Fifth Appeal Hearing: Testimony On Club Closings And Buses Leaves Credibility Of Eyewitness Intact

Posted by Peter Quennell


The shot above from the front of the School for Foreigners is of Piazza Grimana.

Click for a larger image. You can see the square with the benches at extreme left and right, and at rear the basketball court where Rudy Guede played. At the back there at the far right are the stone stairs down which Knox and Sollecito may have entered the park.

The many traversing buses mostly stop right in front here and they would block most of that view.

It is hard for us to see the defense witness testimony from six witnesses - one nightclub owner apparently refused to show - that several clubs were closed and several buses not running as any big deal.

In this post below we mentioned that Judge Micheli at Rudy Guede’s trial in October 2008 had accepted the testimony of Mr Curatolo because he said it was the night before the police descended on Meredith’s house and the square.

Judge Masse’s court also used this as a pointer to Mr Curatolo’s credibility and the Supreme Court of Cassation in denying Guede’s ten appeal grounds also endorsed the testimony as good. 

Here now is a repeat of our report on Mr Curatolo’s day in court by our man in the court at the time, StewartHome2000,  almost precisely two years ago (29 March 2009).

He is a fixture in Perugia. He is a vagrant that spends most of his time hanging around Corso Garibaldi (the street where Sollecito lived) and Piazza Grimana (the piazza in front of the School for Foreigners within eyeshot of the gate of Meredith’s house on Via della Pergola).

The crowd murmured as he was helped in by court assistants, uncleaned and dressed in an old jacket and winter knit hat. His skin was dark against his long un-groomed white hair, beard and mustache. But once he opened his mouth, you knew that this guy was no slouch. He spoke clearly, concisely and directly, and was very certain of what he saw.

His testimony never swayed and was consistent even under cross examination. In short, his appearance was one thing, his articulate convincing testimony was another.

He stated that he has been a regular hobo (for lack of a better term) around that part of Perugia for about 8-9 years. He testified that he was in Piazza Grimani around 9:30-10:00pm when he saw across the piazza two people, a man and a woman. He described them as a couple from the way they were sitting next to one another.

He was asked to describe them and he turned and looked at Amanda, just a few feet away, and said calmly, “it was her”, and then looked at Sollecito and said “and him.” He stated that having been in that area he had seen them before separately, but this was the first time he saw them together. But he was certain it was them.

He said also that, although he did not watch them all the time, he did see them again “poco prima di mezzanotte” or “just before midnight” at the same place. He originally said that they were there from 9:30 through midnight, but clarified that they were there at 9:30-10:00pm and may have left around 11-11:30 and then returned to be there just before midnight.

After midnight, he left the piazza to go to the park and sleep.

The next day, he arrived at his faithful piazza around 12:00pm, and eventually, around 1:30 or so, he saw the carabinieri pass by, and the police and crime scene staff, and stated that he watched them at the scene, including the CSI people dressed in the full-white suits.

Under cross-examination, Sollecito’s lawyer Ms Buongiorno may have thought she had an easy target. But in fact he held up extremely well. She asked, “how could you possibly know it was 9:30?” and he responded “Because the sign next to the piazza has a digital clock. I look at it often to check the time”.

He stated that “when I sat on the bench to read I looked at my watch and it was just before 9:30pm….and I saw them shortly afterwards.” He said he knows what he saw, and he saw those two! No more questions.

Buses and nightclubs were not even mentioned in this comprehensive report. They were not even brought up by the defenses to rebut Mr Curatolo’s timeline two years ago.

The defenses again seem to be clutching at straws.




Comments

By Storm Roberts (Innai)

As The Machine’s comment on the previous post says: this is something the investigation would have checked, and clearly some clubs etc were open (as highlit by daisysteiner).

Mr. Curatolo appears, from all reports I have read, to have struck people with his simple honesty and clarity.

Page 70 of the Massei Report (pg 79 of the translation - available via the link at the top of this page):

“...he lives in the street in the area around Piazza Grimana and Corso Garibaldi: a way of life different from the usual one but not for this his testimony may be considered unreliable as this way of living one’s life does not affect one’s ability to perceive events and be able to report them.”

I have seen many people try to discredit Mr. Curatolo because of his way of life - but the Court treats him as an equal to everyone else, because he is.

The Massei Report continues saying that because Mr. Curatolo frequents the area in question he is fully qualified to report on the things he has seen in this area he knows so very well.

That the Court is testing his evidence is right.  That is what the Court is there for - to examine the evidence from all angles and to fit all the pieces of evidence together.  As far as I understand Mr. Curatolo’s evidence stands up.

Posted by Nolongeramember on 03/13/11 at 02:18 PM | #

3/13/11

Maresca remains convinced of Toto’s reliability as a witness. So was Micheli.

It stands to reason that Toto would somewhat order his days by doing some people watching, reading, checking the clock or his watch, knowing when to amble about looking for food or finding stuff. He would be observing minutely because this was his life. After 8-9 years living in the square he would be finely tuned to its normal routines. He would be inquisitive of all the goings on around his turf, especially anything strange or exciting, since anything unusual might impact him directly. This was his own back yard so to speak.

StewartHome2000 did a good service with his court report in detail. Many thanks. Toto points to Amanda and Raffaele and identifies them: “It was her…and him.”

The night of Meredith’s death, Toto saw them sitting together as a couple for the first time,  although before he had seen them separately. Now they have linked up. Toto is watching the development of a relationship. He notices the human condition; at heart he may be a romantic. Perhaps as a solitary man, he was even a bit envious of their love.

He had no idea how important his sighting of the young “lovers” would turn out to be.

He could soon read about them in the local papers on his bench, about a murder that took place so near where he sat by people he had observed.

Posted by Hopeful on 03/13/11 at 02:37 PM | #

Hopeful,

Precisely. For the very reasons you give he would be more observant than anyone else.

It will be interesting to know, as details of yesterday’s hearing emerge, just who the defence witnesses are and how they match up with bus services and the seven nightclubs the Machine lists as being open that night according to the police.

No sign yet that the prosecution are calling witnesses in rebuttal and may be because they are not bothered by these defence witnesses.

Usual gushing nonsense from Madison in Nick Pisa’s report but the Telegraph and Independent have form for this sort of sloppy reporting and comment.

Posted by James Raper on 03/13/11 at 03:26 PM | #

By Storm Roberts (Innai)

I am sure that I have read that Mr. Curatolo was called by the Prosecution and I think his testimony is the rebuttal.

Can anyone confirm?

Posted by Nolongeramember on 03/13/11 at 03:38 PM | #

Innai,

Yes that’s what I also read. I meant any witnesses to rebut the impression that no nightclubs were open and no buses running.

I’ve not seen any reports that Curatolo testified again yesterday. I think he’s for another day, if indeed he’s called, and perhaps the same for any rebuttal witnesses.

Still nothing from the DNA review people as regards court approval for breaking open the knife.

Posted by James Raper on 03/13/11 at 03:56 PM | #


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