results of the genetic investigations on the bra hook, …[…]…

With regard to the possible contamination of the item, the appeal judges overlooked the photographic material placed before the court, which clearly demonstrated the possible contamination, regarding the way the hook was treated, with a “hand to hand” passage carried out by persons who wore dirty latex gloves.

Furthermore, a second amplification was not carried out on the hook …[…]… With regard to this, the objections by the defense and the contrary conclusions of the defense adviser professor Tagliabracci, were not considered.’

In other words, the DNA evidence for the knife and the bra clasp is completely dismissed.  We see no proper rationale by Judge Marasca, just a few handfuls of abstractions along the lines of Conti’s famous, ‘Anything is possible.’

It takes on board Gill’s theories of ‘secondary’ and ‘tertiary’ transfer of DNA, when Gill himself appears to have overlooked that he himself wrote, that ‘this is highly improbable after 24 hours have passed’.

If Marasca’s rulings are considered bizarre, then light is shed when one realises that Bongiorno, for Sollecito, was given NINE times longer to present her appeal than any of the other parties, so it is fair comment to assume its reasoning is based on Bongiorno’s appeal points.

Nobody from either the Perugia or Florence prosecution teams was even present.

In addition, her 306 page appeal was appended with Gill’s advocacy report. Gill was never cross-examined.

The resuscitation of the hitherto presumed decaying corpse of Vecchiotti & Conti is remarkable, given the cadaver of their report to Hellmann was picked raw, first by the First Chambers Supreme Court (Chieffi) and then Judge Nencini.

Vecchiotti and Conti have risen like Lazarus from a car crash, shrouded in the malodorous cloth of something fishy.



Illegal intruder Hampikian

How the ‘Heist’ was pulled off.

Andrea Vogt wrote of the Marasca reasoning:  ‘In my opinion, their report is superficial at best and intellectually dishonest at worst, when even the most minimal amount of Quellenkritik is applied’.

Andrea Vogt writes an incisive analysis of the US influence on the C&V reports, which I cannot better here, so do read it for yourself.

However, I will repeat her prophecy, ironic in hindsight:

“If Knox is acquitted at the end of this month, the quiet American hand in her forensic defense will be heralded as the turnkey that made the ultimate difference in her case. But if she is convicted, there are legitimate questions to be asked about exactly what public resources were spent on this international defense.”

Vogt uncovered what appears to be a whole secret network that she was unable to penetrate through the fog of Freedom of Information law, which enabled Hampikian to claim ‘trade secrets’ as a project of Boise University, where his laboratory is based, to evade the question of, ‘Who was funding his Amanda Knox advocacy work?’

If then it is clear beyond any reasonable doubt that both Meredith’s and Sollecito’s DNA is strong and background contamination ruled out by the trial courts, why then does the film revisit the discredited testimony of ‘court experts’ Vecchiotti & Conti?

We can link this back to the film makers own self-professed strong pro-Knox beliefs in her innocence.  Thus we have come full circle.

The defence managed to convince the now expunged Hellmann court to appoint ‘independent experts’; the Chieffi Supreme Court ruled that, whilst this was within Hellmann’s remit, he did not provide adequate reasoning for doing so. 

Vecchiotti & Conti, remarkably, in their report, relied heavily on US standards, thus making the straw man claim that Italy hadn’t followed them, notwithstanding their strong academic and legal background in Italy.  This therefore cannot have been due to ignorance, so we have to point to their own volition to be influenced strongly by Knox-advocates.

For example, Hampikian, funded by Boise University grants and protected by a blanket of secrecy, citing ‘trade secrets’ when journalist Andrea Vogt requested information under the Freedom of Information statutes.

In addition, Bruce Budowle, a more conservative ex-FBI forensic expert, was heavily relied upon, together with peers Gill, et al.  It was at this stage Gill may have got roped in.  His later book draws on Vecchiotti &Conti’s Hellmann’s Report.

Thus, we see a band of pro-Amanda Knox advocates determined to influence the so-called ‘independent’ experts, even when both Hampikian’s and Budowle’s reports were rejected as depositions by the courts.  Even when ‘the experts’ were spiked by the Chieffi Supreme court, Hampikian was still averring, ‘I am involved in the Amanda Knox case’.

Friends of Amanda Knox even today lovingly quote Hellmann despite his de facto ex-communication from the judiciary.  Little surprise we see the film makers eager to include Vecchiotti and Conti, who made it all possible for the birds to fly.

On the subject of Dr Peter Gill, who is widely regarded as having influenced the Fifth Chambers, via Bongiorno’s Appeal, to which his theories were attached, is now drawing on Vecchiotti and Conti as his main source, so we have a case of the experts’ racing car, as it were, driven by the man referred to devoutly by the defence as ‘the father of forensic science’.

Dr Naseer Ahmed of PMF.net was moved to comment:

– A look at his sources show that the chapter on Meredith Kercher was directly influenced by the Conti-Vecchiotti report.

– He argues contamination, but doesn’t prove a path of transmission.

– He cites papers on secondary transfer of DNA, but misses the point his suggested routes, RS>door handle>investigator’s latex glove>bra clasp is tertiary transfer.

– He argues the low cell count of Meredith’s Kercher’s DNA on the knife suggests contamination without considering that rigorous washing with household bleach might degrade it. (Yet miraculously those cells did provide a full match with Meredith’s DNA)

– The shoe box belonging to Meredith story has been shot down.

– He clearly has not read Inspector Gubbiotti or Finci’s testimonies, which removes all possible paths of ‘innocent transfer’.

– Reading the actual research papers he cites, there is no way that such significant amounts of DNA could actually transfer to the bra clasp.

– He did not review Patrizia Stefanoni’s Scientific Report or any of her notes, instead relying on the IIP translated C&V report and Hellmann decision.

– He refers to the Meredith Kercher wiki, but never even looked at the DNA segments which would have alerted him to problems with the C&V report.

– He may have had indirect input from Sollecito’s first DNA expert, Vincenzo Pascali, and Carla Vecchiotti, but does not seem to know of Vecchiotti’s colorful record of falsifying evidence.

Last, and worst of all, he did not refer to the Supreme Court decision annulling Hellmann even though the translation was widely available almost ten months before his book was published.

There is no way he could not have known this, since we had been in contact with him since earlier this year. It is unconscionable that he chose this route to promote his theories. Elsevier under its new ownership and editorial policies seem to have allowed any number of self-published books to be written.

If Professor Gill had written a scholarly text book it would have to be reviewed by an editorial board and sent for peer review, which might have led to professional experts critiquing and hopefully pointing out his errors.

Instead, he wrote a slim, unreviewed ‘popular’ book to promote his own theories, which, embarrassing perhaps for him, is being critiqued and torn apart by lay persons, ahem.

Misleading DNA Evidence – Reasons for Miscarriages of Justice, Peter Gill, Academic Press.  Quote:

Recommendation 1: The expert should provide the court with an unbiased list of all possible modes of transfer of DNA evidence (pg 20).”

The irony is not lost.



Illegal intruder Gill

My Main Sources:

Thanks to Naseer Ahmed and The Machine, for the section on ‘Contamination?’

The Machine’s analysis of 50 of the most common myths still promoted.

The Meredith Case Wiki

The Perugia Murder File Forum (Net Version)

The Nencini Sentencing Report.

The Chieffi Sentencing Report.

The Massei Report.

The Marasca-Bruno Report:

My thanks to the wonderful translators and everybody who helped me with material.


Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Netflixhoax 8: Omitted - Honest Picture Of Sleazy Production Team, Hard Facts That Challenge Them

Posted by Ergon


Netflix’s Amanda Knox is an extreme example of misleading bias by cherrypicking. This post is another in our ongoing series, the mothership for material for this media-friendly page online soon.



I saw the film at the Toronto International Film Festival. As a passionate lover of movies and documentaries, I respect the right of ANYONE to create a documentary or film through the prism of their own POV.

On the other hand, they owe us, the audience, a modicum of honesty in their reporting. Otherwise, as some one once complained about deceptive editing and reporting in one of Katie Couric’s documentaries, it prevents “democratic discourse” and this is what we ask.

By all means, engage with us, but do so honestly.

Having followed the case for many years as well as attending the earlier Supreme Court hearing in 2013 I can add the following:

  • Rudy Guede’s lawyer Valter Biscotti had a lot more to say about his client being convicted ‘in conjunction with others’. This was edited out, as well as the caption Knox put alongside her blog when she posed with a machine gun, “The Nazi Within”.  Something the media reported correctly at the time, McGinn and Blackhurst not.

  • The Producer Stephen Robert Morse hid his involvement in the project with Brian McGinn and Rod Blackhurst since 2011. They had ALL made inflammatory comments in favour of Amanda Knox over the years, with Morse hastily deleting some (but not all) as the Netflix sale came up.

  • He even called Nick Pisa “a piece of shit” in Perugia in 2011. It was the reputable Danish production company head Mette Heide that approached Mignini and Pisa, who didn’t know of Morse’s involvement, but that gives the background to this biased ‘documentary’ and why some may feel it is less than fair or balanced in its portrayal of the protagonists.

  • Mignini was referring to the Monster of Florence case when he talked of people coming up to shake his hand, the film makes it look like they were congratulating him for putting away Amanda Knox.

  • He was referring to it being an inside job when he said an “unknown” man (edited out to make him seem misogynistic) would not have covered Meredith with a blanket.

  • The film emphasized his Catholic beliefs to make it seem he was making a moralistic judgement about her. As he pointed out, the evidence was somewhat overwhelming. It also made it seem like his love of Sherlock Holmes was proof of him following a hunch. Um, that’s what investigators sometimes do, especially when faced with the numerous prevarications and failed alibis of Amanda Knox. Obscuring the evidence to match your narrative is dishonest to the extreme.

  • The ‘independent’ DNA experts Conti and Vecchiotti were given lots of room to claim contamination though that was never proved in court, only inferred. Also left out: Vecchiotti’s sentence for not maintaining sterile conditions in HER laboratory. Her switching a suspect’s DNA with another in one of Italy’s worst murder cases in order to falsely exonerate someone with ‘connections’. The tests had to be redone to obtain a conviction. As they make fun of Nick Pisa for ‘not fact-checking’, should they not have fact-checked before they placed her on camera?

  • The biggest laugh the Toronto audience gave was WITH Nick Pisa when he said “I mean, she’s (Knox) a complete and utter loon”.

  • This follows the Netflix template of creating reasonable doubt as it did with “The Making Of A Murder”. By over emphasizing the defense case, and ignoring the prosecution’s, it reads like propaganda.

  • This is neither fair nor balanced, nor is it original. It adds nothing to our knowledge, being a rehash of her book and numerous TV interviews, and already covered in Michael Winterbottom’s “The Face Of An Angel” in his fictionalized ‘the making of a movie within a movie’ adaptation of reporter Barbie Nadeau’s book. Oh, and producer Morse insulted HER too.

  • There were several prosecutors and numerous judges helped convict her, not just prosecutor Mignini. Nor was it an exercise in misogyny, the case was largely driven by five women: Judge Claudia Matteini, co-prosecutor Manuela Comodi, Scientific Police DNA lab technician Patrizia Stefanoni, homicide Inspector Monica Napoleoni, and Inspector Rita Ficarra.

  • This exercise in PR looks like an Amanda Knox Production, with her playing the lead role, director, producer and writer. Yet she fails to see how she comes across with her melodramatic styling and emotive pauses and outbursts. She is neither believable nor sympathetic, no matter how hard they all try.

  • Two stars out of ten for production values and slick cinematography, none for the film itself.

In the end, the picture belongs to Meredith Kercher, remembered by her family with a grieving Arline Kercher, her mother saying how she just could not understand how there could be two convictions and two acquittals; justice denied.

And a haunting video of Meredith, taken in the full bloom of her youthful promise by Amanda Knox. She didn’t want to be filmed, but as Knox admits in her book, she took the video anyway. (And included in her film).

Meredith Kercher, RIP.


Thursday, September 22, 2016

Wiki Status: Harder & Harder To Claim No Evidence Or 2009 Jury Got Verdict Wrong

Posted by azoza



A rough physical equivalent of our document library

Overview

This is a progress update on the increasingly vast Meredith Wiki file library:

Remember that much of the trial was conducted behind closed doors. Italians got good reporting from the trial, often in real-time; but those of us in other countries far less-so - though the notion that any of the fairly limited English-language media mentions in 2009 influenced the Italian jury is a seriously absurd one.

So the one and only key to getting the case right is in the documents. Absent a knowledge of the documents (as in the Netflix case) conclusions become quite vacuous.

Remember that NO media outfit ever translated any of the large documents. The Italy-based foreign reporters certainly did some for their own use and for excerpting, but all the heavy lifting was done by the teams on our cluster of websites.

Remember that NO American or British lawyer ever who is fully on top of the extraordinary number of documents has attempted to argue that this was not a strong case or that points pointing to guilt were not overwhelming.

The file library is increasingly being made into something resembling a huge book with a internal strong logic for the help of the numerous intended researchers.

You can see that logic strongly at work here.

Four search approaches

Since my article last June, there have been big changes to the file library layout. We scrapped the nested box approach due to the amount and different kinds of documents.

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/File_library:_Main_Page

Now there are four approaches to find files: (1) the master list; (2) by file type; (3) by subject matter; (4) by chronology of when file was made.

The last branch will be done when uploads are complete.

(1) The master list contains links to all the files, roughly in chronological order. Given the thousands of files (over 3800 now), the master list serves only as a reference point. You get a sense of document flow- what appeared when- by scrolling through the list.

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/File_library:_Master_list

(2) The type pages subdivide files by main types (audio, documents, images, videos) and then further subcategories.

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/File_library:_Files_by_type

The images category will be better filled with more files in due time. The documents category has the most subcategories with descriptions under the headings. So for instance, all court motivation reports are here:

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/File_library:_Court_motivation_reports

All court testimony PDFs are here:

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/File_library:_Court_testimony

All deposition and interrogation PDFs here:

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/File_library:_Depositions_and_interrogations
and police and consultant reports here:

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/File_library:_Reports

The above are most significant, but there are many other subcategories.

(3) The by subject pages will have pages of all files, disregarding type and date, of a particular subject. So all files related to DNA on one page; all files related to the knife on one page; all pages related to Curatolo on one page. These pages will be more detailed than other pages.

(4) By chronology pages organize files by date:

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/File_library:_Files_by_chronology

These pages are only PDFs for now. Eventually the other file types will be linked too. At the bottom of each chronology page is a link to the next section, so it’s possible to click through chronology pages without returning to the chronology menu page each time.

Important files:

Crime scene:

Crime scene photos were distributed by police in 5 volumes and can be found here:

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/File_library:_Crime_scene_photos

There are more photos in the 5 volumes than in the web page photo gallery.

A subset of these photos are in a second police document from Dec 31, 2007 done in Word. We printed it to PDF:

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/docupl/spublic/filelibrary3/docs/photos/2007-12-31-Photobook-Police-survey-cottage-crime-scene-censored.pdf

Photos from this document were captured, censored and stored in this zip file, which has crime scene photos not in the webpage gallery:

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/docupl/spublic/filelibrary3/docs/photos/2007-12-31-Photobook-Police-survey-cottage-crime-scene-censored.zip

Crime scene video is here:

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/File_library:_Crime_scene_videos

We have taken great pains to keep November 2-3 crime scene video intact with sound, censoring as necessary to respect Meredith and her family. It is the most complete version available- 1 hr 20 minutes long.

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/docupl/spublic/filelibrary3/videos/crimescene/2007-11-02-03-cottage.mp4

There is also video of Scientific Police (Dr. Stefanoni) at Sollecito’s apartment on November 13th:

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/docupl/spublic/filelibrary3/videos/crimescene/2007-11-13-apartment-Sollecito.mp4

Police video comes from discs prepared by police, complete with menus. It’s likely the video compilations on these discs don’t show all video taken. As an example, the above video at Sollecito’s apartment seems incomplete and is cut-off at the end.

The December 2007 video of the 2nd cottage visit is complete. Police purposely distributed this video without sound.

CCTV:

We have made films of CCTV capture:

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/File_library:_CCTV_videos

We did this because the program and files are proprietary. We will capture photo sequences of important segments and post later.

We could not find ‘video’ for camera 7 from 00:00 to 06:00 on November 2nd. There are other cameras at the garage as well, and we are looking to find any extra footage.

DNA:

We have DNA report complete and in color:

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/docupl/spublic/filelibrary3/docs/reports/2008-06-12-Report-Scientific-Police-Stefanoni-DNA-result-all.pdf

so charts are now clear. Dr. Stefanoni’s DNA report references these photos here too:

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/docupl/spublic/filelibrary3/docs/reports/2008-06-12-Report-Scientific-Police-Stefanoni-DNA-result-all-photographic-attachments-censored.pdf

Egrams in color are here:

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/docupl/spublic/filelibrary3/docs/reports/2008-06-04-Report-Scientific-Police-Stefanoni-DNA-result-all-egrams.pdf

Clearer Egram prints of key traces can be found on this page, and also negative controls:

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/File_library:_Reports

UACV report:

As mentioned by Olleosnep, this report has not been talked about, but very important crime scene analysis report:

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/docupl/spublic/filelibrary3/docs/reports/2008-06-09-Report-Scientific-Police-UACV-Codispoti-crime-scene-analysis-censored-colored-and-charts.pdf

More UACV materials are here:

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/File_library:_Presentations

Rinaldi & Boemia:

Rinaldi & Boemia presentation showing errors in Vinci report is here:

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/docupl/spublic/filelibrary3/docs/presentations/2009-09-18-Slides-Scientific-Police-Rinaldi-Boemia-comments-on-Vinci-report.pdf

There is much Rinaldi & Boemia presentation material on that page. They also did two reports, one on footprints and a second on shoes. Those are here, with separate photo attachments:

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/File_library:_Reports

Conti & Vecchiotti critiques:

Dr. Stefanoni presentation showing errors in Conti Vecchiotti report is here:

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/docupl/spublic/filelibrary3/docs/presentations/2011-09-04-Slides-Scientific-Police-Stefanoni-comments-Conti-Vecchiotti-report.pdf

and her written report here:

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/docupl/spublic/filelibrary3/docs/reports/2011-09-01-Report-Scientific-Police-Stefanoni-comments-on-Conti-Vecchiotti-report.pdf

Dr. Novelli report critiquing Conti Vecchiotti report is also good reading:

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/docupl/spublic/filelibrary3/docs/reports/2011-09-03-Report-Consultant-Prosecutor-Novelli-comments-on-Conti-Vecchiotti-report.pdf

Dr. Torricelli has two reports. The second is an updated version of the first:

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/docupl/spublic/filelibrary3/docs/reports/2011-07-29-Report-Consultant-Civil-Torricelli-comments-on-Conti-Vecchiotti-report.pdf

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/docupl/spublic/filelibrary3/docs/reports/2011-07-29-Report-Consultant-Civil-Torricelli-comments-on-Conti-Vecchiotti-report.pdf

Medical consultants:

This medical consultant hearing- asked by Judge Matteini in April 2008- is very important:

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/docupl/spublic/filelibrary3/docs/testimony/2008-04-19-Testimony-CM-evidentiary-hearing-consultants-medical-all.pdf

Related reports (all censored for disturbing content):

Autopsy:

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/docupl/spublic/filelibrary3/docs/reports/2008-02-12-Report-Coroner-Lalli-autopsy-final-censored.pdf

Matteini’s consultants:

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/docupl/spublic/filelibrary3/docs/reports/2008-04-15-Report-Consultant-Court-Aprile-Cingolani-Ronchi-wounds-manner-of-death-censored.pdf

Mignini’s consultants (replacing Lalli):

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/docupl/spublic/filelibrary3/docs/reports/2008-04-24-Report-Consultant-Prosecutor-Bacci-Liviero-Marchionni-comments-on-Lalli.pdf

Dr. Mignini:

His case summary to the Riesame court on November 24, 2007 is important. It shows an early description of the case:

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/docupl/spublic/filelibrary3/docs/notices-prosecutor/2007-11-24-Notice-Prosecutor-case-summary-for-Riesame-court-Knox-Sollecito.pdf

He made a case summary for Guede too in December 2007:

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/docupl/spublic/filelibrary3/docs/notices-prosecutor/2007-12-10-Notice-Prosecutor-case-summary-for-Riesame-court-Guede.pdf

Formal charges issued in English from July 2008:

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/docupl/spublic/filelibrary3/docs/notices-prosecutor/2008-07-11-Notice-Prosecutor-sending-case-to-trial-English.pdf

Final fingerprint report:

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/docupl/spublic/filelibrary3/docs/reports/2008-01-31-Report-Scientific-Police-fingerprints-cottage-final-censored.pdf

Court testimony:

There is much more court testimony now. Matteini, Micheli, Massei, Hellmann Nencini, but also Guede appeal court Borsini. All testimony is here:

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/File_library:_Court_testimony

Much of Micheli is audio only, which is here:

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/File_library:_Court_audios

Various:

This Kokomani interview with Canale 5:

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/File_library:_Interview_videos

shows Kokomani in a good way. Court transcripts with him seem confusing, but here he is easy to follow.

This video shows unpacking of kitchen knife on February 26, 2008 in front of all consultants:

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/docupl/spublic/filelibrary3/videos/misc/2008-02-26-Knife-review-by-consultants.mp4

The meeting was after knife was tested for DNA, but shows the original box used.


Thursday, September 01, 2016

How Bob Woffinden, Aggrandizing Investigative Journalist, Attempts To Perpetrate Innocence Fraud

Posted by The Machine



Said to be Bob Woffinden - as a pop music reporter, some years ago

1. Woffinden and innocence fraud

These days innocence fraud is a very real thing.

A stern warning was issued to crime laboratory administrators that some post-conviction exonerations may have been secured by innocence activists using malicious tactics, or ‘innocence fraud’, creating potential public safety threats as convicted felons are released from prison.

In this post, I will analyse another example of innocence fraud, this time by British journalist Bob Woffinden on Meredith’s case. Woffinden has done this on other cases before.

He specialises in alleged miscarriages of justice, and has written articles for The Guardian, The Daily Mail and The New Statesman and authored a number a books about high-profile murder cases: Miscarriages of Justice; Hanratty: The Final Verdict and The Murder of Billy-Jo.

Woffinden’s default position when it comes to controversial murder cases seems to be to assume a miscarriage of justice, and to claim someone has been convicted of a crime they didn’t commit.

He’s claimed that James Hanratty, Jeremy Bamber, Barry George, Sion Jenkins and Jonathan King are all innocent. Reflexively anti-police, Woffinden as I described in the post linked to above on the James Hanratty case has a history of putting victims’ families through considerable pain.

2. Woffinden On Meredith’s case

Here he tries to prove that Rudy Guede is innocent of murder, and falsely claims he was convicted because he was black. He also tries to cast doubt on the hard fact that Meredith was sexually assaulted - or that the police got anything right.

Anyone who has read the official court documents and court testimonies with regard to the Meredith Kercher case will be able to assess Bob Woffinden’s professionalism and credibility and ethics as an investigative journalist article by reading his contorted take.

To those who really do know the case, it is immediately apparent that he’s pretty ignorant of the main facts, and that he hasn’t bothered to read the official court documents or the court testimonies available in English here.

He mindlessly repeats various endemic Friends of Amanda PR myths. For example, he erroneously claims the prosecutors concocted the scenario of a sex orgy gone wrong.

“The second mistake then ensued from the first. Needing to explain the presence of their three suspects in connection with the supposed sexual assault – and knowing there was absolutely no evidence to link Guede with Knox and Sollecito – they [the prosecutors] concocted the absurd scenario of a sex orgy gone wrong.”

Dr Mignini didn’t ever say anything about there being a sex orgy that went wrong when he presented his scenario to the court at the trial in 2009 and the numerous hearings (which Woffinden seems totally unaware of) in the 15 months before.

Instead he gave the court a detailed chronological account briefly summarized below of a vicious physical and sexual assault on Meredith, which culminated in her dying some time after the killers left and locked her in.

23:21: Amanda and Raffaele go into the bedroom while Rudy goes to the bathroom.

23:25: A scuffle begins between Amanda, helped by Raffaele, and Meredith. The English girl is taken by the neck, then banged against a cupboard, as shown by wounds to the skull. She resists all this. Rudy Guede enters.

23:30: Meredith falls to the floor. The three try to undress her to overcome her; they only manage to take off her trousers. The girl manages to get up, she struggles. At this point, the two knives emerge from the pockets of Amanda and Raffaele: one with a blade of four to five centimetres, the other, however, a big kitchen knife. Meredith tries to fend off the blades with her right hand. She is wounded.

23:35: The assault continues. Sollecito tries to rip off the English girl’s bra.

23:40: Meredith is on her knees, threatened by Amanda with the knife while Rudy holds her with one hand and with the other hand carries out an assault on her vagina. There is first a knife blow on her face, then straight away another. However, these blows are not effective. The three become more violent. With the smaller knife, Sollecito strikes a blow: the blade penetrates 4 centimetres into the neck.

There is a harrowing cry, which some witnesses will talk about. Amanda decides to silence her, still according to the video brought to court by the prosecutors, and strikes a blow to the throat with the kitchen knife: it will be the fatal wound. Meredith collapses on the floor.

23:45: Meredith is helped up by Rudy and is coughing up blood. The English girl, dying, is dragged along so that she can continue to be undressed.

Why is Woffinden unable to substantiate his claim that the prosecutors concocted the scenario of a sex orgy gone wrong with a verbatim quote from Mignini or Comodi?

Because they never claimed this at all. A competent and ethical professional journalist should be able to support every claim they make.

Woffinden regurgitates another popular PR myth by claiming that Rudy Guede pleaded guilty late in 2008.

“Even as he [Rudy Guede] pleaded guilty, he vehemently asserted his innocence, saying, ‘I can’t talk about things I haven’t seen and that didn’t happen to me’.”

Rudy Guede has never pleaded guilty or confessed to Meredith’s murder. He has always denied killing Meredith. He opted for a fast-track trial in mid 2008 because he could escape a blatant attempt to frame him as sole perpetrator by the Knox and Sollecito defense.

It meant he would automatically received a third off his prison sentence but at the time he had no idea what that would look like.

Bob Woffinden gets yet another fact wrong when he claims the Hellmann appeal court sanctioned a full review of the scientific evidence.

“…the Italian court sanctioned a full review of the scientific evidence on which they had been convicted.”

It did nothing of the kind. Hellmann merely asked Carla Vechiotti and Stefano Conti to review two pieces of DNA evidence - the knife and bra clasp evidence.

They didn’t review the bloody footprint on the bathmat, the bare bloody footprints which had been revealed by Luminol, or the five samples of Knox’s DNA or the blood mixed with Meredith’s blood in three different locations in the cottage.

Yet another wrong “fact”. Bob Woffinden claims that a police officer flushed away Rudy Guede’s faeces and thus destroyed evidence.

“His recollection that he had leapt up from the toilet seat the instant he heard the scream was bizarrely corroborated by the fact that there were faeces still in the pan when the police arrived. Needless to say, one officer activated the toilet, thereby flushing away important evidence.”

Needless to say? In fact this claim is complete and utter nonsense. The faeces in the toilet wasn’t flushed away. It was carefully collected as evidence and tested. However, it didn’t yield any results.

“The faeces present in the toilet of that bathroom did not, however, yield any results, and Dr Stefanoni, the biologist of the Scientific Police, explained that the presence of numerous bacteria easily destroys what DNA might be found in faeces.” (The Massei report, page 43).

Why would Woffinden make these and other demonstrably untrue claims? It seems obvious that he wants to portray the Italian National Scientific Police (much respected by the FBI) as the Keystone Cops, in order to ridicule the forensic investigation, seemingly his purpose here.

Woffinden makes yet another false claim by stating that Guede made only one inconsistent statement.

“Guede’s solitary inconsistency was this. He did comment at the outset of the investigation that ‘Amanda doesn’t have anything to do with it’. But, at that stage, perhaps he couldn’t believe that she did have.”

Judge Micheli, who found Rudy Guede guilty of sexual assault and murder in October 2008, pointed out in his sentencing report of January 2009 that Guede’s accounts were unreliable and varied a lot.

“Analyzing the narratives of the accused…he is not credible, as I will explain, because his version is (1) unreliable, and (2) continuously varying, whether on basic points or in minor details and outline.”

Bob Woffinden also seems to be pushing the wrong notion that Rudy Guede didn’t implicate Amanda Knox until much later - which is another FOA PR myth.

Guede first implicated Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito whilst on the run in Germany on 19 November 2007 in an intercepted Skype conversation with his friend Giacomo Benedetti:

Giacomo: “So they [Knox and Sollecito] killed her while she was dressed.”

Guede: “Yes, here it says that they [clothes] were washed in the washing machine, but that’s not true. She was dressed.”

Bob Woffinden makes the erroneous and offensive claim that there’s no evidence that Meredith was sexually assaulted,

“In their investigation, prosecutors made a series of blunders. The first serious mistake was their assumption that Meredith was sexually assaulted. If one takes cognisance of Guede’s account, there is no evidence of this. The second mistake then ensued from the first. Needing to explain the presence of their three suspects in connection with the supposed sexual assault – and knowing there was absolutely no evidence to link Guede with Knox and Sollecito – they concocted the absurd scenario of a sex orgy gone wrong.”

Had Bob Woffinden actually bothered to read the key Massei trial report, he would have known that several medical experts - Dr Lalli, Professor Marchionni, Professor Bacci and Professor Gianaristide Norelli - testified that there were indications of sexual violence on Meredith.

Such conclusions were further explained [by Dr Lalli] at the hearing of April 3, 2009, in which it was highlighted that signs were present of sexual activity with characteristics of non cooperation by the young woman, which can be derived from the lesion pattern at the vulvo vaginal level (page 40 of transcripts).

[111] These signs were present in the purple ecchymotic type spots detected on the inner surface of the labia minora, the area where they are usually produced. It is the first point of contact for the sex organ or object including fingers penetrating the vagina and therefore the point at which an action ... performed without the full cooperation of both actors would produce purplish spots of this kind. (The Massei report, page 116).

He [Professor Marchionni] noted in this regard that, even without lubrication injuries of this nature are not the result of consensual sexual intercourse, and he argued that the cause of these lesions had originated from a “forcing” that could have been done by the penis or by hands (page 21, hearing on April 4, 2009). (The Massei report, page 117.)

With regard to sexual violence, he [Professor Bacci] referred to the inspection of the genital area conducted by Dr. Lalli at the morgue operating room. On the internal surface of the labia minora, attention was focused on areas of discolouration, which can be interpreted as small bruises, small abrasions associated with small haemorrhages indicative of “small lesions” (page 16, transcripts) consistent with a violent action of friction, pressure an typical of sexual violence and, while affirming the absence glaring signs of typical sexual violence (page 16, transcripts) he concluded compatibility with non-consensual sexual intercourse’ (page 16, hearing, hearing on April 18, 2009). (The Massei report, page 121.)

He [Gianaristide Norelli] further underlined the presence of a slight bilateral suffusion in the area of the iliac spines, i.e. in the areas corresponding to the anterior lateral part of the flank, which represent the end/terminal parts of the wings of the [pelvic] basin and the fact that “lesions in this area are fairly characteristic of seizure [grasping] and immobilisation”; [it is] an area which is ‘highly suggestive’ in the context of the investigation of sexual assault. (The Massei report, page 124).

It should be stressed that the the doctor who actually performed the autopsy - Dr Lalli - believed Meredith had been sexually assaulted.

“The prosecution focused on Lalli’s statements that he believed there had been non-consensual sex.” (Andrea Vogt, The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 2 April 2009).

You need just an ounce of common sense to know that murder victims who were also raped or sexually assaulted didn’t consent. The Kerchers’ lawyer Dr Maresca made this very point:

“Sex that ends with someone dead is not consensual.”

Dr Maresca also highlighted the fact several medical experts said there were signs of sexual violence in court. Dr Maresca told the court that the expert witnesses

“sustained the prior results and valuations of the coroner who performed the autopsy and the forensic evidence specialists who already testified”. He added: “And for the first time today, we also heard that the bruises on the victim’s hips were consistent with a sexually violent approach.”

Unbelievably, Bob Woffinden regards Rudy Guede as a reliable and credible witness.

I’m surprised anyone would believe Guede’s ever-changing versions of events when they are so blatantly untrue. Guede gave two different accounts of arranging a date with Meredith and they’re both demonstrably false.

Meredith didn’t go to the Halloween party at the Spanish students’ house on 31 October 2007.

Guede then changed his story and claimed that he had met her at Domus, but Meredith was with her friends continuously and none of them saw her with him. None of Guede’s friends saw him with her either.

“He [Rudy Guede] stated that he met the girl on Oct. 31 in the house of some Spanish students and did not meet her later in the “Domus” pub, that the next day, shortly before going to the date with Meredith…

In the third interrogation, by the P.M. [public prosecutor] on March 26, 2008, he changed the place of his meeting with Kercher on Oct. 31 from the Spanish students’ house to the Domus pub” (Judge Giordano’s Supreme Court report, page 17).

“…and also because none of Meredith’s friends (Amy Frost, Robyn Butterworth and [10] Sophie Purton, with whom she had gone out on the evening of Halloween, Oct. 31, 2007) nor any of Guede’s friends (among others AC and PM) had ever seen them talk to each other.” (Judge Giordano’s sentencing report, page 10).

Meredith had NOT arranged a date with Guede at the cottage on Via della Pergola on 1 November 2007. She and Sophie Purton left their friends early that evening because they mistakenly believed they had lectures the next day.

“They [Meredith Kercher and Sophie Purton] were to meet on the morning of the second at around 10:00 am for a lecture at the university…:” (The Massei report, page 35).

“Meredith was tired from the day before when she had come home about five in the morning; the next day she supposed that she had a lesson at the University at 10 am and she needed to prepare for this and she had to also think about resting” (The Massei report, page 58).

Judge Massei explained at length in his report why Rudy Guede’s claims he had a date with Meredith were not credible.

“Speaking of Meredith, there has already been occasion to make mention of her personality (serious, not superficial, with a strong character), of her romantic situation [i.e. her love life] (she had not long beforehand begun a relationship with Giacomo Silenzi), of the plans she had for that evening (studying, preparing for the following day believing that there would be classes at the University, finishing a piece of homework, as her mother recalled during the hearing of 6 June 2009, and resting).

None of the people she frequented and in whom she confided (her relatives and her English girlfriends) testified that Meredith had made any mention to them at all of Rudy, for whom, therefore, she must not have felt any interest. With regard to the totality of these circumstances, it must be considered that Meredith could only have made an outright refusal to Rudy’s advances” (The Massei report, pages 365-366).

In rejecting Guede’s final appeal Judge Giordano succinctly summarised the reasons why he was found guilty of sexual assault and murder in his Supreme Court report. It had nothing to do with the colour of his skin.

“The judgement rationale thus proceeds through rigorous logical steps, quite consistently, with no possibility of misinterpreting evidence, distorting significant data, or disruption of the overall probative reasoning. Meredith Kercher, before being slaughtered with the deadly blow at her throat, was the victim of a series of wounds, of forced restraining of her limbs, especially the left hand and arm - and on the cuff of the left sleeve of the sweatshirt she wore clear traces of DNA of the defendant are found – aimed at overcoming her resistance to sexual violence, of which the traces of DNA of Guede of the vaginal swabs are evidence, which then led to the violent behaviour of the deadly slaughtering.

The version of the accused is totally unrealistic because, even apart from the obvious omissions and contradictions detectable in his many statements, his previous acquaintance of Meredith, shaped in his story by a meeting on the night before the murder at the Domus pub, by a kiss between the two and by a date for the evening of the following day, is clearly disproved by a whole articulated testimonial structure, [19] coming from several people and indicating that: the two did not meet at the Domus (indicated by the testimonies of all the friends who were accompanying Meredith), even less did they converse, even briefly, at the Shamrock pub during the match between England and South Africa broadcasted the day before (indicated by the testimonies of AC, PM and F), and Kercher never confided anything, as would have been natural, to her friends about a date with Guede, not even on the afternoon of Nov. 1, as she had done in other occasions about details of her personal and love life (indicated by the testimonies of Robin Carmel Butterworth, Sophie Purton).

This is consistent with the portrait of Meredith’s character; she avoided sexual relations with other men apart from Giacomo Silenzi with whom she had begun a relationship that she absolutely did not mean to betray, as stated by her friends, especially not for unimportant adventures.” (Judge Giordano’s Supreme Court report, pages 17-18).

Some conclusions

Bob Woffinden has made a name for himself by publicly championing the causes of convicted killers and sex offenders. Mainstream media organisations such as The Guardian, The Daily Mail and The New Statesman have given him a certain degree of credibilty and respectabilty by publishing his articles. Many people will trust him and assume that he’s a reliable and trustworthy journalist.

However, their trust is misplaced. His lack of due diligence with regard to his article about Rudy Guede and the Meredith Kercher case is disturbing and unacceptable. He doesn’t get the basics of journalism right - which is astonishing for someone who has worked as a journalist for decades. He gets basic facts wrong and he has made numerous demonstrably false claims.

A professional journalist should be able to substantiate every claim they make. Bob Woffinden is unable to do this because he has relied on some of the numerous factually inaccurate articles and the massive defense and PR spin about the case instead of the official court documents and court testimonies.

It defies belief that he accepts Rudy Guede’s fairy tale version of events. You don’t expect such childlike naivety from an adult let alone an investigative journalist. He’s obviously blissfully ignorant of the fact that Guede gave contradictory and confllcting accounts.

It seems he has a deep-rooted psychological need to believe in innocence and police malfeasance, which completely clouds his judgement to the point where he blindly supports and campaigns on behalf of people who are blatantly guilty of sexual assault and murder like James Hanratty and Rudy Guede.

If there’s a more sloppy and self-serving journalist in the world, I haven’t come across them yet.


Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Florence Courts Resent Mangling Of RS/AK Appeal By Cassation Now Have Ominous Ways To Re-Visit

Posted by Peter Quennell



Highrise Florence courts are just visible at left background


The Marasca/Bruno verdict setting RS and AK free has taken some hard knocks within the Italian legal community.

It is not lost on anyone that Sollecito defense lawyer Bongiorno was given special favors, including being allowed to argue unchallenged before the Fifth Chambers for some hours beyond the legal limit.

Or that the Fifth Chambers should never ever have received the appeal.

Or that the drafter, Bruno, was suffering seriously ill health at the time, and delivered a report which is largely legal nonsense.

Here Machiavelli and Catnip and most exhaustively James Raper explained many of Marasca’s and Bruno’s absurdities.

But the Florence courts are not done yet. They are still processing cases involving Knox, Sollecito, Sfarzo (a stage name, real name Sforza) and Aviello. They still sit on this potential bombshell of a case against Sollecito lawyer Maori, which explains how the Fifth Chambers acted illegally.

Other cases are also possible, and two involving Knox are still continuing in Bergamo.

Now Rudy Guede’s team of lawyers in Rome and Viterbo prison have filed an appeal against his own conviction. It is filed with the courts in Florence.

The team notes that judgments against Guede up to and including the Supreme Court’s First Chambers concluded that he had acted against Meredith only in collusion with others and not in isolation.

This could reopen the Marasca/Bruno outcome which argued that he DID act alone or at least not with RS and AK though there is massive evidence to the contrary. That judgment while final in the normal course of things cannot stand under Italian law if illegalities were entered into.

With more and more documentation being read widely, the case against Knox and Sollecito acting in collusion with Guede is coming to look as strong as it did throughout their trial in 2009.

That is the quite possible Florence outcome.

It is one that Guede might accept fairly calmly, as his fury at Sollecito is quite palpable, and he wants nothing more than to nail his fellow attacker.


Thursday, March 17, 2016

The Case Of Russell Williams: What a ‘‘Set-Up’’ Police Interview Really Looks Like

Posted by Chimera

Russell Williams’s “Compressed” Interview 2 Hours 40 Minutes Long

1. Post Overview

This contrast’s Knox’s claimed trick “interrogation” and “confession” with one known to be real.

Russell Williams, unbelievably, was a Colonel in the Canadian Air Force, and the Commanding Officer at Trenton Air Force Base.

(From Wikipedia) From July 2009 to his arrest in February 2010, he commanded CFB Trenton, a hub for air transport operations in Canada and abroad and the country’s largest and busiest military airbase. Williams was also a decorated military pilot who had flown Canadian Forces VIP aircraft for dignitaries such as Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Philip, and the Governor General and Prime Minister of Canada.


2. Williams First Association With Crimes

It is early February 2010. Ontario Provincial Police are investigating 4 incidents in a region of Southern Ontario, believing they are connected.  They are, 2 unsolved sexual assaults, the sexual assault and murder a military flight commander, Marie-France Comeau, and the January 28 disappearance of a woman named Jessica Lloyd.

While Lloyd’s disappearance was still ongoing, a witness came forward and reported seeing an SUV-type vehicle nearby.  Police follow up and find tire tracks in that location.  They then go about trying to match those tracks to a particular vehicle.  Roadchecks are set up along various roads.

Williams gets caught in the checkpoint, and the police notice that the tires on his Nissan Pathfinder are identical to those tracks near Jessica Lloyd’s home.  Williams is let go, but under 24 hour surveillance at that point.

3. Narrative Of Williams Interview

It is Sunday, February 7, 2010. Williams is called into police headquarters to answer questions.  He arrives at 3pm, and stunningly, he is wearing the same boots he wore to Jessica Lloyd’s house.  Either moronic, or bold.

The interview starts off casually, though Williams is asked for evidence to prove he is not involved: DNA, fingerprints, and bootprints. 

Watch the video above, Williams is in shock when the topic of bootprints comes up.  At 6pm Det-Sergeant Smyth drops the bombshell:

(1) tire tracks near Jessica Lloyd’s home are from his vehicle;

(2) those are his bootprints behind her house;

(3) the DNA is about to be matched;

(4) the homes are being searched, and the vehicle seized.

Williams realizes at this point that he has been tricked, that it was a setup all along.

Confession “To Spare His Wife”

Williams did come clean about 5 hours into the interrogation.  The reason: to spare his wife the added trauma and humiliation of the police tearing the homes apart.

He rationalized that if he simply told the police where to find evidence, they would take it and go.  At that point, it was about all he could do.

(from Wikipedia) On October 21, 2010, Williams was sentenced to two life sentences for first-degree murder, two 10-year sentences for other sexual assaults, two 10-year sentences for forcible confinement, and 82 one-year sentences for breaking and entering, all to be served concurrently.

Civil Courts Follow-up

Williams’ wife, Mary Harriman did take control of the couple’s multiple properties in Ontario.  She sought a divorce, which has dragged on for years, and did try to get the proceedings banned from publication.

The problem, according to the victims and the families is that this transfer from him to her amounts to FRAUDULENT CONVEYANCE.

In plain English, the allegations are that Williams transferred everything to his wife in order to avoid having it seized by lawsuits.  Williams claimed he sold it (cheaply) to his wife since he was serving a life sentence and not likely to ever need it again.

Ms. Harriman is now also being forced to testify about the true nature of their marriage for civil matters.  The argument being advanced is that she either knew what was going on, and could not be that oblivious—in light of the shear volume of trophies Williams kept.

Wife of serial killer Russell Williams loses court battle

OPP detective used ‘Reid technique’ to get Russell Williams to confess

World’s Greatest Police Interrogator: Detective Jim Smyth

4. The Narrative Of Knox’s Interview

Knox showed up unexpectedly at the Questura the evening of November 5, 2007.  Sollecito had been called in—alone— to clear up inconsistencies in his stories.

Knox went anyway, and remained even when told to leave.  She was told by Inspector Ficarra that if she really wanted to help, she could put together a list of possible suspects who may have visited the house.  She agreed.

Sollecito, when shown proof in his phone records that contradicted his story, threw Knox under the bus.  He claimed that AK went out alone, he stayed inside and used the computer, and that Knox came back several hours later.  RS claims AK asked him to lie, and that he didn’t think of the inconsistencies at the time.

Knox, on the other hand, thought that RS had actually accused her of murder, not just pulled her alibi.  AK is shocked, and fakes a crying fit. 

She then responds by throwing—someone else completely—under the bus.  Not Sollecito.  Not Guede.

Of course once it turns out that PL is completely innocent, police and prosecutors don’t believe anything she says at this point.

The Knox Interrogation Hoax

#1 Overview Of The Series - The Two Version of the 5-6 Nov 2007 Events

#2 Trial Testimony From Rita Ficcara On Realities 5-6 Nov

#3 More Defense Pussyfooting Toward Rita Ficcara, Key Witness

#4 More Hard Realities From Rita Ficcara, More Nervousness From Defense

#5 Key Witness Monica Napoleoni Confirms Knox Self-Imploded 5-6 Nov

#6 Sollecito Transcript & Actions Further Damage Knox Version

#7 Full Testimony Of Witness Lorena Zugarini To Knox Conniption 5-6 Nov

#8 Testimony Of Interpreter Donnino And Central Police Officer Giobbi

#9 Officer Moscatelli’s Recap/Summary Session With Sollecito 5-6 Nov

5. Contrasts And Similarities

1-A The Williams case above is a clear instance of police luring in a suspect under the pretense of a ‘‘background interview’‘.  The Ontario Provincial Police spent days trying to put together a profile and work up a method of questioning such a suspect.  And it took Det. Sergeant Jim Smyth just 3 hours to get Williams to crack.

1-B Knox, on the other hand, showed up uninvited to the police station, most likely to keep RS on a short leash.  She not only wasn’t invited, but was told to leave.  She cracked when RS revoked her alibi.

2-A Williams says his main motivation in confessing was to spare his wife extra humiliation, and destruction to the houses.

2-B Knox, on the other hand, threw a totally innocent person, Lumumba, to the wolves.  She also has no qualms about protracting the publicity, and milking her ‘‘celebrity’‘.

3-A Williams wore the same boots to the police station

3-B Sollecito brought his knife to the police station, and had similar shoes to Guede

4-A Williams was nailed by his bootprints

4-B Knox was cast under suspicion by a shoeprint, and bare footprints nailed both AK and RS

5-A Williams wife illegally profited by taking the property in order to stave off having it seized

5-B AK and RS illegally profited by having other people (Kuhlman and Gumbel) write blood money books for them.

6. Analysis Of Williams Interview

This excellent analysis is one hour long.

 

 

Posted on 03/17/16 at 11:00 PM by ChimeraClick here & then top left for all my posts;
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Monday, January 25, 2016

Is Francesco Sollecito Forced Into Legal Aggression He Didnt Want & Which Could Rebound?

Posted by Peter Quennell




Legal Development

Francesco Sollecito is being reported as denouncing Guede and initiating actions against him - and the Republic of Italy.

What must have looked to him nicely wound up by the Fifth Chambers at the end of March last year does seem to have a pesky tendency to become unwound.

It was unwound a bit by the continuance of Sollecito’s book trial in which RS lawyer Bongiorno refused to become involved. It was unwound a bit by the charges Dr Mignini requested against the RS lawyer Maori mid-year. It was unwound a bit by the Fifth Chambers with the poisoned sting at the end of its Report.

That Motavazione as phrased could open the way to a wrongful death suit against Sollecito (and Knox) or a petition to the President. A “guilty” verdict on the numerous false claims in Sollecito’s book could open the way to civil suits.

The petition was filed today at the Court of Appeal of Florence by their lawyers Giulia Bongiorno and Luca Maori. The lawyers decided to turn to the last trial court that dealt with the process. In particular, they demanded compensation of 516,000 Euros for the detention to which Sollecito was submitted from 6 November 2007 to 4 October 2011.

The computer engineer from Puglia has always proclaimed he was not involved in the murder and was finally acquitted along with Amanda Knox.  “I can not spend my life defending myself from something I have not done ...”: Raffaele Sollecito commented on the interview… 

He was followed by his father Francesco in transmitting a statement from their home in Puglia. “Raffaele is shocked and outraged,” said Francesco Sollecito. “I am also deeply outraged. I did not even sleep last night.” The father of Raffaele - finally acquitted for a murder he always proclaimed he was outside of - criticized in particular “Guede’s attitude towards the brutally murdered girl. Guede is refuted by the procedural documents, many of which are omitted in the interview. It was denied, among other things, by Raffaele’s friends that there was a random meeting with Meredith Kercher.”

“Guede still has to explain why he was in that house and why he went to the disco after finding the body. Let us remember, Francesco Sollecito empahsized again, that he is a person definitively convicted of murder. “

No mention at all of Knox? She was the one Guede really nailed, though Raffaele was pretty firmly placed at the crime scene too.

Last year, a bombastic Raffaele Sollecito had threatened to file a suit against Italy, but his father and lawyers had wound him back. Presumably because way, way, way too much could come out. “Take care about what you wish for.” “Let sleeping dogs lie.” “Discretion is the better part of valor.” Take your choice.

But such a suit is normal and expected. It would look suspicious if it was never filed. Now the Florence prosecution may get the chance to make the case in full the Fifth Chambers never heard.

Storms In The Past

Francesco Sollecito and Raffaele Sollecito and Vanessa Sollecito are all notorious for loosing their cool.

Francesco lost it here toward Raffaele, and especially here. Vanessa lost it here and again here. Everybody lost it toward Amanda Knox. Sollecito’s own book describes that rage.

And take a look. Despite supposed “honor bound” there are dozens of examples there.

Francesco Sollecito lost it after the Hellmann acquittal when Raffaele said he and Knox were still a thing, and again when RS took off to Seattle after Knox. He lost it again when a false felony claim in Sollecito’s book was unveiled on national TV.

Bongiorno also often seems in a rage. Hmmm. A group of people in a rage, and then things go too far. Where have we heard that before?


Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Sollecito Lawyers Threaten To Sue If Guede Tells Any Lies; Dont Hold Your Breath…

Posted by Peter Quennell

Bongiorno goes overboard at end of Nencini appeal; Italy laughs


Way to ensure high ratings? Now Bongiorno threatens to sue RAI if the interview propagates any “lies”.

Sources here and here. Good luck! If she DOES sue (dont put any money on that regardless of what Guede says) the Fifth Chambers report will not be her friend and she surely knows.

She hasnt commented publicly on that report though Sollecito has been very sulky of late. She still talks as if the March verdict is the only one that stands.

At other times there have been such threats to sue. None ever happened there. Examples:

  • Bongiorno didnt sue Aviello for saying she had been offering bribes to his cellmates in exchange for their testimony to help RS despite a threat.

  • Bongiorno didnt sue Lifetime TV as threatened for the movie about Knox - the RS character barely appears, maybe that was her beef - despite a threat.

    And Mignini’s case against Maori will really put Bongiorno and Maori in a bind, if Guede doesnt do damage enough.

    Posted on 01/20/16 at 11:03 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
    Right-column links: Evidence & witnessesThe pack attackHoaxes against Italy5 No pack attack hoaxHoaxes re Guede33 Sole attacker hoax34 Bad guy hoax
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    Thursday, December 10, 2015

    Traitor? How Sollecito Extensively Smeared Italy In English But Of Course Not Italian

    Posted by The TJMK Main Posters




    1. Overview Of “Sollecito As Traitor” Series

    By way for example of his new Italian book, Sollecito is trying hard to make himself liked in Italy.

    An uphill task at best. Most Italians, who could follow the case a lot closer than most people outside Italy, know about all of this.

      (1) At his central-police-station interview 5-6 November 2007 and his first Matteini hearing two days later he dumped very heavily on Knox.

      (2) Throughout trial he gave Knox no help with her current alibi (that she was at his place all night) and again and again pulled out the rug from under her.

      (3) After the Hellmann outcome late 2011 Sollecito took off like a rabbit for the US (with his family soon in hot pursuit) and after Knox stiffed him tried very hard to get someone - anyone - to marry him so he could stay.

      (4) Before the Nencini verdict came out in early 2014, a panicked Sollecito took off to the north in a car and got cold feet (or was warned to stop) at the Austrian border and ignominiously came back.

      (5) Before the Fifth Chambers verdict came out in early 2015 a panicked Sollecito took off for Bari rather than remaining at the Supreme Court to find out what the verdict would be.

      What Italians mostly dont know is this. In late 2013 Sollecito’s first book - only in English - came out, and he was soon all over American TV once again sticking it to Knox.

      In the book his self-serving strategy was threefold: (1) Despite the title, point hard to Knox; (2) Point harder to Dr Mignini and the supposedly bungling, mean police; and (3) Point hardest to the official mechanisms, by lying on a grand scale, to make them out to be brutal and highly archaic at best.

      This series will lay out how Sollecito, lying and lying from what he thought would be a safe distance across the Atlantic, tried hard to make Italy look bad in the eyes of the world.

      A lot of posters contributed to the analysis of Sollecito’s 2012 English-language book on which much of the series will be based. Thanks especially to Sara, Kermit, Cardiol MD, and James Raper, who did the most work. 

      1. Sollecito’s First 20 False Claims

      We first posted a version of this analysis in May 2014. These twenty examples of felony claims all appear in the book’s preface which is only seven pages.

      Such claims continue throughout the book at approximately the same rate and they will be examined in future posts. 

      1. That Italian justice authorities took the easy way out

      This is the story of two ordinary people who stumbled upon an extraordinary circumstance, the brutal murder of a British student in Italy. Neither Amanda Knox nor I had anything to do with the crime, but we came perilously close to spending the rest of our lives in prison because the authorities found it easier, and more convenient, to take advantage of our youth and inexperience than to mount a proper investigation.  It’s that simple. And that absurd.

      No advantage was taken of them. The two stood out very sharply from all the others of similar age, and of similar inexperience (whatever that means). They did and said dozens of things in the early days that set them sharply apart.

      They were interrogated quite fairly, the Italian media was not especially hard, Dr Mignini never ever leaked, and they had lawyers and family handy at every turn after they were arrested. They each gave the authorities less than zero help - they tried to lead them off on wild goose chases, for example the false claim AK made against Patrick and dozens of other false claims, and apparently tried to finger yet another north African, Hicham Khiri, in a conversation they clearly knew was being recorded.

      A “proper” investigation was indeed done. Simply read through all the posts on the trial here in the first half of 2009, and the prosecutor’s excellent summations, and you will see what a smooth comprehensive job was done. And the Supreme Court concluded that THREE had to have been involved, from the recreation of the attack and all the wounds on Meredith’s body. Subsequent to Patrick, AK and RS and their lawyers never came within light-years of throwing real suspicion on anyone else.

      2. That the preventive custody was very harsh

      On November 1, 2007, Amanda and I were carefree students at the beginning of a cross-cultural love affair in a beautiful Umbrian hill town. Within days, we were thrown into solitary confinement in a filthy prison, without access to lawyers or loved ones, accused of acts so heinous and disturbing we may never be able to banish them from our thoughts, or our nightmares.

      Raffaele was sent to preventative prison on Tuesday November 6. Capanne Prison was almost brand-new then, and far from crowded. Cells contain TVs and private bathrooms.

      All questioning had been stopped early on 6 November until Sollecito could have a lawyer present. He himself wrote to his father in his “prison diary” on November 7:  “I may see you tomorrow, at least that is what I was told by Tiziano [Tiziano Tedeschi, his lawyer at the time], who I saw today and who defended me before the judge.”

      Mr Tedeschi made no complaint about any delay in the first meeting with his new client. In Italy, a judge must determine within 48 hours whether to hold or release detained suspects. Judge Matteini did so meticulously with Tedeschi present and refused Sollecito’s release.

      3. That the prosecution and Italian media demonized the pair

      In the newspapers and on the nightly news, we were turned into monsters, grotesque distortions of our true selves. It did not matter how thin the evidence was, or how quickly it became apparent that the culprit was someone else entirely. Our guilt was presumed, and everything the prosecution did and fed to the media stemmed from that false premise.

      In the real world, the prosecution fed nothing at all secretly to the media and publicly very little, none of it self-servingly biased. Italian reporting was sporadic and very mild compared to anything one can see said daily about possible perps in the US and UK newspapers and on US TV. Besides, any coverage, which was in part deliberate in the situation as dozens of students were fleeing Perugia, had no influence on anything, neither on the investigation nor the trial.

      The Italian system is set up so media can have less influence than almost any other media on any other justice system in the world. The Micheli and Massei sentencing reports show the judges were not unduly influenced even by the lawyers right in front of them, let alone by mild media reports 1 or 2 years before that.

      4. That four years were wasted showing where the prosecution went wrong.

      By the time we had dismantled the case and demonstrated its breathtaking absurdity [in the annulled Hellmann appeal] we had spent four of what should have been the best years of our lives behind bars.

      “We” meaning the defense lawyers did very little in the annulled Hellmann appeal that they hadn’t flailed uselessly against in the trial. Except of course maybe shopping for an inexperienced and pliable business judge, and for DNA consultants who they could then spoon-feed. Much of the hard evidence they simply kept well away from in the trial and annulled appeal. Such as the extensive evidence in the corridor and bathroom and Filomena’s room, which were all considered parts of the crime scene.

      On the other hand, RS’s claim could well apply to what Dr Galati and Cassation did for the Hellman sentencing report. Dismantled the appeal verdict, and demonstrated its breathtaking absurdity.

      5. That Knox was made a target because timid Italy was scared of her.

      Amanda and I certainly made our share of mistakes. At the beginning we were too trusting, spoke too frivolously and too soon, and remained oblivious to the danger we were courting even after the judicial noose began to tighten. Amanda behaved in ways that were culturally baffling to many Italians and attracted a torrent of gossip and criticism.

      An inaccurate and xenophobic remark originated by the American Nina Burleigh, who was having severe culture shock of her own and surrounded only by other foreigners with similar mindsets. What EXACTLY was so baffling about Knox to the very hip Italians? That Knox was pushy, obnoxious, humorless, rather lazy, rather grubby, and not especially funny or pretty or bright?  That she put off Patrick, Meredith, her other flatmates, the boys downstairs, the customers in the bar, and just about everybody else except for the distasteful druggie loner Sollecito?

      Read this post by the Italian-American Nicki in Milan. To quote from it “As many of us were expecting, Amanda’s testimony has backfired. She came across not as confident but arrogant, not as sweet but testy, not as true but a fake who has memorized a script, an actress who is playing a part but not well enough to fool the public….. Amanda Knox is not on trial because she is American and therefore too “emancipated”....Italians don’t much like Amanda primarily because they perceive her as a manipulative liar, who is suspected of having committed a heinous crime for which there is a whole stack of evidence.”

      6. That Knox and Meredith were really great, great friends.

      We were young and naive, unthinking and a little reckless. Of that much we were guilty.  But what we did not do—and could not have done, as the evidence clearly showed—was murder Meredith Kercher.

      Meredith was Amanda’s friend, a fellow English speaker in the house they shared with two Italian women just outside Perugia’s ancient city walls. She was twenty-one years old, intelligent, and beautiful. She and Amanda knew each other for a little over three weeks, long enough to feel their way into their new surroundings and appreciate each other’s interests and temperaments. I never heard about a single tense moment between them.

      Plenty of other people did know of tensions. Meredith’s family and friends all knew Meredith was finding the noisy dirty lazy loud unfocused Knox and her drugs and one-night-stands hard to take.  Her other flatmates found her hard to take. Her employer Patrick found her hard to take. His customers in the bar found her hard to take.  The Lifetime movie got this strident angle pretty straight.

      Remember, Meredith enrolled for a full academic load at the main university. Knox in sharp contrast took only one undemanding language course - which anyone could walk into - requiring maybe 10 hours of study a week.  They increasingly did less together. In fact after several weeks nobody was lining up to have anything to do with Amanda Knox.

      Seemingly unable to reverse herself, she was headed to being among the least popular of students in Perugia.  It should be recalled that the callous remarks by Amanda Knox about the death of her so-called friend Meredith included “Shit happens”, “She fucking bled to death”, and “‘I want to get on with the rest of my life”.

      7. That an intruder knew about the rent money and so murder ensued.

      Meredith, of course, suffered infinitely worse luck than we did: she came home, alone, on an ordinary Thursday night and had her throat slit by an intruder hoping to steal the household rent money.

      There is zero evidence that this was the case. Knox herself ended up with a similar amount of cash that she has never been able to explain. There is zero possibility that Guede would know that any money was lying around - or not lying around, as it was concealed in Meredith’s drawer.

      And take a look at the many images of the brightly lit house at night. There are several dozen other houses behind it in the dark which any smart burglar would have chosen first.  In 2008 two real break-ins occurred at the house - both were in the dark behind the house, which is by far the easiest place to break in.

      And how many burglars break into an occupied home between 8:00pm and 9:00pm at night? Approximately none. So much for the spurious lone-wolf theory, which Judge Micheli first ruled out even before trial.

      8. That the media got hysterical and portrayed heartless killers.

      But the roles could easily have been reversed. If Meredith’s Italian boyfriend had not gone away for the weekend and if Amanda had not started sleeping over at my house, she—not Meredith—might have been the one found in a pool of blood on her bedroom floor. That reality was quickly lost amid the hysteria of the media coverage. But it continued to hover over both of us—Amanda especially—as we sank into the legal quagmire and struggled in vain to overcome the public image of us as heartless killers.

      There was zero media hysteria. This silly claim was addressed above. Watch the Porta a Porta YouTubes and dozens of other Italian reports and try to find ONE that is not fair and cautious and mature.

      How precisely did the two struggle in vain to overcome their public image? By coming up repeatedly with stories which didnt even tally with others of their own, let alone with one another’s? They never between them made even one helpful statement which actually helped the police.  And even their respective parents strongly suspected or knew of their guilt and were all caught incriminatingly on tape.

      9. That Rudy Guede did it alone; ignore vast evidence that proves not.

      This should not have been a complicated case. The intruder was quickly identified as Rudy Guede, an African immigrant living in Perugia with a history of break-ins and petty crimes. His DNA was found all over Meredith’s room, and footprints made in her blood were found to match his shoes. Everything at the crime scene pointed to a lone assailant, and a single weapon. Guede repeatedly broke into houses by throwing a rock through a window, as happened here, and he had been caught by the authorities in the past with a knife similar to the one that inflicted Meredith’s fatal wounds.

      This is laughable. It has in fact been demonstrated in numerous ways that the attack involved multiple assailants and this was accepted by the Supreme Court.

      Sollecito’s own lawyers never forcefully argued this. They produced two non-credible witnesses in the appeal trial (Alessi and Aviello) to actually prove that Guede had some other accomplices or that several others did it. Also Amanda Knox if anything diverted attention AWAY from Guede as he did in turn from her. He wasn’t quickly identified precisely because Knox had rather credibly fingered Patrick.

      There is no proof Guede was an intruder. The trial court concluded Knox invited him in. Guede had zero proven history of break-ins or petty crimes or drug-dealing, and late in 2008 at his trial Judge Micheli became angry at such claims. Guede had no prior criminal record at all. He had only been back in Perugia for a few weeks, after an extended stay up north.  His DNA was not found “all over” Meredith’s room. A major surprise, in fact, was how few traces of him were found.

      The recreation of the crime scene and the autopsy both pointed AWAY FROM a lone assailant, not toward.  From Meredith’s wounds, it was quite evident that two and perhaps three knives had been used, and not a single weapon. What lone intruder carries or uses two or three knives?  And footprints in blood outside the door matched the feet of both RS and AK. This is why the Supreme Court confirmed Guede’s guilt only “in concorso” (with others).

      10. That the cops could have caught Guede fast, despite Knox’s frame

      Guede did not call the police, as Amanda and I did, or volunteer information, or agree to hours of questioning whenever asked. Rather, he fled to Germany as soon as the investigation began and stayed there until his arrest two and a half weeks later.

      Guede’s apprehension and eventual conviction on murder charges should have been the end of the story. But by the time Guede was identified, the police and the public prosecutor’s office had convinced themselves that the murder was, incredibly, the result of a sexual orgy gone wrong, in which Amanda and I had played leading roles. Their speculations ignited a media firestorm, inspiring sensationalist headlines across the world about the evil lurking behind our seemingly innocent faces.

      The authorities had no shred of evidence to substantiate this story line, only erroneous suppositions and wild imaginings. We had an alibi for the most likely time of death, and none of the initial forensic evidence tied us to the scene of the crime. Nothing in our backgrounds gave any hint of a propensity for violence or criminality. We were both accomplished, hardworking students known to our friends and families for our gentleness and even tempers.

      Four more untrue remarks. All three were convicted of a murder with a sex-crime element and nobody was wrongly “convinced”. Which alibi is Sollecito talking about now? He himself admits in chapter 1 (Love and Death) that they had no “real alibi”. They still have no alibis at all for the second half of the evening, neither of them, when Meredith’s murder indisputably occurred.

      Extensive forensic evidence within days tied them both to the scene. Not a single element of it has been discredited in the eyes of the Massei trial and Nencini appeal court. Not even one. Nothing was falsified.

      Neither of their backgrounds was squeaky clean. Both had long been into illegal drugs, the loner Sollecito had to be watched by his father and teachers, the increasingly disliked Knox had a history of doing and saying crass off-putting things. Both were lagging behind their brighter peers in their studies and Knox was taking a year off.

      11. That the prosecution fed the media a huge number of false claims.

      Yet the authorities stuck to their guns. They fed the media a steady diet of sensationalist stories of how Amanda, the promiscuous American she-devil, and I, her sex-and-drug-addled Italian helpmeet, had tried without success to drag Meredith into our depravity and punished her by plunging an outsize kitchen knife into her neck.

      Complete fiction. Again, in the real world, as the media reporters all confirm, the prosecution fed nothing at all secretly to the media, and publicly very little, none of it self-servingly biased.

      Italian reporting was sporadic and very mild compared to anything one can see daily on possible perps in the US and UK newspapers and on US TV crime shows. There is zero sign this mild coverage mattered to the courts. As the media reporters all confirm, they were fed next to nothing by the police or prosecution on the case,

      But whereas Mr Mignini famously never leaks, the defenses are widely claimed to have leaked throughout like sieves. So did Sollecito’s own family - they leaked an evidence video to Telenorba TV, for which they were considered for trial. Even we at TJMK and PMF received several offers of juicy leaks. Here is one example of where the Knox forces leaked - wrongly in fact - and then nastily slimed the prosecution and defenseless prison staff.

      12. That the authorities had lots and lots and lots of scenarios.

      It might have been funny if the consequences had not been so devastating. Listening to the tortured language of the prosecution—“one can hypothesize that . . . ,” “it is possible that . . . ,” “one can imagine that . . . ,” “this scenario is not incompatible with . . .”—it became clear that the authorities, like the media, were treating our case with the bizarre levity of an after-dinner game of Clue, or an Agatha Christie mystery. Everyone, even the judges in their black robes, had theories they were itching to air.

      Have Sollecito and Gumbel ever before been in any other court in Italy or the UK or the US?  Every judge and/or jury has to arrive at a scenario on lines not unlike this. That is the whole POINT of having courts - to weight the probabilities in what happened in the crime.  The only difference in Italy is that the judges have to think their verdict through for weeks, and then write it all out, and then see it scrutinized by a higher court. This is hardly a requirement to be sneered at.

      Gumble and Sollecito should have studied how US and UK juries arrive at their own scenarios. Very few US and UK lawyers think they do a better job. Ask those who watched the OJ Simpson and Casey Anthony trials and bitterly criticised the outcomes. And Italy has a vastly lower rate of false imprisonment than the US does.

      13. That Italy is a medieval country with a primitive justice system.

      It could have been Colonel Mustard in the drawing room with the revolver; instead it was Amanda and Raffaele in the bedroom with the kitchen knife. How was it conceivable that a democratic country known for its style and beauty and effortless charm—the Italy of the Renaissance and la dolce vita—could allow two young people to be catapulted to international notoriety and convicted of a horrific crime on the basis of nothing at all?

      This is not remotely what happened. There was very far from nothing at all. Convictions in the US and UK regularly result based on evidence 1/10 or 1/100 of that here - sometimes from one single evidence point. Any one or several of maybe 100 evidence points here could have convicted them in a US or UK court.

      Italy gives defendants every possible break, and the justice system is seriously loaded against victims and their families. Read here and here.

      14. That the prosecutors office and media were in a grim embrace.

      The answer has something to do with the grim embrace that developed between the prosecutor’s office and the sensationalist media. Like addicts constantly looking for the next fix, each fed the other’s insatiable appetite for titillation and attention. The casual cruelty of “Foxy Knoxy” and her Italian lover became too good a story line to abandon, even when it became apparent it was overheated and unsustainable. Our suffering was the price to be paid for the world’s continuing entertainment.

      WHAT grim embrace? WHAT addicts? WHAT fix? WHAT insatiable appetite? WHAT titillation and attention? This is clearly defamatory if it can’t be proven, and we can turn up no evidence that any of it is true. It has to be one of the most foolish lies in the entire book, it is so easy to disprove. These who are being accused of crimes here are career police and prosecutors secure in their jobs, and none have the slightest gain to make from false convictions.

      15. That in the justice system speculation and hearsay run rampant

      The meandering complexities of the Italian legal system, where speculation and hearsay are allowed to run rampant and time invariably slows to a maddening trickle, did little to help our cause.

      Total mischaracterization. First note that by comparison with any country in the world THERE IS NOT MUCH CRIME IN ITALY.  There is some minor corruption and still some minor mafia action, but thefts and burglaries and assaults are few and murders even fewer. The main crime if you can call it such is not lining up to pay taxes.  Italy’s murder rate is 1/6 that of the United States and its prison incarceration rate is 1/30 that of the United States, so where IS all this crime about which the claimed speculation and hearsay are running rampant?

      The legal process could have been fully over by the end of 2009 if (1) there was not the entitlement to two automatic appeals; in UK and US terms there was very little to appeal about;  and (2) the Hellmann appeal court had not been fixed to produce a corrupt outcome, as the displaced judge Sergio Matteini Chiari and Cassation and the Council of Magistrates have all made plain.

      And compared to American police and prosecutors, their Italian counterparts are famously taciturn under their unusually firm rules. There is media interest, for sure, as there should be when there are crimes, but that also is comparatively restrained. Watch the various Porta a Porta shows on YouTube and you will see how sedate crime discussion tends to be.

      The Constitution and judicial code set out to achieve the exact opposite of speculation and hearsay affecting justice, and they do so.  Creating this restraint is a primary reason for the judges’ sentencing reports and all the magistrates’ checks of investigations along the way.

      This whole series of dishonest claims about the the Italian system in the preface of the book and in a later chapter have clearly not been read through or okayed by even a single Italian lawyer.

      16. That in Italy proof beyond a reasonable doubt scarcely exists

      For reasons deeply embedded in the country’s history, the concept of proof beyond a reasonable doubt scarcely exists in Italy, and the very notion of undisputed fact is viewed with suspicion, if not outright aversion.

      So Gumbel and Sollecito are historians and legal experts now? It would be nice, wouldn’t it, if either were able to explain the remark. This may be an ignorant swipe at the Napoleonic Code on which the law of a lot of continental Europe is based. Ignored is that Italy carried out its own reforms to the Code in 1990 and more subsequently. Much of that reform, it should be pointed out, was procedural or structural rather than substantive law.

      There are two things wrong with “..the concept of reasonable doubt scarcely exists in Italy.”

      1. It is factually wrong. Italian jurists, the courts, and so on, are well acquainted with the concept as it has been a fundamental aspect of criminal proceedings in Italy as elsewhere for many decades if not centuries.

      2. It suggests that Italians are not intelligent enough to understand the concept anyway. That of course is an insult to Italians.  Actually they are no less intelligent than the rest of us elsewhere who strive to understand it.

      Until the 1990 Reforms the relationship between criminal and civil proceedings in Italy were governed by the principles of unity of jurisdiction and the prevailing status of criminal proceedings. Hence, if the facts were the same then criminal proceedings (to punish the guilty) and civil proceedings (to render liable the guilty for damages) were heard at the same time and still sometimes are, as in the Meredith Kercher case.

      What has changed (relevant to the above quote) is that civil cases can be and are more likely to be heard independently from the related criminal cases and, where not, the standard of proof in civil cases (the preponderance of evidence or, as we usually refer to it, the balance of probabilities) is to be applied to the civil case, and the civil case only, rather than be confused with or overriden by the criminal standard of proof (beyond reasonable doubt).

      Not an easy task, admittedly, to apply different standards to different tasks, based on the same facts, in the same proceedings, but Italian judges are trained to do this because that is their system. No judge would EVER confuse “beyond reasonable doubt” with “the balance of probabilities” when the issue at stake is depriving an individual of his freedom.

      17. That the Italian judiciary has vast, unfettered powers

      Few in Italian society wield as much unfettered power as the robed members of the judiciary, whose independence makes them answerable to nobody but themselves.

      Radically the opposite of the truth. The paranoid claim reads like it came from ex PM Berlusconi fearful of his own conviction or one of his parliamentary lackeys such as Girlanda.

      The checks and balances on judges in the Italian system are enormous, perhaps the toughest checks and balances in the world. Read here and here about them.

      All of the best judges in the world are independent and they all follow a demanding career path, not elected (as ex-Judge Heavey was) under zero criteria, or appointed under the political sway of politicians. We wonder if Gumbel and Sollecito have ever heard of the US Supreme Court? Do those judges answer to anybody? No? How unfettered. 

      18. That the courts are the most reviled institution in Italy.

      Many Italians retain a healthy skepticism about the reliability of their procedures and rulings. The courts—tainted by politics, clubbishness, pomposity, and excruciating delays—are the most reviled institution in the country.


      As our Sollecito Book pages make clear again and again and again, the Italian system is remarkably NOT tainted by politics, as even the most surperficial watcher of the trials of ex Prime Minister Sylvio Berlusconi would know.

      And on the issue of popularity we have previously posted this and this and also this.

      Our Italian poster Machiavelli (Yummi), who posted our deep analysis of the appeal to the Supreme Court by Dr Galati, has provided these hard facts:

      For comparison, in 2011 the percentage of Italians who declared they trust the justice system “a lot” or “enough” was 53.3%. By comparison, the percentage of Italians who declared they trust the government “a lot” or “enough”  were 14.7%, and those who trust the parliament were only 15%.

      In 2012, the percentage of Italians who trust the parliament is now only 9.5%, and those who trust the Mario Monti administration are only 21.1%.

      Over the eight years from 2004 to 2012 the percentage of Italians who trust the justice system was always bigger than those who trust parliament or government by at least ten points, and in some years we can see a spread of 20, 30, even 39 percentage points achieved by the judiciary over the parliament and government.

      However, some cases of corruption (such as our Hellmann-Zanetti case, but also several others indicated by the Rapporto Italia 2012) do hamper trust.

      The most trusted institutions in Italy above all are the Carabinieri (74% of Italians trust them) and the Polizia di Stato (71%).

      Which means the most trusted institutions are precisely those law enforcement instruments which are deployed to enforce the orders of prosecutors.

      19. That prosecutors can spin their cases into any shape they please.

      Because the Italian legal system is almost completely blind to precedent and relies on a tangle of impenetrable codes and procedures, prosecutors and judges have almost boundless freedom to spin their cases into any shape they please and create legal justifications on the fly. Often, they are more interested in constructing compelling narratives than in building up the evidence piece by piece, a task considered too prosaic and painstaking to be really interesting.

      Whoever wrote this either wasnt an Italian or a lawyer, and either way didnt have much of a clue. The entire Italian system under the post WWII constitution was designed to PREVENT what Sollecito & Gumbel claim it allows here.

      There are checks and balances and reviews every step of the way. Magistrates (initially Matteini here) determine what a prosecutor may do in developing and presenting a case. Parties may appeal to the Supreme Court AT ANY TIME as Knox’s lawyers did over her second written confession - which she herself had demanded to make in front of Dr Mignini after he finished warning her of her rights.

      Hard for Sollecito & Gumbel to believe, perhaps, but the defense is actually present in the same courtroom. They can raise points of order at any time. So can the defendants themselves, at any time, something maybe unique in the world.

      And judges actually have minds of their own. And then there are the unique written sentencing reports, and the two automatic appeals if any parties want to pursue them.

      Sollecito & Gumbel should have read the 2012 Galati appeal more closely. The Prosecution’s Appeal To The Supreme Court is available in English here.  Precedent has a section to itself - “The non-observance of the principles of law dictated by the Cassation Court in the matter of circumstantial cases (Article 606(b)) in relation to Article 192 paragraph 2 Criminal Procedure Code.”

      Well, that’s precedent, via the Court of Cassation no less! How surprising from Gumbel/Sollecito that they should make that claim about ignoring precedent when in fact there it is, going right to the heart of the flawed Hellmann/Zanetti judgement on circumstantial evidence!  What else is a Code but in effect a codification, a gathering together, a rationalisation, of best law - and precedent? 

      There is an absurd irony here, were they aware of it. Perhaps they are. Surely it is Hellmann and Zanetti who have displayed “a boundless freedom” in spinning the case “into any shape they please”, and who have “created legal justifications on the fly”?  As for prosecutors doing this, at least Dr Mignini followed the evidence, and American readers may recall the infamous Jim Garrison, the DA hero of Oliver Stone’s movie “JFK” but who in reality, unlike Dr Mignini, was a total and utter crackpot.

      And what issue exploded the Porta a Porta TV show in Italy in September 2012? It was Sollecito’s false claim that the prosecution had secretly tried to offer him a deal if he would roll over on Knox.  NOBODY including his own father and his own lawyers confirmed him. Evidence against both was overwhelming. Nobody needed such a deal, and Italian prosecutors are highly rules-bound against ever offering such deals.

      Sollecito was in effect accusing Dr Mignini of a felony with this much-repeated false claim in his book. (In her book Knox also accused Dr Mignini of a felony.)

      20. That the prosecutors and judges in Italy are far too close.

      Prosecutors and judges are not independent of each other, as they are in Britain or the United States, but belong to the same professional body of magistrates. So a certain coziness between them is inevitable, especially in smaller jurisdictions like Perugia.

      Yes, prosecutors and judges in Italy belong to the same professional body of magistrates. But then so does the defense lawyer Ms Bongiorno. The claim that there is no independence between prosecutors and judges in Italy, in fact a coziness between them, is a bit rich.

      Consider, say, the UK. It is true cases are prosecuted by the Crown Prosecution Service, a government body, but in serious cases the CPS will employ barristers from the Inns of Court. There is scarcely a judge in the UK, even up to the highest level, who was not and who is not still a member of one of the Inns of Court from whence barristers, for the prosecution or for the defence, ply their trade.

      You can’t walk past an Inn without seeing the names of judges on the roll call on the plaques outside. A judge is still a barrister, just fulfilling a different function, although, of course, now paid by the State.  The old school boy tie? Corruption? No, the fulfilling of different roles by members of the same body is called professionalism. 

      Judges and lawyers all belong to the American Bar Association in the US and attend the same conferences. No sign that this lack of “independence” ever affects trials.  This claimed excess of coziness is often ranted about online by the Knoxophile David Anderson who lives near Perugia. Nobody who pays him any attention can get where he derives this from. Maybe he heard it from Hellman?

      Perugia prosecutors and magistrates are all known to do a fine job, and the national Olympics & earthquake relief cases involving powerful Rome politicians were assigned for competent handling to where? To Perugia… Defense lawyer Ghirga and Prosecutor Mignini have the reputation of being good friends. And Mignini and Massei would both draw their salaries from the State. But so what? Do not judges and DAs in the the USA do likewise? Are Gumbel and Sollecito impugning the professionalism of the counterparts of Mignini and Massei all over the world? It sure reads like it.

       


      Wednesday, September 23, 2015

      Supreme Court Confirms All Three Were There And Lied, RS & AK Apologists Desperate To Downplay That

      Posted by Machiavelli




      1. Shocking Sentencing Report

      Despite the public relations campaign this was by any standards a very strong case.

      In contrast the language, logic and law of the Marasca/Bruno Report are about as weak as Rome lawyers have seen. The Fifth Chambers normally handles only appeals of verdicts for fraud, defamation, and other mundane non-violent personal and family injuries and they are forbidden from judging evidence. Their reports are almost invariably 1-3 pages long.

      No finding by any experienced murder judge ever stretches logic and law and evidence as much as this. This grim situation for RS and AK still remains. 

        (1) The report very firmly places all three at the scene of the crime with extensive language on a long list of proofs; but though bizarrely it separates two from the crime itself.

        (2) The final verdict is not “assoluzione” meaning acquittal or innocence but simply “proscioglimento” meaning the dropping of charges (not usually used in a court context, see the note in the final paragraphs of translation) which can be subject to appeal.

        (3) The report does nothing to help Knox and Sollecito to get beyond their calunnia, villiipendio and diffamazione trials. It makes a win against either or both Knox and Sollecito in a wrongful-death suit more or less an assured thing. And it pre-emptively dismisses the frivolous appeal by Amanda Knox to ECHR Strasbourg.

      If the appeal by Knox and Sollecito against the Nencini court findings and guilty sentences had been handled without chicanery, it is the First Chambers which deals with murder cases and which annulled most of the Hellmann appeal outcome in 2013 which would have got this appeal. Almost certainly those judges would have simply rejected the appeal, and sent Knox and Sollecito right back to jail.

      The report makes lawyers question why Knox and Sollecito were not at minimum found guilty of being accessories to murder after the fact. Even the defense teams seem to have realised the risks in the shaky judgement

      2. Passages Finding Knox And Sollecito Were There

      In chapters 4, 9 and 10 the Marasca/Bruno report makes very clear that Knox and Sollecito were both at the house on the night. They find that the proof of that stands up. Highlighted in the translation below are passages amount to the firm conclusion that Knox definitely was there, with blood on her hands, and Sollecito logically also.

      From Chapter 4

      4.3.1 As for the first question, the use of the [Guede’s] definitive verdict in the current judgement,  for any possible implication, is unexceptionable , since it abides with the provision of art. 238 bis of Penal Code [sic]. Based on such provision “(…) the verdicts [p. 26] that have become irrevocable can be accepted [acquired] by courts as pieces of evidence of facts that were ascertained within them and evaluated based on articles 187 and 192 par 3”.

      Well, so the “fact” that was ascertained within that verdict, indisputably, is Guede’s participation in the murder “concurring with other people, who remain unknown”. The invoking of the procedural norms indicated means that the usability of such fact-finding is subordinate to [depends on] the double conditions [possibility] to reconcile such fact within the scope of the “object of proof” which is relevant to the current judgement, and on the existence of further pieces of evidence to confirm its reliability.

      Such double verification, in the current case, has an abundantly positive outcome. In fact it is manifestly evident that such fact, which was ascertained elsewhere [aliunde], relates to the object of cognition of the current judgement. The [court’s] assessment of it, in accord with other trial findings which are valuable to confirm its reliability, is equally correct. We refer to the multiple elements, linked to the overall reconstruction of events, which rule out that Guede could have acted alone.

      Firstly, testifying in this direction are the two main wounds (actually three) observed on the victim’s neck, on each side, with a diversified path and features, attributable most likely (even if the data is contested by the defense) to two different cutting weapons. And also, the lack of signs of resistance by the young woman, since no traces of the assailant were found under her nails, and there is no evidence elsewhere [aliunde] of any desperate attempt to oppose the aggressor; the bruises on her upper limbs and those on mandibular area and lips (likely the result of forcible hand action of constraint meant to keep the victim’s mouth shut) found during the cadaver examination, and above all, the appalling modalities of the murder, which were not adequately pointed out in the appealed ruling.

      And in fact, the same ruling (p. 323 and 325) reports of abundant blood spatters found on the right door of the wardrobe located inside Kercher’s room, about 50 cm above the floor. Such occurrence, given the location and direction of the drops, could probably lead to the conclusion that the young woman had her throat literally “slashed” likely as she was kneeling, while her head was being forcibly held [hold] tilted towards the floor, at a close distance from the wardrobe, when she was hit by multiple stab wounds at her neck, one of which – the one inflicted on the left side of her neck – caused her death, due to asphyxia following [to] the massive bleeding, which also filled the breathing ways preventing breathing activity, a situation aggravated by the rupture of the hyoid bone – this also linkable to the blade action – with consequent dyspnoea” (p. 48).

      Such a mechanical action is hardly attributable to the conduct of one person alone.

      [Ed note: Firm settling on motive is not required in Italian law.] On the other hand such factual finding, when adequately valued, could have been not devoid of meaning as for researching the motive, given that [27] the extreme violence of the criminal action could have been seen – because of its abnormal disproportion – not compatible with any of the explanations given in the verdict, such as mere simple grudges with Ms. Knox (also denied by testimonies presented, [even] by the victim’s mother);  with sexual urges of any of the participants, or maybe even with the theory of a sex game gone wrong, of which, by the way, no mark was found on the victim’s body, besides the violation of her sexuality by a hand action of Mr. Guede, because of the DNA that could be linked to him found inside the vagina of Ms. Kercher, the consent of whom, however, during a preliminary phase of physical approach possibly consensual at the beginning, could not be ruled out. 

      Such finding is even less compatible with the theory of the intrusion of an unknown thief inside the house, if we consider that, within the course of ordinary events, while it is possible that a thief is taken by an uncontrollable sexual urge leading him to assail a young woman when he sees her,  it’s rather unlikely that after a physical and sexual aggression he would also commit a gratuitous murder, especially not with the fierce brutality of this case, rather than running away quickly instead. Unless, obviously, we think about the disturbed personality of a serial killer, but there is no trace of that in the trial findings, since there are no records that any other killings of young women with the same modus operandi were committed in Perugia at that time.

      From Chapter 9

               

      9.4.1 Given this, we now note, with respect to Amanda Knox, that her presence inside the house, the location of the murder, is a proven fact in the trial, in accord with her own admissions, also contained in the memoriale with her signature, in the part where she tells that, as she was in the kitchen, while the young English woman had retired inside the room of same Ms. Kercher together with another person for a sexual intercourse, she heard a harrowing scream from her friend, so piercing and unbearable that she let herself down squatting on the floor, covering her ears tight with her hands in order not to hear more of it.

      About this, the judgment of reliability expressed by the lower [a quo] judge [Nencini, ed.] with reference to this part of the suspect’s narrative, [and] about the plausible implication from the fact herself was the first person mentioning for the first time [46] a possible sexual motive for the murder, at the time when the detectives still did not have the results from the cadaver examination, nor the autopsy report, nor the witnesses’ information, which was collected only subsequently, about the victim’s terrible scream and about the time when it was heard (witnesses Nara Capezzali, Antonella Monacchia and others), is certainly to be subscribed to.

      We make reference in particular to those declarations that the current appellant [Knox] produced on 11. 6. 2007 (p.96) inside the State Police headquarters. On the other hand, in the slanderous declarations against Lumumba, which earned her a conviction, the status of which is now protected as final judgement [giudicato], [they] had themselves exactly that premise in the narrative, that is: the presence of the young American woman inside the house in via della Pergola, a circumstance which nobody at that time – except obviously the other people present inside the house – could have known (quote p. 96).

      According to the slanderous statements of Ms. Knox, she had returned home in the company of Lumumba, who she had met by chance in Piazza Grimana, and when Ms. Kercher arrived in the house, Knox’s companion directed sexual attentions toward the young English woman, then he went together with her in her room, from which the harrowing scream came. So, it was Lumumba who killed Meredith and she could affirm this since she was on the scene of crime herself, albeit in another room.

      Another element against her is the mixed DNA traces, her and the victim’s one, in the “small bathroom”, an eloquent proof that anyway she had come into contact with the blood of the latter, which she tried to wash away from herself (it was, it seems, diluted blood, while the biological traces belonging to her would be the consequence of epithelial rubbing).

      (Ed: This next passages on hypotheticals shows how ignorant of murder jurisprudence Marasca & Bruno were, they had never handled a murder case before.]  The fact is very suspicious, but it’s not decisive, besides the known considerations about the sure nature and attribution of the traces in question. 

      Nonetheless, even if we deem the attribution certain, the trial element would not be unequivocal, since it may show also a posthumous touching of that blood, during the probable attempt of removing the most visible traces of what had happened, maybe to help cover up for someone or to steer away suspicion from herself, but not contributing to full certainty about her direct involvement in the murderous action. Any further and more pertaining interpretation in fact would be anyway resisted by the circumstance – this is decisive indeed – that no trace linkable to her was found on the scene of crime or on the victim’s body, so it follows – if we concede everything – that her contact with the victim’s blood happened in a subsequent moment and in another room of the house.

      Another element against her is certainly constituted by the false accusations [calunnia] against Mr. Lumumba, afore-mentioned above.

      It is not understandable, in fact, what reason could have driven the young woman to produce such serious accusations. The theory that she did so in order to escape psychological pressure from detectives seems extremely fragile, given that the woman [47] could not fail to realize that such accusations directed against her boss would turn out to be false very soon, given that, as she knew very well, Mr. Lumumba had no relationship with Ms. Kercher nor with the Via della Pergola house. Furthermore, the ability to present an ironclad alibi would have allowed Lumumba to obtain release and subsequently the dropping of charges.

      However, the said calunnia is another circumstantial element against the current appellant, insofar as it can be considered a strategy in order to cover up for Mr. Guede, whom she had an interest to protect because of fear of retaliatory accusations against her. This is confirmed by the fact that Mr. Lumumba, like Mr. Guede, is a man of colour, hence the indication of the first one would be safe in the event that the latter could have been seen by someone while entering or exiting the apartment. 

      And moreover, the staging of a theft in Romanelli’s room, which she is accused of,  is also a relevant point within an incriminating picture, considering the elements of strong suspicion (location of glass shards – apparently resulting from the breaking of a glass window pane caused by the throwing of a rock from the outside – on top of, but also under clothes and furniture), a staging, which can be linked to someone who – as an author of the murder and a flatmate [titolare] with a formal [“qualified”] connection to the dwelling – had an interest to steer suspicion away from himself/herself, while a third murderer in contrast would be motivated by a very different urge after the killing, that is to leave the apartment as quickly as possible.

      But also this element is substantially ambiguous, especially if we consider the fact that when the postal police arrived – they arrived in Via della Pergola for another reason: to search for Ms. Romanelli, the owner of the telephone SIM card found inside one of the phones retrieved in via Sperandio – the current appellants themselves, Sollecito specifically, were the ones who pointed out the anomalous situation to the officers, as nothing appeared to be stolen from Ms. Romanelli’s room. 

      Elements of strong suspicion are also in the inconsistencies and lies which the suspect woman committed over the statements she released on various occasions, especially in the places where her narrative was contradicted by the telephone records showing different incoming SMS messages; by the testimonies of Antonio Curatolo about the presence of [the same] Amanda Knox in piazza Grimana in the company of Sollecito, and of Mario Quintavalle about her presence inside the supermarket the morning of the day after the murder, maybe to buy detergents.

      Despite this, the features of intrinsic inconsistency and poor reliability of the witnesses, which were objected to many times during the trial, do not allow to attribute unconditional trust to their versions, in order to prove with reassuring certainty the failure, and so the falsehood, of the alibi presented by the suspect woman, who claimed to have been at her boyfriend’s home since the late afternoon of November 1st until the morning of the following day. Mr. Curatolo (an enigmatic character: a clochard, drug addicted and dealer) [48] besides the fact that his declarations were late and the fact that he was not foreign to judiciary showing-off in judicial cases with a strong media impact, he was also contradicted about his reference to young people waiting for public buses to leave in the direction of disco clubs in the area, since it was asserted that the night of the murder the bus service was not operational; and also the reference to masks and jokes, which he says he witnessed that evening, would lead to believe that it was on Halloween night, on October 31., and not on Nov. 1. instead.

      The latter point apparently balances – still within a context of uncertainty and ambiguousness – the witness’ reference to (regarding the context where he reportedly noticed the two suspects together) the day before the one when he noticed (at an afternoon hour) an unusual movement of Police and Carabinieri, and in particular people wearing white suites and head covers (as if they were extra-terrestrials) entering the house in Via della Pergola (obviously on November 2., after the discovery of the body).

      Mr. Quintavalle – apart from the lateness of his statements, initially reticent and generic – did not offer any contribute of certainty, not even about the goods bought by the young woman noticed on the morning subsequent to the murder, when he opened his store, while his recognizing Knox in the courtroom is not relevant, since her image had appeared on all newspapers and tv news.

      Regarding the biological traces, signed with letters A and I (the latter analysed by the RIS) sampled from the knife seized in Sollecito’s house and yielding Knox’s genetic profile, they constitute a neutral element, given that the same suspect lived together with Mr. Sollecito in the same home in via Garibaldi, although she alternated with the via della Pergola home, and – as for what was said – the same instrument did not have blood traces from Ms. Kercher, a negative circumstance that contrasted the accusation hypotheses that it was the murder weapon.

      On that point, it must be pointed out that – again following a disputable strategic choice by the scientific police genetic experts – it was decided that the investigation aimed at identifying the genetic profile should be privileged, rather than finding its biological nature, given that the quantity of the samples did not allow a double test: the quality test would in fact would have “used up” the sample or made it unusable for further tests. A very disputable option, since the detecting of blood traces, referable to Ms. Kercher, would have provided the trial with a datum of a formidable probative relevance, incontrovertibly certifying the use of the weapon for the committing of the crime.

      The verified presence of the same weapon inside Sollecito’s house, where Ms. Knox was living together with him, would have allowed then any possible deduction in this respect. Instead, the verified identification of the traces with genetic profiles of Ms. Knox resolves itself in a not unequivocal and rather indifferent datum, given that the young American woman was living together with Mr. Sollecito, sharing time between his dwelling and [49] the Via della Pergola one. Not only that, but even if it was possible to attribute with certainty trace B to the genetic profile of Ms. Kercher, the trial datum would have been not decisive (since it’s not a blood trace), given the promiscuity or commonality of inter-personal relations typical of out-of-town students, which make it plausible that a kitchen knife or any other tool could be transported from one house to the other and thus, the seized knife could have been brought by Ms. Knox in Via della Pergola for domestic use, in occasion of convivial meetings or other events, and therefore be used by Ms. Kercher.

      What is certain is, that on the knife no blood traces were found, a lack which cannot be referred to an accurate cleaning. As was accurately pointed out by the defence attorneys, the knife had traces of starch, a sign of ordinary home use and of a washing anything but accurate. Not only, but starch is, notoriously, a substance with remarkable absorbing property, thus it is very likely that in the event of a stabbing, blood elements would be retained by it.

      It is completely implausible the accusative assumption on the point, that the young woman would be used to carrying the bulky item with her for a self-defence purpose, using – it is said – the large bag she had for that purpose.  It wouldn’t be actually understandable why the woman, if warned by her boyfriend to pay attention during her night time movements, was not in possession of one of the small pocket knives surely owned by Sollecito, who apparently had the hobby of that kind of weapon and was a collector of a number of them.

      Finally, the matching with the current appellant woman of the footprints found in the place location of the murder is far from being certain.             

      9.4.2 Also the evidential picture about Mr. Sollecito, emerging from the impugned verdict, appears marked by intrinsic and irreducible contradictions. His presence on the murder scene, and specifically inside the room where the murder was committed, is linked to only the biological trace found on the bra fastener hook (item 165/b), the attribution of which, however, cannot have any certainty, since such trace is insusceptible of a second amplification, given its scarce amount, for that it is – as we said – an element lacking of circumstantial evidentiary value.

      There remains anyway the strong suspicion that he was actually in the Via della Pergola house the night of the murder, in a moment that, however, it was impossible to determine. On the other hand, since the presence of Ms. Knox inside the house is sure, it is hardly credible that he was not with her. 

      And even following one of the versions released by the woman, that is the one in accord to which, returning home in the morning of November 2. after a night spent at her boyfriend’s place, she reports of having immediately noticed that something strange had happened (open door, blood traces everywhere); or even the other one, that she reports in her memorial, in accord to which she was present in the house at the time of the murder, but in a different room, not the one in which the violent aggression on Ms. Kercher was being committed, it is very strange that she did not call her boyfriend, since there is no record about a phone call from her, based on the phone records within the file. Even more if we consider that having being in Italy for a short time, she would be presumably uninformed about what to do in such emergency cases, therefore the first and maybe only person whom she could ask for help would have been her boyfriend himself, who lived only a few hundred meters away from her house. Not doing this signifies Sollecito was with her, unaffected, obviously, the procedural relevance of his mere presence in that house, in the absence of certain proof of his causal contribution to the murderous action. 

      The defensive argument extending the computer interaction up to the visualization of a cartoon, downloaded from the internet, in a time that they claim compatible with the time of death of Ms. Kercher, is certainly not sufficient to dispel such strong suspicions. In fact, even following the reconstruction claimed by the defence and even if we assume as certain that the interaction was by Mr. Sollecito himself and that he watched the whole clip, still the time of ending of his computer activity wouldn’t be incompatible with his subsequent presence in Ms. Kercher’s house, given the short distance between the two houses, walkable in about ten [sic] minutes.

      An element of strong suspicion, also, derives from his confirmation, during spontaneous declarations, the alibi presented by Ms. Knox about the presence of both inside the house of the current appellant the night of the murder,  a theory that is denied by the statements of Curatolo, who declared of having witnessed the two together from 21:30 until 24:00 in piazza Grimana; and by Quintavalle on the presence of a young woman, later identified as Ms. Knox, when he opened his store in the morning of November 2. But as it was previously noted, such witness statements appeared to have strong margins of ambiguity and approximation, so that could not reasonably constitute the foundation of any certainty, besides the problematic judgement of reliability expressed by the lower [a quo] judge.

      An umpteenth element of suspicion is the basic failure of the alibi linked to other, claimed human interactions in the computer of his belongings, albeit if we can’t talk about false alibi, since it’s more appropriate to speak about unsuccessful alibi. 

      Finally, no certainty could be reached [was acquired] about the attribution to Mr. Sollecito of the footprints found in the via della Pergola house, about which the technical reports carried out have not gone beyond a judgement of “probable identity”, and not of certainty (p. 260/1).

      9.4.3. It is simply the case to observe, that the declaration of the lacking of a probative framework, coherent and sufficient to support the accusatory hypothesis regarding the more serious case of the homicide, reverberates on the residual, accessory charges referred in point d) (theft of the phones) and e) (simulation of crime).

      From Chapter 10

      10. The intrinsic contradiction of probative elements emerging from the text of the appealed sentence, undermines in nuce the connecting tissue of the same sentence, causing the annulment of it.

      And in fact, when facing a picture marked by such contradiction, the appeal judge was not supposed to issue a conviction but rather – as we observed above – they were compelled to issue a ruling of acquittal with reference to art. 530 paragraph 2 of penal procedure code. 

      At this point the last question remains, about the annulment formula – that is, whether it should be annulled with remand or without remand. The solving of such question is obviously related to the objective possibility of further tests, which could resolve the aspects of uncertainty, maybe through new technical investigations. 

      The answer is certainly negative, because the biological traces on the items relevant to the investigation are of scarce entity, as such they can’t undergo amplification, and thus they won’t render answers of absolute reliability, neither in terms of identity nor in terms of compatibility.

      The computers belonging to Amanda Knox and to Ms. Kercher, which maybe could have provided information useful to the investigation, were, incredibly, burned by hazardous operations by investigators, which caused electric shock following a probable error of power source; and they can’t render any further information anymore, since it’s an irreversible damage. [Ed: unproven how damage occurred, all records were recovered.]

      The set of court testimonies is exhaustive, given the accuracy and completeness of the evidentiary trial phase, which had re-openings both times in the instances of appeal [rinvio; sic].

      Mr. Guede, who was sure a co-participant to the murder, has always refused to cooperate, and for the already stated reasons he can’t be compelled to testify.

      The technical tests requested by the defence cannot grant any contribution of clarity, not only because a long time has passed, but also because they regard aspects of problematic examination (such as the possibility of selective cleaning) or of manifest irrelevance (technical analysis on Sollecito’s computer) given that is was possible, as said, for him to go to Kercher’s house whatever the length of his interaction with the computer (even if one concedes that such interaction exists), or they are manifestly unnecessary, given that some unexceptionable technical analysis carried out are exhaustive (such are for example the cadaver inspection and the following medico-legal examinations).   

      Following the considerations above, it is obvious that a remand [rinvio] would be useless, hence the declaration of annulment without remand, based on art. 620 L) of the procedure code, thus we apply an acquittal [proscioglimento *] formula [see note just below] of dropping of charges which a further judge on remand would be anyway compelled to apply, to abide to the principles of law established in this current sentence.

      [Translator’s note:  Under the Italian Procedure Code, the Italian word for “acquittal” is actually “assoluzione”; while the term “proscioglimento” instead, actually refers only to non-definitive preliminary judgements during the investigation phase, and it could be translated as “dropping of charges”. When applied to the investigation phase “proscioglimento” is normally meant as a not-binding decision, not subjected to double jeopardy, since it is not considered a judgement nor a court’s decision.]

      The annulment of the verdict of conviction of Ms. Knox as for the crime written at letter A), implies the ruling out of the aggravation of teleological nexus as for the art. 61 par. 2 Penal Code. The ruling out of such aggravating circumstance makes it necessary to re-determine the penalty, which is to be quantified in the same length established by the Court of Appeals of Perugia, about the adequacy of which large and sufficient justification was given, based on determination parameters which are to be subscribed to entirely.

      It is just worth to note that the outcome of the judgement allows to deem as absorbed, or implicitly ruled out, any other objection, deduction or request by the defences, while any other argumentative aspect among those not examined, should be deemed manifestly inadmissible since it obviously belongs to the merit.



      3. Wrong Translation Circulated By Amanda Knox

      This version was garbled apparently to try to show innocence.  (It is a crime to deliberately garble Italian legal documents.)


      Above: wrong Knox version. Correct translation again:

      4.3.1 As for the first question, the use of the [Guede’s] definitive verdict in the current judgement,  for any possible implication, is unexceptionable , since it abides with the provision of art. 238 bis of Penal Code [sic]. Based on such provision “(…) the verdicts [p. 26] that have become irrevocable can be accepted [acquired] by courts as pieces of evidence of facts that were ascertained within them and evaluated based on articles 187 and 192 par 3”.


      Above: wrong Knox version. Correct translation again:

      9.4.1 Given this, we now note, with respect to Amanda Knox, that her presence inside the house, the location of the murder, is a proven fact in the trial, in accord with her own admissions, also contained in the memoriale with her signature, in the part where she tells that, as she was in the kitchen, while the young English woman had retired inside the room of same Ms. Kercher together with another person for a sexual intercourse, she heard a harrowing scream from her friend, so piercing and unbearable that she let herself down squatting on the floor, covering her ears tight with her hands in order not to hear more of it.

      About this, the judgment of reliability expressed by the lower [a quo] judge [Nencini, ed.] with reference to this part of the suspect’s narrative, [and] about the plausible implication from the fact herself was the first person mentioning for the first time [46] a possible sexual motive for the murder, at the time when the detectives still did not have the results from the cadaver examination, nor the autopsy report, nor the witnesses’ information, which was collected only subsequently, about the victim’s terrible scream and about the time when it was heard (witnesses Nara Capezzali, Antonella Monacchia and others), is certainly to be subscribed to.


      Monday, August 10, 2015

      Problems With Fred Davies #2: His Claims On Knives, Wounds And Stains Also Highly Mislead

      Posted by James Raper



      Several of the numerous scientific witnesses; some evidence was behind closed doors

      Overview Of This Post

      Remember that Amanda Knox, a felon for life, served three years for framing Patrick for murder.

      In my previous post I dismissed the claim which the British barrister FG (Fred) Davies pervasively made in Parts 1 to 20 of his mammoth series in Criminal Law and Justice Weekly that it was actually Guede and his team who had somehow framed Knox and Sollecito for a crime he alone committed and left all of Italian law enforcement bamboozled.

      I now have Parts 21 to 26 as well, all of the series, and I wish to examine one more large area of cherrypicked facts and misinterpretations, along with Davies’s final conclusion.

      First, Fred Davies’s Final Scenario

      As anticipated,  Davies concludes that Knox and Sollecito should only have been convicted of the charge of simulating a burglary. He presents his own synopsis of what happened on the night of the murder which has both Knox and Guede present at the cottage for the murder, but not Sollecito.

      Davies says it is Guede who sexually assaults and stabs Meredith. Knox, unaware of what was going to happen is horrified and scared out of her wits, retreating to her bedroom and locking herself in.

      Davies says Guede flees, ignoring or unable to do anything about the fact there is/was a witness to his horrific crime. When it’s safe to do so Knox emerges and meets up with Sollecito.

      Davies says that Knox, fearing that if she went to the police she would only end up being accused of involvement in the murder, persuades Sollecito to be her alibi, and to stage the scene to point to a burglar, and Sollecito, being the Honour Bound sort of chap he is, agrees to go along with this. Once they both embark on this course of action there us no turning back.

      I trust that you are all duly intrigued with Davies’s scenario and panting to learn how and why he arrives at it. Unfortunately this will have to wait until another day if it is to be from me.

      He has, after all, taken 26 Chapters in half a year to get to this point and I am not yet ready to deal with them comprehensively. Others here may contribute posts and discuss implications with the Criminal Law editor.

      Fred Davies On Knife Or Knives

      Whilst I guess most comments are going to be about the above synopsis, I am going to deal with his thoughts regarding the knives, these being quite central to his synopsis.

      My argument below is supported by numerous previous posters none of whom differed markedly from Massei or Nencini. 

      Davies in contrast is sharply critical of Massei. He simply excludes the Double DNA knife (Exhibit 36) as the murder weapon.

      He is also critical….nay, I would have to say that he is outraged…. at Massei holding that Sollecito was responsible for the lesser of the two wounds, that on the right side of Meredith’s neck. He is critical of Micheli for not finding, as a matter of fact, that Guede was the one responsible for the wounds, using his own knife which has yet to be recovered.

      Without more ado I will proceed to Mr Davies’ evaluation:

      “The finding against Sollecito that it was he who inflicted two of the three wounds to Meredith Kercher using a pocket knife which was in his possession at the material time is deeply flawed, offensive and wrong in law”

      Well, I was unaware that Massei had found that Sollecito inflicted two of the three wounds. In fact I am not aware of three wounds (unless he includes what is effectively a nick) , but if there were then Massei only attempted to attribute two, the one to the right of the neck, 4 cms deep and with a width of 1.5 cms, being attributed to Sollecito’s “pocket knife“.

      It did not cause any significant structural damage, unlike the wound to the left, 8 cms deep and 8 cms wide which had penetrated both Meredith’s larynx and the cartilage of the epiglottis, and had broken the hyoid bone. 

      Is the rest “deeply flawed, offensive and wrong in law”?

      “It could not have been part of the prosecution case that Sollecito used a pocket knife to subdue and stab Meredith Kercher. If it had why was Sollecito and/or Knox not charged with carrying the said pocket knife without justified reason? To recapitulate,, the charge alleged that the killing was achieved by means of………….and deep lesions to the left anterior-lateral and right lateral regions of the neck, caused by a bladed weapon (Exhibit 36).

      The Massei Court’s finding strikes against basic principles of fairness which applies to all criminal proceedings. Put another way, a criminal court is not generally entitled to bring in a verdict which differs markedly from the basis on which the prosecution puts it’s case. This is because the defence would not be able to adequately prepare and meet such an unexpected contingency. In plain English the defence would be ambushed or taken by surprise. In this case the defence was ambushed and the defendants’ rights (Knox and Sollecito) were fundamentally infringed.”

      Oh come on! Ambushed? Really?

      OK, so the charge did indeed indicate that that both the right and left sided wounds were caused by “a bladed weapon to which Chapter B applies” (Exhibit 36) but the reality is that the defence always knew that Exhibit 36 (because of it’s dimensions and in particular it’s width 4cms from the tip) could not have been the cause of the wound to the left anterior lateral. That’s a matter of simple logic and in any event every expert and all the lawyers in the case agreed on that.

      So the way the charge was erroneously framed in fact misled no-one.

      Indeed had the defence thought so then they could have raised the matter. Mr Davies does not claim that Massei did not have the power to amend the indictment. If the court was unable to, or the defence chose not to raise it, either way thinking it was a clever appeal point, then it did not become one.

      Indeed, Mr Davies will know anyway that in English law, by virtue of The Indictments Act 1915, courts can (and frequently do) order an amendment to an indictment at any stage (which includes during a trial) provided the amendment does not result in an injustice to the accused.  This is a practical necessity as it would be an affront to the concept of justice if defendants were to be acquitted on the basis of a mere technicality.

      One might consider what amendment might have been made.

      A possibility is that reference to the right-sided wound might have been excluded. It was the left-sided wound that was fatal, after all, and caused, as the prosecution would endeavour to prove, by a weapon which, as it happened, belonged to Sollecito.

      The prosecution did, of course, maintain that it was Knox who wielded the weapon, but might, as an alternative, have also asserted that it was Sollecito. Indeed the framing of the charge leaves it an open question as to which of them did. They were charged jointly with having caused Meredith’s death.

      The evidence that it may have been either (AK or RS) is a common feature of cases to which the English legal doctrine of joint criminal enterprise applies.

      The doctrine applies particularly to a case such as this in that no matter who actually wields the weapon the other participant in the common enterprise is deemed to possess the same level of criminal liability even if he did not know that there was a knife or that it would be so used. Being reckless as to that possibility is sufficient.

      It is surprising how often how little is required to establish joint enterprise. Frequently the mere fact that the participants know each other and were there, and that the situation was a combustible one of the group’s making, is enough. The doctrine has come in for a great deal of justified criticism but despite this remains firm law.

      My preference would have been to amend the indictment to refer to the right sided wound being caused by a bladed weapon, the blade being of indeterminate length but with a width of approximately 1.5 cms. It is the width of the wound that is salient because it is indicative of the width of the blade on the knife being used which, whilst also being indicative of the likely length of the blade, but without being sure, could be either a pocket knife (4 cms or more) or a flick knife (which could also be a pocket knife). 1.5 cms is about the width of the tip of one’s index finger, by the way.

      Massei, and others, always refer to this knife as a pocket knife. However henceforth I am going to write “pocket knife“ to refer to the options of a pocket knife with a blade of 4cms or more, or a flick knife.

      As to Mr Davies other point as to why Sollecito was not specifically charged with carrying a “pocket knife” without justified reason, I do not know, but since the framing of charges is a matter for the prosecution, one might as well leave the matter there.

      In any event the lack of a specific charge does not in any way preclude a court from inferring the nature of a weapon from the pathology of the wound nor from identifying the probable assailant (as distinct from having to prove beyond a reasonable doubt the culpability of a single perpetrator named in a specific charge of “carrying“).

      Guede did not ever face a specific charge of carrying a weapon but that does not prevent Mr Davis from concluding that Guede had a knife and had stabbed Meredith. It seems that Mr Davies would have been quite happy for Guede to have been so charged and convicted on Professor Vinci’s (see later) dubious testimony.

      In this last respect, however, Mr Davies could have more telling argument. Lets see.

      “To infer that Sollecito had a pocket knife at Via della Pergola 7 on the fateful evening of November 1-2, based on the character evidence of four witnesses called for the defence, was to say the least highly unusual..”

      I think the operative words here are “witnesses called for the defence”, amongst whom was Sollecito’s own father. Yes, highly unusual but then that is what happens when you do not vet your own character witnesses before cross-examination.

      Sollecito’s proclivity for carrying a knife (usually a pocket knife) at all times (and indeed he had one on him at the time of his arrest in the Police Station) is highly relevant. These witnesses referred to a knife with a blade of about 4 cms, or perhaps 6 cms.

      In addition Sollecito was something of a knife aficionado. The police found two specialist knives, a Spiderco and a 2004 model Brian Tighe. Neither of these can be connected to Meredith’s wounds but they are indicative of his affinity to weapons specifically designed to be used in a fight to maim or kill. Clearly a flick knife falls into the same category.

      As to proclivity evidence against Guede one can refer to his brief possession of a kitchen knife acquired at and belonging to the Milan nursery (which he did not break into, he had been given a key).

      There is, of course, Tramontano’s dubious claim (angrily dismissed by Micheli even though Guede was never given the chance to challenge this in court) that a black man broke into his property and, confronted by Tramontano, had pulled out a flick knife as he exited. Tramontano tried to claim the burglar was probably Guede based on a photo of him he had seen in a newspaper. If it really was Guede he was not carrying that knife with him at the Milan nursery 8 weeks later.

      “Even if Sollecito was present at the scene of the crime (as distinct from being complicit), the court could not have been sure that any “pocket knife” in his possession, which incidentally was never recovered, had inflicted all or some of the injuries, the most cogent rationale being:

      1. The prosecution could not prove the dimensions and the character of the knife were consistent with the injuries inflicted upon Meredith Kercher.

      2. The Court paid scant regard to the totality of expert opinion as to the type of bladed weapon (or weapons) which had been used to stab the victim

      3. The Court paid scant regard to the dimensions of a bloody outline of a knife found on Meredith’s pillow

      4. Consequently the Court could not have been sure that any pocket knife and, a fortiori, exhibit 36 had been used to stab Meredith that fateful night.”

      As to 1 above, we know that no suitable weapon was ever recovered but if the indictment had been amended in accordance with my preference then the prosecution would easily have proved that part of the indictment, relating as it does to the wound on the right side of the neck.

      It is a reasonable inference on the balance of probabilities that the wound was caused by a “pocket knife” and if one accepts the presence of multiple attackers (which I understand is a judicial truth in the case even following the latest acquittal of Knox and Sollecito) then, again on the balance of probabilities, and taking into account all the other circumstantial evidence in the case, I submit that it is a reasonable inference that it was Sollecito’s “pocket knife“.

      The bar of “beyond a reasonable doubt” applies to culpability re the specified charge and is not to be confused with the elements.

      As to 2, this simply is not true. I shall look at the totality of the expert opinion in a moment but suffice it to say that Massei spent a considerable amount of time in his Motivation detailing with and discussing the defence experts’ opinions.

      As to 3, (and it was not on the pillow but the bedsheet) it was Professor Vinci’s contention that the bloody outline (there was a dual outline, he said) was left by a knife with a blade 11.3 cms long or a knife with a blade 9.6 cms long with a congruent section of handle 1.7 cms long (9.6 + 1.7 = 11.3). Davies does not mention a blade width but in fact Professor Vinci actually says 1.3 to 1.4 cms wide.

      Taking these measurements as read, Davies points out that they are incompatible with either a pocket knife (such as Sollecito had a proclivity to carry) and Exhibit 36. I have no argument with that observation. It follows, he then argues, that one has to infer the presence of a third knife in any hypothesis and if a pocket knife and Exhibit 36 are already accounted for by Knox and Sollecito then a reasonable inference is that the third knife would have to be Guede’s. Indeed (Davies does not say this, but I will) Professor Vinci’s blade is not incompatible a priori with either of the two wounds.

      This is worth looking at seriously as so far it is the only worthwhile point Davies has made.

      First of all I have to say that I have searched for but have not found any rebuttal evidence or comment from the prosecution amongst the documents on the Wiki.  I do not even see a question on the matter in the cross-examination of Professor Vinci.

      Massei only briefly commented about the bloody outline on the bed sheet.  He opined that the blood stains were certainly “suggestive” but insufficient to establish any clear outlines from which reliable measurements could be established. Clearly then he did not accord any reliability to Professor Vinci’s measurements. But is Massei right? One does not have to be an expert to consider this.

      First of all, here are images of the blood stains.






      In the picture below the stained section of sheet is cut out for analysis the day after the discovery of the murder.

      Did the prosecution overlook their own analysis of the stains? Did they deliberately do so after Exhibit 36 was found, 9 days later on the 12th November, to have Meredith’s DNA on it? Or did they always know that the stains established nothing?






      The next question to be asked is whether we can see the outline of a knife, or rather a blade. I think the honest answer to that is, on balance, yes. We think we see the tip of a blade, do we not? Maybe two, maybe even three.

      It is fairly clear that Professor Vinci takes the largest of the stains to be the hilt of the handle to the knife. Lining that up with what is perhaps the likely clearest possible perceived blade tip (being the middle out of a possible three I believe I see) then the distance to the perceived hilt is indeed something like the 9.6 cms which Professor Vinci has measured.

      But there are problems. Here are two of Ergon’s photos from his posts here and here with Exhibit 36 superimposed on the stains in two different positions to reflect the supposed dual outlines.










      The blob of blood in the bottom left of the pictures and it’s lesser moon at 1, or 2, o’clock are regarded as having come from the same position on the blade and so with that reference point the blade is positioned accordingly in each photo.

      We can surely take it that Professor Vinci also sees the same duality. But if the bloody hilt is aligned to fit with “the moon” stain in order to get the 9.6 cms measurement, then what has happened to that large hilt stain when the knife is moved further to the left, and then dropped a bit, to align to the moon’s planet (the blob)?

      It has either disappeared or become an edge. That doesn’t make sense if “the moon” is the lesser version of the blob. The blob has to come from the first positioning of the knife. Despite this, in the knife’s later position the volume of blood at the hilt has actually increased comparative to the knife’s first position. That doesn’t make sense either.

      So maybe the largest stain pre-exists, even for perhaps a moment, the stains suggesting the blade outlines, but in that case we can throw Professor Vinci’s measurements out of the window.

      Can we do without the blob and it’s moon? It’s all a lot less convincing without them. But in truth we cannot even be sure that they are related. Nor that the largest stain has anything to do with the hilt of a knife.

      A further connected observation concerns Professor Vinci’s claim that the blade of the knife is 1.3/1.4 cms wide. Like the rest of his evidence I do not find this very convincing. I suspect that he has deduced this from the largest stain which has a length, he says, of 1.7 cms. It’s width could then be something like 1.3/1.4 cms.

      If the width of the knife is represented by approximately 1.4 cms then, given the position of the bloody hilt relative to the tip of it’s blade, what are we to make of the two spots of blood in a horizontal line above? They look like the upper (or lower) edge of a knife but they can’t be without making the blade wider.

      Why does it have to be the same knife anyway? The stains could be the result of two different knives collected and laid to rest in the same spot.

      The blood stains are certainly bewitching - rather like seeing patterns in tea leaves at the bottom of one’s cup - but on the balance of probabilities I would not totally rely on anyone’s perception of them even, with all due respect, Ergon’s but his analysis is as good as anyone’s, and that for me is the point of it.

      In short I think that Massei was probably right. These stains are suggestive but basically useless and the police/prosecution ignored them for that reason.

      “Consistent with English law the Massei Court’s findings should be struck down as Wednesbury unreasonable. Where there is no evidence to support a finding of a court or the court has reached a conclusion which is irrational or perverse, in the light of the evidence adduced at trial, a conviction based on that part of the evidence cannot be sustained……….The Massei Court also appears to have violated Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights (the right to a fair trial),”

      Yeah, right.  The case to which he refers, Associated Provincial Picture Houses v Wednesbury Corporation [1948] 1KB 223, is an odd and unnecessary one to pray in aid.  It was a civil case where the appellant sought judicial review in respect of a licencing decision. As a formulation of a first principle of natural justice it is, of course, unquestionable. However the claim that Massei reached a conclusion that was irrational or perverse is laughable.

      It is at this point that one does begin to wonder whether Davies is indeed connected in some way with the daffy Nigel Scott (Sollecito‘s ex Lib Dem Haringey Councillor groupie) who similarly emerges with bizarre arguments.

      Next, in his evaluation, we come to a numbers game as to who was for and against the incompatibility of Exhibit 36 with the fatal wound on the left side, but before I enter into that game I want to make a point about incompatibility.

      A knife blade is only incompatible with a wound if the depth of the wound is longer than the length of the blade or if the width of the wound is shorter than the width of the blade at the relevant depth.

      We can therefore establish that Exhibit 36 was not incompatible, a priori, with the depth of the wound.  The blade on Exhibit 36 was 17. 5 cms long and the depth of the wound was 8 cms.

      Yes, I know that other arguments as to incompatibility were advanced based, in the main, on these measurements. These Massei logically deconstructed. In fairness to Mr Davies he did not advance them in his evaluation and so neither shall I.

      I would also have to concede that Sollecito’s “pocket knife” is not incompatible a priori with the wound on the left side nor, even if it‘s length of blade was over 4 cms, with the wound on the right. Nor Professor Vinci’s knife either.

      The same is true of the width of these knives.

      It should however be recalled that the width of the right-sided wound was also 8 cms. That is over 5 times the width of the “pocket knife”. The width of the blade on Exhibit 36 - 8 cms from it’s tip - was twice the width of the blade on the “pocket knife”.

      This fact, and the robustness of the larger weapon, particularly with regard to the observed butchering at the base of the right-sided cut, makes Exhibit 36 a far more likely candidate, in my submission, than a “pocket knife“, and that’s without taking into account Meredith’s DNA on the blade.

      Returning to our numbers game, Mr Davies puts it slightly differently from Massei. He says -

      “And if that were not enough, of the 8 experts who gave evidence on the point, two (Dr Liviero and Professor Bacci) opined that Exhibit 36 could have caused the fatal wound to Meredith’s left side. Professor Norelli could not rule out Exhibit 36. Professor Ronchi’s opinion is not clear due to the use of the “double negative” (non-incompatibility)  - it will be assumed that he supported the prosecution contention, but in any event al the remaining four experts, Professors Introna, Torre, Cingolani and Dr Patumi) opined that Exhibit 36 could be ruled out.”

      In other words a draw but one of the prosecution experts is a bit “iffy”.

      Massei tells us that Dr Liviero concluded “definite compatibility“, Dr Lalli and Professors Bacci and Norelli “compatibility” whilst “non- incompatibility” came from the 3 GIP experts nominated at a preliminary hearing. The latter were Professors Aprile, Cingolani and Ronchi.

      “Non-incompatibility” is not hard to understand. It simply means not incompatible or rather, compatible.

      Note that Mr Davies has Professor Cingolani lining up to exclude Exhibit 36. Massei disagrees and I agree with Massei. So, for what it is worth (and this is a bit childish I know) Mr Davies loses the game 7 - 3.

      “And one final thought. If the defendants (Knox and Sollecito) were sufficiently compos mentis to dispose of the pocket knife …. Why did they not dispose of Exhibit 36?  By a process of deduction and logical synthesis the answer is plain for all to see: Exhibit 36 never left Corso Garibaldi and was not the murder weapon ”

      Because it was on his landlord’s inventory of kitchen items? Indeed we don’t know for sure that the “pocket knife “was actually disposed of. All we know is that it was not identified and recovered by the police.

      And In Conclusion

      This is the second of my posts involving Mr Davies. I may not be disposed to do any more. I have to say that although he certainly provided some food for thought on this one, I have not been impressed with his analysis in the topics I have covered so far.

      Others here have been tabulating other factual errors and forced arguments and as I mentioned at the start we may see them carry this a bit further.


      Thursday, July 30, 2015

      Problems With Fred Davies #1: Did Guede’s Separate Trial REALLY Impact Negatively On RS And AK?

      Posted by James Raper




      1. Summary Of The Complaints

      I want to write about the separate trials of Guede on the one hand and Knox and Sollecito on the other.

      This feature has often been criticized by the apologists for Knox and Sollecito, and I was surprised to learn just recently that their gripe seems to have some support in learned establishments in the UK! Ahem.

      The gripe concerns the Fast Track trial of Rudy Guede, and the consequent Supreme Court confirmation of his conviction, with the apologists arguing that these had an adverse and unfair effect upon the proceedings in which Knox and Sollecito were involved. It is based on the simple fact that Guede chose to be tried separately, this being seen as an unfair complication for the administration of justice in the Italian justice system.

      There are a number of complaints that the usual apologists have regarding the separate trial of Guede. Most of these are in fact fantasies as I will address.

      These complaints, or constant refrains, which some apologists fondly thought could form the basis of a complaint to the European Court of Human Rights in due course, can be summarised as follows -

        1.  That the proceedings concerning Guede established various tenets the most important one of which was the multiple attacker scenario, and that this unfairly affected Knox and Sollecito bearing in mind that their defence was based on the Lone-Wolf scenario.

        2.  That the evidence in the Guede proceedings could never be effectively challenged by the Knox and Sollecito camps.

        3.  That, in consequence of which, Knox and Sollecito had virtually already been convicted by the judiciary by the time of their own trial.

        4.  That Guede was allowed to give evidence against Knox and Sollecito at both his own trial and at the Hellmann appeal hearing without effective cross-examination. Had this been the case the defence would likely have exposed and demonstrated his sole responsibility for the murder of Meredith Kercher. Indeed had he been tried together with Knox and Sollecito this could well have happened at the Massei trial.

        5.  That Hellmann was right to give no probity value to the content of Guede’s sentencing and the subsequent annulment unfairly allowed material that was prejudicial for the aforesaid reasons into the Nencini Appeal.

        6.  That Guede was induced into electing for a separate trial with the promise of a reduced sentence should he be convicted - this being to prosecution’s advantage re the case against Knox and Sollecito.


      2. How Overall The Complaints Are Wrong

      I think that we know what fast-track is by now, so I will not dwell on that. Guede’s trial was over relatively quickly. It lasted a month and likely consisted of about 3-4 hearings. There were just a few witnesses called.

      The judge, Micheli, in addition, dwelt on all the evidence in the investigative file including witness statements and forensics. This was because Guede was charged with murder “in complicity with others” and because Micheli also had to make the decision whether or not to commit Knox and Sollecito to stand trial as the other accomplices.

      Before I address whether or not there could be any justification at all for the apologists’ above complaints I would like to mention that learned quarter to which I referred at the outset.

      I recently stumbled (with the help of the apologists’ website) across the Criminal Law and Justice Weekly website.

      I was surprised to learn that various articles had been appearing on it under the heading of “The Brutal Killing of Meredith Kercher - A critical examination of the trials and subsequent appeal hearings of Rudy Hermann Guede, Amanda Marie Knox and Raffaele Sollecito.”

      Lexis Nexis ( publishers and distributors of legal material to the legal profession in the UK)  describe Criminal Law and Justice as….”the leading weekly resource for criminal law practitioners and all those working within the courts and criminal justice areas.”

      The articles are by an F. G Davies, described as a Barrister and listed in Anthony and Berryman’s Magistrates Court Guide as a Deputy Justices Clerk, North Cambridgeshire, in England. He is also a contributor and specialist editor to Justices of the Peace Law Reports.




      Online image associated with an annual legal-fees guide which FG Davies edits


      Here are two quotes I picked out relevant to this post about separate trials.

      “This supports the writer’s contention made earlier that the holding of separate trials for co-accused was wrong in principle and law because the prosecution were alleging that at all three defendants committed the crime acting in concert”

      And:

      “It provided Guede with a golden opportunity to minimize his part in the attack upon and murder of Meredith Kercher, loading the blame on to Knox and Sollecito who, by this time were suspected to be chief architects of the attack.”

      It is of course perfectly true that in the anglo-saxon world Guede would not have had the choice to elect for trial separately from his co-accused. It might have made for a very interesting trial for everyone concerned if he had stood trial together with Knox and Sollecito, but for reasons I will explain later I doubt it, or that Knox and Sollecito would have gained any advantage from it.

      Indeed separate trials had rendered a very specific advantage to the Knox and Sollecito camps in that Guede had already been convicted when Knox and Sollecito stood trial, a fact that their PR campaign and followers have drilled home at every conceivable opportunity.

      But what on earth does it mean to say that “the holding of a separate trial [for Guede] was wrong in principle and law”?  .

      Whose law? Whose principles? Just how deeply does the Deputy Justices Clerk delve into the respective systems of justice (and particularly the Italian one) for a comparative evaluation?

      Certainly on the basis of a quick read of his articles I would say that he hasn’t delved very far at all. In fact I will go further and say that despite that he is capable of a detailed review of various aspects of the case he pretty much shares the same hostility and concerns based upon parochialism and ignorance to be found on the usual apologists’ websites.

      So I will try to put him and the apologists right on how the Italians cope, as a matter of law, with any evidential difficulties that separate trials can throw up.

      However, let’s start first with the assertion that the fast-track trial “provided Guede with a golden opportunity to minimize his part in the attack upon and murder of Meredith Kercher, loading the blame on to Knox and Sollecito”? Is that true?

      Guede admitted that he was present at the scene of the murder and he has always minimized his part in the attack, in fact denying that he had any part. This is all to be found in his statements pre trial. He would have minimized his part even if he had been tried with his co-accused and had given evidence. Given that he was not believed anyway, it is difficult to detect wherein lies the golden opportunity of a fast track trial.

      It is also difficult to envisage what cross examination formula (and the point of it) would have been available to the Knox and Sollecito defence teams as to Guede’s minimal role or otherwise given that Knox and Sollecito maintain that they were not there and thus are hardly in a position to dispute Guede‘s version.

      Did Guede load the blame onto Knox and Sollecito?  The answer to that is that he did directly implicate Knox but not Sollecito. Again this is all to be found in his pre-trial statements and interviews with the police and investigating magistrates. Whilst on the toilet he had heard the doorbell ring, Meredith call out “Who is it?“ and later say “We need to talk” followed by another woman’s voice, which he thought was Amanda, replying “What’s happening?“ He had also claimed to have seen, through Filomena’s bedroom window, a female figure with flowing hair and had recognised the shape as being that of Amanda Knox.

      It might be useful at this point just to pause and remember when Guede could have been cross-examined on this by the Knox and Sollecito defence teams.

      Guede was called to give evidence during the Massei trial but declined to give evidence. Not surprising given that he was appealing his own conviction at the time. This was heard two weeks after the conclusion of the Massei trial.

      He then appeared at the Hellmann trial by which time he already had a definitive conviction. On this occasion he did respond to questioning and I shall look at this a little later.

      3. The Specific Mistakes In Each Complaint

      Let us return now to the apologists standard refrains as I listed them at the beginning.

      1.  That the proceedings concerning Guede established various tenets the most important one of which was the multiple attacker scenario, and that this unfairly affected Knox and Sollecito bearing in mind that their defence was based on the Lone-Wolf scenario.

      One might also add the staged break in and some others as well which were all considered by Micheli and endorsed by Massei.

      However as at the conclusion of the Massei trial Guede’s first appeal was still extant and the Supreme Court’s definitive reflections on the multiple attacker scenario were still a year off. Nothing had been written in stone at that point. If the multiple attacker scenario became a tenet of the case then it would be more accurate to say that it became so because of Massei joining up with Micheli.

      But let’s also take in the second refrain to consider alongside the first at this point.

      2.  That the evidence in the Guede proceedings could never be effectively challenged by the Knox and Sollecito camps.

      This really is pretty rich. So what? Knox and Sollecito were not on trial there. And what to make of the Massei trial which of course is when Knox and Sollecito then wheeled out their big guns; the expensive lawyers and experts in telecommunications, forensic pathology, forensic DNA, ballistics and footprint analysis?

      The Massei trial may have taken its time but it was nevertheless (unlike Guede’s trial) a full blooded adversarial trial of first instance, lasting a year, with the prosecution producing each and every one of it’s witnesses for rigorous cross-examination by the defence.

      It was Massei that confirmed the multiple attacker scenario on the basis solely of that evidence and with scarce a mention of Guede’s sentencing report. It is lame to argue that Massei was in any way constrained by Micheli’s reasoning on the matter though his judgement was indeed available.

      However Massei did make the following observation -

      “……the reconstruction of the facts leads to the unavoidable conclusion that he (Guede) was one of the main protagonists (writer’s note: no concession to Guede’s chances on appeal, then?); thus it is not possible to avoid speaking of Guede in relation to the hypothesised criminal facts. The defence of the accused in particular have requested the examination of texts concerning only Rudy, and have demanded the results, specifically concerning Guede of the investigative activities carried out by the police in particular. In fact they have expressly indicated Guede as being the author, and the sole author, of the criminal acts perpetrated on the person of Meredith Kercher.”

      So here we see the defence making the running on Guede (without Guede being present as a co-accused to dispute anything) to include any and all evidence as to his alleged criminal background with the precise purpose of bolstering the Lone Wolf scenario, all of which was duly evaluated by Massei.

      [One might think, in addition to the above, that Guede would have had cause to complain about the indictments for Knox and Sollecito, in that both were indicted, and subsequently convicted, with the crime of murder “in complicity with Rudy Hermann Guede”, although he still had two appeals left and theoretically (though not realistically) it was still possible for him to be acquitted of the crime. However the drawing up of indictments in separate trials, and how the judiciary would deal with an outcome such as above (which I don’t think would be difficult) would be a topic for another discussion.]

      3.  That, in consequence of which, Knox and Sollecito had virtually already been convicted by the judiciary by the time of their own trial.

      This is so lame by any objective standard, but it is amazing just how often this particular drum is beaten. However our Deputy Justices Clerk would probably subscribe to this. He develops an argument akin to this which he terms the Forbidden Reasoning (echoes of Preston’s “The Forbidden Killer”?) which is basically that Micheli made a number of errors which were then compounded in subsequent hearings.

      4.  That Guede was allowed to give evidence against Knox and Sollecito at both his own trial and at the Hellmann appeal hearing without effective cross-examination. Had this been the case the defence would likely have exposed and demonstrated his sole responsibility for the murder of Meredith Kercher. Indeed had he been tried together with Knox and Sollecito this could well have happened at the Massei trial.

      The evidence that implicated Knox I have already mentioned. It is not entirely decisive in that it is not a solid ID of Knox at the crime scene. At the Hellmann appeal Guede added this in an exchange with Knox‘s lawyer -

      DEFENSE ATTORNEY DALLA VEDOVA—And therefore, Mr. Guede, when you wrote verbatim that it was a “horrible murder of Meredith a lovely wonderful young woman, by Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox” what do you mean exactly? Have you ever said this?
      WITNESS—Well, I… this, I’ve never said it explicitly, in this way, but I’ve always thought it.
      DEFENSE ATTORNEY DALLA VEDOVA—And so, it’s not true.
      WITNESS—No, it’s very true………………………………..............  So if I wrote those words it’s because I’ve always had them inside of me. It’s not up to me to decide who it was who killed Meredith, in the statement that I made in my trial, I always said who was there in that home that damned night, so, I think I’m not saying anything new……

      In another exchange, this time with Bongiorno, Guede makes it clear that he is not planning to answer any further questions about what happened that night but this is because he has already stated (statements and recorded interviews etc), and stands by, all that he has to say about it.  Thus all that is taken into evidence perfectly properly. The matter is then left to rest by the defence.

      Indeed it is difficult to conceive what further effective cross-examination could have occurred in this situation because clearly Guede would have responded with exactly the same answer each time.

      The above exchanges also show just why it is unlikely that there would have been any fireworks had Guede been tried with his co-accused.

      Guede would not have been obliged to give oral testimony any more than were Knox and Sollecito and in the event that he had done so (and I think it would have been in his interests to do so) his evidence would not only have been the same but it would have been subject to the same limitations, which would have been zealously protected by his lawyers, that had protected Knox when she gave oral evidence.

      On due consideration it might have been a somewhat tetchy affair for the lawyers but it would not have been in the interests of any of the respective teams of lawyers for there to have been any surprises such as Guede moving from beyond what he had already said in pre-trial statements to a solid ID of Knox from the witness box. That wouldn’t have particularly helped Guede as it would have affected his credibility even further. They all had prepared positions to protect and Guede’s presence would be neither that much of an added threat nor an advantage for Knox and Sollecito.

      5.  That Hellmann was right to give no probity value to the content of Guede’s sentencing and the subsequent annulment unfairly allowed material that was prejudicial for the aforesaid reasons into the Nencini Appeal.

      Now we are into the law, Italian law that is, and how it coped with separate trials of co-accused.

      By this time Guede’s conviction, remember, had been ruled as definitive by the Supreme Court.

      This is what Hellmann said about that -

      “……. in truth, this judgement, acquired pursuant to article 238 and so utilisable under the probative framework only as one of it’s evaluative elements pursuant to article 192.…………….. already appears in itself a particularly weak element, from the moment that this judgement related to Rudy Guede had been carried out under the fast track procedure.”

      It will be useful to consider some of Prosecutor-General Galati’s observations in the prosecution’s appeal submission and we can do this because the Supreme Court agreed with him.

      This is what the Supreme Court said -

      “The submission on the violation of article 238 …….is correct. Even though (Hellmann) obtained the final judgement pronounced by this court against Rudy Guede, after properly considering that the judgement was not binding, it has completely “snubbed” the content of the same, also neutralizing it’s undeniable value as circumstantial evidence on the presupposition that it’s profile was particularly weak, since the judgement was based at the state of proceedings without the enrichment acquired as a result of the renewal of the investigations hearing arranged on appeal, In reality, the court was not authorised at all, for this reason alone, to ignore the content of the definitive judgement.”

      The enrichment referred to would of course have been the Independent Expert’s evidence (subsequently debunked by Nencini) and the Supreme Court also added that in any event article 238 was not impaired at all by the fact that the first instance trial was fast track.

      At the end of the day this was just poor argument by Hellmann but it was symptomatic of the many flaws that underlay much if not all of his reasoning for acquittal.

      More importantly for me and in addition to the foregoing the Supreme Court delivered a withering criticism of Hellmann’s understanding of circumstantial evidence and how to evaluate and treat it in its broad spectrum.

      However, how can and what elements contained in the separate trial of one co-accused have any probative weight in the trial of the others?

      Prosecutor-General Galati puts it like this. The Supreme Court’s rulings -

      “have now settled definitively regarding the interpretation according to which finalised judgements can be acquired by the proceedings, as provided for by the indicated law, but they do not constitute full proof of the facts ascertained by them, but necessitate corroborations not differing from the declarations of the co-accused in the same proceedings or in a connected proceeding………………………………......
      Naturally this confirmation is not directly used for the purpose of proof but as corroboration of other circumstantial pieces of evidence or of evidence already acquired, not very different from what happens when declarations of collaborators with justice corroborate each other.”

      In the event the only material from Guede that really seems to me to have hitherto been extraneous to the first instance trial of Knox and Sollecito was the inclusion at the Nencini appeal of Guede’s partial ID of Knox at the scene and his evidence as to Meredith’s missing money, which were corroborative of elements of evidence that had appeared at the Massei trial; in the case of the missing money for instance, the missing credit cards and Filomena’s testimony that at a meeting shortly before both the murder and the day the rent was due Meredith had told her that she had the cash to hand and was prepared to hand it over there and then.

      No such money was found at the crime scene. One suspects that these two elements would have been more prominent at the Massei trial, and have been motivated more attentively, had the three been tried together. In the event Guede’s partial ID of Knox was not even mentioned by Massei and Knox and Sollecito, in the absence of any evaluation of Guede’s evidence, were acquitted (not even motivated at all in fact) of the charge of theft in relation to the money and the credit cards.

      Given the foregoing I would argue that Knox and Sollecito derived an advantage rather than a disadvantage from the separate trials.

      Furthermore I would argue that the material from Guede’s separate proceedings was not particularly damaging given the overall context of the evidence already directly available from the trial of Knox and Sollecito (which received some but in truth did not require much corroborative confirmation from Guede’s separate trial) and which in itself was sufficient to found a verdict of “beyond reasonable doubt”, but it did supply some useful insight into a motive when of course Hellmann had found none and Massei had supplied a rather improbable one.

      6.  That Guede was induced into electing for a separate trial with the promise of a reduced sentence should he be convicted - this being to prosecution’s advantage re the case against Knox and Sollecito.

      Needless to say this is what you get from desperate and deluded minds. Guede’s lawyer has explained why his client took his advice and the decision was perfectly rational and in Guede’s interests. Guede was entitled to a third off his sentence from choosing fast track though I am no fan of that. Furthermore I have explained why no particular advantage accrued to the prosecution from this choice other than that it probably foreshortened the time that a full trial of the three would have taken.


      Saturday, July 25, 2015

      Why The Count Of Discredited Prosecution Witnesses Even Now Remains Down Around Zero

      Posted by James Raper



      As with all images on TJMK this image above will expand if clicked on


      Just sifting through the latest drivel on Injustice in Perugia today and I came across this statement from one of their main posters.

      “It was physically impossible for Capezalli to have heard any sounds from Meredith’s residence”.

      Note : not that she was mistaken or that her evidence was unreliable but the bald statement that it was physically impossible for her to have heard anything.

      Was she profoundly deaf then? If not, then why this assertion? Without some basis for this assertion then it is simply a dismissive slur on the credibility of the witness.

      This happens to be the same poster who wowed that board with his claim that the Prosecution suppressed exculpatory evidence that would have cleared Knox and Sollecito.

      Not that he supplied any proof. How could he?

      It is axiomatic, of course, that if there was suppressed evidence then what it was would not be known. Nevertheless it was a ready springboard for calls from mindless idiots to have the Prosecution fully investigated and charged with perverting the course of justice!

      Anyway, to move on, the purpose of this post is just to revisit (with pictorial assistance) Capezalli’s testimony (I shall call her Nara from now on) and see if there is even a scintilla of justification for the claim.

      Now to be fair, Nara did say in her evidence that she had double glazing and maybe that is what he is referring to although for the life of me I don’t see why that would make it impossible for her to hear a scream outside.

      But it’s worth investigating because it’s the sort of thing that does get repeated without further analysis and I have read others taking that remark at face value and doubting whether she did hear a scream and, perhaps more credibly, whether she would have heard the sound of someone running on the gravel of the cottage forecourt and up the metal steps from the car park.

      Here is what she said -

      “What happens is that getting up I’m going past the window of the dining room, because the bathroom is on that side, and as I am there I heard a scream, but a scream that wasn’t a normal scream. [A terrifying and agonising long scream as she describes it elsewhere] I got goose bumps to be truthful. At that moment I no longer knew what was happening, and then I went on to the bathroom. There is a little window with no shutters, none at all.”

      Mignini then asks -

      Q—Well, you go by the window and you hear this cry?
      Ans – Yes.
      Q – Then you continue to go towards the bathroom, you told me?
      Ans – Yes.
      Q – Do you open the bathroom window?
      Ans – No.
      Q – Explain what happened for us.
      Ans – I haven’t any shutters on that window, I only have double-glazing so I can look straight out
      Q – So you looked out of the bathroom window?
      Ans– I didn’t open up because I had all the little succulent plants there for the light.

      A little late in her testimony Mignini seeks to clarify her evidence -

      Q– So you hear the scream, go to the bathroom, look out the window and you don’t see anything?
      Ans – No.
      Q – Then you go back to the bedroom?
      Ans – Yes.
      Q – When is it that you hear the noises you described, and then we will see what they are?
      Ans – I hear the noises I described when I was closing the bathroom door, then I heard running, because that steel there [the metal stairs] makes a tremendous noise at night, then when you don’t hear cars going by or such like, I looked out but there was nobody there.
      Q – From which way?
      Ans – To the left and the right, and there was nobody there.
      Q – Then you heard the scuffling?
      Ans – The same, in the meantime I heard running on the stairs, from the other direction they were running in the driveway.

      Much later Nara is helpfully (perhaps) cross examined by Dalla Vedova on her remark that she has double glazing, as follows -

      CDV - How are your windows made?
      Ans -  My windows are made of wood. They have double glazing and they have a shutter.
      CDV - When you say “they have double glazing” do you mean that every single window has two panes, or are there two windows, one in front of the other?
      Ans -  No, two panes in each side and opening in the middle.

      Confused? What is she really describing?

      Many moons ago Kermit put together a very helpful Powerpoint lambasting the behaviour and claims of Paul Ciolino, the American PI who appeared on CBS rubbishing the suggestion that Nara would have been able to hear anything. It is obviously Ciolino’s disreputable work that is the basis for the claim.

      I am going to lift some stills from Kermit’s excellent Powerpoint and add to them some more from a (somewhat infamous) Channel 5 documentary, from which it will be clear that

      (a) Nara doesn’t have double glazing, nor shutters, at least not at the back of her property overlooking the cottage. However there are shutters at the front and, for all I know, double glazing there but that is not of concern to us.

      (b)  There is little reason to doubt that she would have been able to hear sounds outside quite well.

      Let’s start.

      Here’s a picture of the back of Nara’s property immediately above the car park.






      Here it is again in relation to the cottage






      In the first picture Nara’s first floor flat is shown circled. In the second, it is obvious that only the roof of the cottage would be visible from the first floor, as indeed she said in her testimony.

      There are two further floors above. The top floor is the one to which Ciolino (and Pater Van Sant) gained access, having tried but failed to interest Nara. Nara in her evidence said that there was an apartment above which she rented out and I suspect that this was the top floor. The top floor undoubtedly had double glazing or double casements.

      Below is one of the top floor windows. (We can see Ciolino’s reflection in the glass)






      And here he is, standing in front of the same window whilst conducting his experiment with a couple of kids running along the road outside -






      As we shall see it really was quite pointless conducting off-the-cuff sound experiments from there with the double casement shut tight

      Nara said that her daughter also lived in the building so either the second floor was a separate conversion for her daughter or first and second were shared and the second was where their bedrooms were. That’s actually immaterial as it is the first floor that really interests us.

      Here is a close up of the first floor. We can be sure because we can see Nara and the co-presenters of the Channel 5 documentary standing on the balcony.






      We can see how large the windows are on either side of the balcony. As to the window on the right it is also apparent that this has been blocked up save as to four panes in the middle so that now there is only that smaller window there.

      Let us now look at that window from the inside.






      “One went up, one went over there” is Nara explaining to the Italian TV reporter the sounds she heard.

      Clearly then she is standing inside her bathroom and the bathroom window looks over the car park. Indeed we can see her succulent plants on the inside window ledge as she stated in her evidence. Also, if we look closely, we can see that her wall is tiled or wall-papered with a tile design befitting a bathroom. Probably that wall is also made of little more than plasterboard.

      One thing is quite certain though and that is that the window, which opens in the middle, is not double glazed.

      Nara’s understanding however seems to be rather different. To her “double glazing” is (as she said to Dalla Vedova) “two panes in each side and opening in the middle”.

      We can also infer that the large window to the left of the balcony belongs to her dining room. What she said, in effect, was that she was traversing the first floor (from left to right) from her dining room to her bathroom (being both on the same side, as she says). She heard the scream in her dining room.

      The window there does not appear to be blocked off as it is to the right. Indeed I think we can see full length drapes or net curtains but certainly one would expect a larger window there and again, clearly, it is not double glazed.

      So again, why would it be physically impossible for her to have heard a sound, particularly a scream, coming from the cottage?

      It couldn’t be because it was too far away. We can see that from the pictures but also here is a handy GoogleMap calculation of the distance from her place to the far side of the cottage.






      So that’s, say, 45 metres. Or 49 yards. Not far at all. Thanks to Yummi for bringing that up on pmf.org.

      We should also remember that it was the 1st November which is a religious holiday in Italy in remembrance of the dead and therefore background noise was quieter than usual. It was also probably sometime around 11pm and the back of Nara’s property looks out on what is a natural amphitheatre in which noise will echo.

      Nara Capezalli in fact came across as a compelling witness to what she heard that night and there is no way at all that it was physically impossible for her not to have heard that scream. Nor the metal stairs (“..makes a tremendous noise at night”….) just off to the right of her property and immediately below it.

      On a personal note I was recently driven nuts by a manhole cover that had come loose in the road outside my bedroom window. Cars constantly drove over it and the noise kept me awake. The top floor of the car park would probably also act like a sounding board and the noise made by the stairs may also have come up through the stairwell we see immediately in front of her property. I am not so sure about the sound of gravel on the cottage forecourt being crunched underneath but already I am more than prepared to believe Nara on that score as well. Why not?

      Finally, as we await the Cassation Motivation (whenever!) I seem to remember that at least one appeal point was the failure of the lower courts to accede to a defence request for audio tests to be conducted from Nara’s property.

      Bearing in mind that Judge Marasca reportedly has stated that the ground for overturning the Nencini convictions was insufficient and contradictory evidence one wonders whether Cassation will say that a test was required, in the absence of which Nara’s testimony can be thrown into a pot along with other evidence somehow deemed “insufficient”?

      If they do then watch out for them getting the double glazing issue quite wrong as well.


      Wednesday, June 17, 2015

      Major Additions To Meredith Kercher Case Wiki To Provide Complete Impartial Overview in English

      Posted by azoza



      Image is of the very beautiful Perugia at night

      Origin and mission

      The impartial Murder of Meredith Kercher Wiki began in 2013.

      The seed was people discussing how to overcome the flawed Wikipedia article of the case. That article relied on sources like Candace Dempsey, Nina Burleigh and American media. In other words, biased or incomplete sources.

      In May 2013, Edward McCall set up the website, with the help of volunteer editors from the Perugia Murder File community. Its mission statement was:

      Were Amanda Knox, Raffaele Sollecito, and Rudy Guede responsible for the death of Meredith Kercher? This wiki style site was created by a group of volunteer editors to inform the public about the case, by providing translations of original documents and evidence presented at trial.

      This continues to be the aim of the Wiki: to make available documents and translate them properly. Our interest is not selectively posting documents, like the Knox campaign has done. We want to make all the facts available, without bias or selecting. We believe all the facts support the notion that all three defendants are responsible for Meredith Kercher’s murder.

      Purpose of this post

      The purpose of the article here is to let people know of recent changes to the website.

      The Wiki is revised when new documents and translations continue to be received. Existing webpages are tweaked when time allows. Webpages are sometimes changed so information can be better presented. Or the website structure is changed when a significant page is introduced.

      For example, a new page listing a lot of evidence was added in November 2014. This page can be directly accessed from the main page. That evidence list page has links to other sections of the website, like ‘wikified’ testimony, for easier reference. More links will be added and more evidence noted as more documents become available.

      Major redesigns

      The website had two major redesigns earlier this year. The main page was redesigned to provide clearer ‘at a glance’ updates. We did this primarily to keep everyone up-to-date with the March 2015 Cassazione decision. The boxes on the main page also note updates to other parts of the website. Also, we added buttons so any webpage on the site can be shared on various social media.

      The other major redesign has been the addition of the ‘file library’.

      Completing the picture

      For those long familiar with the case, source material had been seriously lacking. There have been large gaps. The Knox campaign has posted some documents, but their ‘collection’ has always been incomplete. As examples:

      1) The crime scene photos start at ‘dsc016’. What about photos 1 through 15?
      2) No photos of Sollecito’s place, Guede’s place, via Sperandio or elsewhere
      3) They posted many Massei transcripts, but not all. They never posted the 2nd day of Knox’s testimony, or the days when the Kercher family and consultants testified.
      4) Some Massei transcripts they posted had pages missing.
      5) They have posted many defense consultant reports, but few prosecution consultant reports.
      6) They only posted a few Hellmann transcripts, but not all.
      7) They only posted one Micheli transcript, but not the others.
      8) Hardly any depositions.
      9) A lot of police reports are still missing.

      In the past six months, we have been trying to correct this. We have set up a file library, which will be the repository of as many case-related files as can be gotten. Files will ultimately include documents, photos, videos and audio- whatever is part of the public record of this tragic case. The files are made available as links for downloading. Eventually many will also be ‘wikified’ so anyone can do a word search through the documents. And when time allows, key documents will be translated.

      There are thousands of files related to this case - too many to put on one page. A single file page would take forever to scroll and would be terribly confusing. So the library is structured into subsections. The basic idea is ‘nested boxes’. Once you select a section, you ‘drill down’ through pages to get to document links. Then you click ‘back up’ to the higher levels so you can move to other sections.

      Some pages have a mixture of links to documents and links to subpages. These will eventually be simplified for clarity.

      Not all file library pages have been created. More pages will be required as more files come in. Once the document files (PDFs) portion is nearly complete, pages will be reviewed and the library layout will be tweaked. At that point, when we’re comfortable with all the pages and their names, links will be added to allow browsing across sections or in sequential order. This hasn’t been done yet to avoid redoing a lot of work later.

      A directory tree is a strong possibility too.

      The seven sections

      The library has over 900 PDFs and photos scattered across 7 major sections.

      The 1st section

      This section Context and people is empty for now. It will have photos of Perugia, the cottage, nearby locales and pictures of the people involved in the case. We are sifting through photos and erasing duplicates. Once that’s done, this section will quickly fill out.

      The 2nd section

      This section 2007 Investigations has files related to police investigations in 2007, the arrest and crime scene photos and videos. As mentioned, not all crime scene photos and videos have been made public. We hope to gather as complete a collection as possible. Of course, anything showing Meredith Kercher’s body will be censored, in line with the wishes of the Kercher family, and to maintain dignity. In the past 1.5 months, we’ve gotten over 80 depositions of witnesses and other documents related to early investigations. Things like preliminary police reports and police correspondence. Here you can also find phone and prison taps.

      The 3rd section

      This section Arrest trials has filed related to the cautionary arrest trials. This includes the Matteini court, the Ricciarelli court and the 2008 Cassazione court, presided by judges Gemelli & Gironi. Files include court hearing transcripts, motivation reports and other files pertinent to these hearings. This is missing quite a bit still, but we hope to correct that.

      The 4th section

      This section 2008 Investigations has files related to police investigations in 2008. While the murder was discovered on Nov 2, 2007, and arrests were made that month, the actual police investigation continued until the following year, finishing in June 2008. Files here include additional phone and prison taps, police reports from Rome and Perugia, additional depositions and other related documents.

      The 5th section

      This section Statements and writings contains writings and depositions of the three defendants. GKS = “Guede Knox Sollecito”.

      The 6th section

      This section Trials and Appeals and Reports is the largest section. We may revise or split this section further. Currently it contains all documents related to the main trials. All three defendants took part in the first main trial, the 2008 Micheli court. Micheli indicted Guede and found enough evidence against Knox and Sollecito. After the Micheli court, Guede’s trial path separated from the other two because he chose a fast-track option. So there are 3 subsections: Micheli, Guede trials and Knox + Sollecito trials. The Knox + Sollecito trials page has further subpages for the Massei court, the Hellmann appeals court, the Nencini appeals court. In this section, one can find court transcripts and reports, correspondence or depositions introduced during court proceedings. So a lot of files.

      The 7th section

      This section is extra material.This will contain documents, photos and videos indirectly related to the case. Things like interviews, documents on forensics, lab manuals, crime scene analyses, documentaries, related trials like the police calumnia trials, etc.

      A few quick notes:

      1. There are many versions of the Massei motivations report on the Internet. Most are missing two pages. Another version comes in four parts. We edited ours so this is a complete version with the ‘famous’ missing pages.

      2. Similarly with the Borsini-Belardi motivation report. Many versions out there, most of them improperly OCR’ed, with sections missing. Our version is a scan version, not the OCRed one.

      3. As noted before, recent additions include a lot of depositions of witnesses taken in the first week of police investigation. You can find these in the “2007 police work” page.

      4. Police summaries of the crime scene surveys, and fingerprint reports, are at the bottom of that same page.

      5. There’s a PDF containing a ‘5 volume’ police photo report. This PDF has photos of Via Sperandio currently not in the crime scene photos. But certainly those photos are part of the same Nov. 2007 crime scene photo survey. Anyway, you can find it in the Crime Scene page at the bottom. It’s called Photo-photographic-file-censored. We edited out pictures of the body, to preserve dignity of the victim.

      6. Towards the bottom of the “2008 investigations” page, we recently added two police charts, and the first “shoeprint report” by Rinaldi & Boemia, which has more data on shoeprints. Their second report concentrated on the footprints.

      7. We have the Cassazione March 2015 dispositivo. We will be posting that along with other documents shortly.

      In conclusion

      The file library is an ongoing thing. We hope to make real progress here, so everyone can look at all the facts of the case, not just a few picks. A bright light is needed on as much material as is possible to offer, in honor of Meredith Kercher, the victim.

      When we post a new file batch, we add an update note on the Wiki home page.

      The Meredith Kercher Wiki is committed to being the essential record of all publicly available documents and testimonies about the case, to benefit the general public and the media. Please circulate this widely, and check in regularly. There are more changes to come.

      ADDED 12 JULY

      On 2007 Investigations: Police work page
      2007-11-03-Log-cellphone-KercherM-English.pdf
      2007-11-03-Log-cellphone-Sollecito.pdf
      2007-11-07-Log-landphone-Sollecito.pdf
      2007-11-27-Police-deposition-Capezzali.pdf

      On 2007 Investigations: Arrests page
      2007-11-07-Prosecutor-notice-Request-to-validate-Arrest-Knox-Lumumba-Sollecito.pdf

      On Arrest trials page
      2008-01-21-Testimony-Bernaschi-Sollecito.pdf
      2008-05-15-Motivazioni-Matteini-reconfirming-cautionary-arrest-Knox.pdf

      On Arrest trials: KSL: Matteini trial page
      2007-11-08-Testimony-Matteini-Knox.pdf

      On Arrest trials: KS: Ricciarelli trial page
      2007-11-30-Motivazioni-Ricciarelli-Arresto-Appello-Knox-Sollecito.pdf (forever missing Ricciarelli report)

      On 2008 Investigations page
      2008-11-08-Deposition-Monacchia.pdf

      On Trials: Micheli court page
      2008-09-16-Testimony-Summary-and-Rulings-Micheli.pdf (first Micheli hearing)
      2008-10-27-Report-Fioravanti-Vodaphone.pdf

      On Trials: KS: Massei and Cristiani trial page
      2009-11-20-Closing-arguments-Mignini.pdf (forever missing)
      2009-11-21-Closing-arguments-Comodi-Knox.pdf (forever missing- Comodi describes 3D reconstruction)

      On Trials: KS: Hellmann and Zanetti trial page
      2010-12-11-Testimony-Lawyers-Knox-Parisi-Maori-Ghirga-Vedova.pdf (missing Hellmann hearings)
      2010-12-18-Testimony-Costagliola-Comodi-Perna.pdf
      2011-01-22-Testimony-Lawyers.pdf
      2011-03-12-Testimony-Mandarino-Pucciarini-Ciasullo-Bevilacqua-IniG-IniR.pdf
      2011-03-26-Testimony-Brughini-Curatolo-Lucarelli.pdf
      2011-05-21-Testimony-Napoleoni-Conti-Vecchiotti-Knox.pdf
      2010-12-11-Court-doc-Zanetti-case-review.pdf

      On Trials: KS: Nencini and Cicerchia trial page
      2014-01-20-Testimony-Maori-Crini-Pacelli-Fabiani-Perna-Maresca-Donati-Colotti.pdf (missing Nencini hearing)

      On Trials: Knox and Sollecito trials page
      2015-03-30-Sentenza-Cassazione-Dispositivo-Knox-Sollecito.pdf (sentence, not motivations report)


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