Sollecito Compensation Decision Overdue Since Last Friday; Fifth Chambers Ruling May Be His Problem
Posted by KrissyG
Sollecito, represented by his attorneys throughout the process, Avvocato Giulia Bongiorno and Luca Maori, is currently claiming compensation for ‘wrongful imprisonment’.
This claim now before a Florence court is in respect of the four years he served of a sentence of 25 years handed down for the Aggravated Murder of Meredith Kercher, 1 Nov 2007.
The conviction was controversially overturned by the final Italian Supreme Court in March 2015, and its Motivational Report published – some three months late – in September 2015.
It was only then Sollecito was able to commence compensation proceedings, as the Italian Penal Code provides for this, given its long-winded legal process whereby defendants accused of serious crimes (i.e., one with a sentence of over three years custody) can be held on remand whilst awaiting trial. In theory, this should only be for up to one year.
The Florence panel of three women judges indicated over a week ago that their decision could be expected by last Friday. Why the further delay? Well, a major reason could be that, far from finding Sollecito “innocent”, the Marasca-Bruno Supreme Court ruling in fact did him few favors and the judges may be having a hard time grappling with that.
They will also know of Dr Mignini’s explosive contention that two articles of the judicial code were flouted and the case should have been referred back down to the appeal court (the same Florence court!) if there were evidence problems.
Issues with Marasca/Bruno ruling
The Marasca/Bruno verdict is considered controversial because Sollecito and his co-defendant, Amanda Knox had been found guilty at the first instance trial court (merits), which was upheld on appeal.
It is unusual for the Supreme Court to have not remitted the case back to the Appeal (second instance) court as the Penal Code – as is standard in the UK and the USA – does not allow the Supreme Court to assess facts found at trial.
The correct procedure is to send the disputed evidence back to the court which in the opinion of the Supreme court erred. Marasca did not rule a Section 530,1 ‘Not Guilty’ acquittal, but a Section 530, 2 ‘Not Guilty’ ‘insufficient evidence’, which some say is similar to Scottish Law, ‘Not Proven’. However, the wording used, proscioglimento indicates a pre-trial ‘charges dropped’, rather than ‘acquittal’ (assoluzione).
Sollecito and Knox made several applications against being held in custody whilst awaiting trial and were turned down at every stage, including appeals and an application for ‘house arrest’ in lieu.
The prosecution opposed the application on the grounds of the seriousness of the crime, and in Knox’ case, the standard ground that she might flee the country, as a foreigner to Italy. In addition, the prosecution had used special preventative powers to isolate the defendants (Knox, Sollecito and Guede) to prevent tampering with witnesses, a power which had been added to the Penal Code to assist in the fight against mafia gangs who did intimidate witnesses, often through their lawyers.
Therefore the law allowed the prosecutors to deny the defendants an attorney until just before their remand hearings.
However, the award of compensation for having (a) been held in remand, and (b) serving a sentence until such time the conviction was overturned, is not automatic. The applicant has to show that they are factually ‘not guilty’, i.e., cannot possibly have committed the crime, perhaps because the ‘real perpetrator’ has come to light, or ‘new evidence’ presented.
Neither of these scenarios apply in Sollecito’s case. Whilst a defendant is allowed to ‘lie’ and indeed, does not need to swear an oath in testifying, this only holds true if they are guilty. Marasca did not find Sollecito or Knox, ‘Not Gulty’ as per Article 530,1, the common or garden ‘Not Guilty’ verdict.
Further, Sollecito refused to testify at his own trial, and made various misrepresentations and lies to the police. He argues in current tv and radio show rounds – for example, in the recent Victoria Derbyshire BBC morning show – that as he was a ‘collector of knives’ and had always carried a knife around since age thirteen, ‘To carve on tables and trees’, he explains, and thus argues, the police should not have viewed this with suspicion when he attended the questura carrying one in the days after the murder.
Sollecito’s other difficulty is that Marasca, whilst criticising the investigation as ‘flawed’, and this being the main reason for acquittal, it nonetheless cuts Sollecito little slack.
How Marasca-Bruno Cut Sollecito Little Slack
From the Marasca Supreme Court Motivational Report, Sept 2015 (boldface added):
It remains anyway strong the suspicion that he [Sollecito] 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.
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.
Sollecito in his police interview of the 5 Nov 2007, shortly after which he was arrested, withdrew his alibi from Amanda Knox. During the Nencini appeal phase, he and his advocate, Bongiorno, called a press conference to underline that Sollecito ‘could not vouch for Knox’ whereabouts between 8:45 pm and 1:00 am on the night of the murder. Sollecito has never once retracted this withdrawal of an alibi for Amanda.
Further, Judges Marasca and Bruno state:
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.
Sollecito had claimed he was surfing the internet until 3:00 am in one statement and claimed to have watched Naruto cartoon until 9:45 pm on the murder night. It winds up:
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).
Leading to the verdict:
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] 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: The Italian word for “acquittal” is actually “assoluzione”; while the term “proscioglimento” instead, in the Italian Procedure Code, actually refers only to non-definitive preliminary judgments during investigation phase, and it could be translated as “dropping of charges”. Note: as for investigation phase “proscioglimento” is normally meant as a non-binding decision, not subjected to double jeopardy, since it is not considered a judgment nor a court’s decision.] http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/The_Marasca-Bruno_Report_(English)
The Issues Facing the Florence Appeal Court
Sollecito has clearly passed the first hurdle of being eligible to have a hearing for compensation. His legal team have asked for the maximum €516,000. A claimant who can successfully plead ‘wrongful imprisonment’ can claim €500, per diem imprisonment, up to a cap of €516,000.
Sollecito’s legal team have referred to Marasca’s criticism of the investigation as grounds for the full compensation, claiming Sollecito’s “innocence and loss of youthful endeavours” because of the ‘flaws’. Problem is, the issue of investigative flaws was never pleaded at trial, or at least, not upheld, by either the trial or appeal court judge. Marasca never really explains in which way this was a proven fact.
The Prosecutor’s Office based at Florence is opposing the application. I would expect they will be relying on Matteini’s remand hearing and Gemmelli’s written reasons rejecting Sollecito’s appeal against being kept in custody until the hearing.
The three judges who on 27 January 2017 in a hearing listed for five days announced they would issue their verdict ‘within five days’, as of 7 Feb 2017, some seven working days later, have yet to make a decision. Alternatively, the decision has been made, but the public and press have not yet accessed it. It could be Sollecito’s legal team have yet to call a press conference, whilst they study the findings.
The Florence panel of judges will have to decide:
- 1. is Sollecito entitled to compensation?
2. if so, how much?
3. did he lie to police or mislead them?
4. if so, to what extent was he contributory to his being remanded?
5. to what extent is the ‘flawed investigation’ a factor in his ‘wrongful imprisonment’?
6. should Sollecito receive compensation for the one year remand in custody leading up to the trial?
7. should he be compensated for the three further years of a sentence served as a convicted prisoner, six months of it in solitary confinement?
8. should this be for both of the above, either of the above, or neither of them?
Watch this space for the decision! Also Sollecito has made noises that he plans further legal action against the prosecutor, based on Marasca’s criticisms in the Motivational Report. Watch for that too.
Sources: The Murder of Meredith Kercher com True Justice for Meredith Kercher
Very timely. You show nicely how greedy and how nuts Sollecito was to file this claim - amazingly filed with the FLORENCE court which was publicly flamed by his raging lawyer Bongiorno. Gee thanks Sollecito.
EITHER the 3 judges decide that one of their own courts, Necnini’s, got it seriously wrong and Marasca & Bruno claimed OR they decide that Marasca & Bruno pulled punches in face of massive evidence and let two guilty parties walk free.
Yes, there could be news of an award or no award today, or any day this week, but the panel of judges will know now that they are in a real minefield. Conceivably this could take weeks behind the scenes to find a credible outcome.
Some good chat and translations going on over at PMF dot Net.
Actually, PMF may have been hijacked by a phishing site, I’ve warned our friends there. Wait a while.
Hi everyone, PMF is down for technical reasons but hasn’t been hijacked. Working to put it back up. The links HostGator put in are dodgy though so don’t go there for a while till I give the all clear here and on Twitter.
Hi, every one, sorry for the alarm. While the site was down HostGator put up a temporary placeholder which contained some dodgy links. No, it never was ‘hacked. It’s back up now.
@KrissyG, this is a beautiful explanation of Sollecito’s case for compensation, with all its weaknesses and strengths. Sollecito was found not guilty by insufficient evidence, hardly a ringing endorsement of his innocence.
As fragile as Raf was when he was arrested, his six months in solitary were a mercy to him, and as you say, prevented him from communicating to obstruct the investigation or cook up stories with his allies or send out threats or promises.
Guess we’ll just have to hold on a bit longer to find out what the 3 Florence judges think about paying off the rascal who dug in his heels against the truth and tried to smokebomb the investigation, but now wants their money. What gall, what cheek, truly a brass mule is Raffaele. Let’s hope the judges think he was treated better than he deserved and tell him to go jump.
Looking into my crystal ball:
I wouldn’t be surprised if we hear nothing more for months, as the entire embarrassing attempt at smash and grab is quietly brushed under the carpet and ‘buried’ in the backpages as soon as a big piece of news detracts our attention away from it.
Sollecito will appeal to the Supreme Court and the popcorn industry enjoys a boost in sales.
Sollecito flying into England to herald his latest expedition into folly on BBC television will be constrained into the museum of Sollecito-Knox exhibitions for us all to chortle over.
Italy can have a coupe of grins at system change gone haywire elsewhere.
The US immigration was for a few days thrown into self-inflicted chaos, the purpose of which was to tighten up regulations though they were already very tight and there was zero evidence they were failing.
And in India… well, take a look at the demonetization crisis:
Indeed Pete, the footage from India as people panicked over the scrapping of large denomination notes was starting to look like a run on the banks.
Meanwhile, and more importantly from a European perspective, have a look at the attached table showing Greek debts with due dates. The EU are currently arguing about further bailouts without which Greece has no hope whatsoever of meeting its liabilities.
The madness of this situation beggars belief. It’s not even throwing good money after bad. It’s throwing bad money after bad as its just made up fantasy money. Fiat currency, dontcha just love It?
Sadly for Greece and her people, the effects of this on ordinary people are horrendous. I’ve had several holidays in that beautiful, history rich land. The EU has been its ruination. But for corruption and cooking of the books, they would never had been allowed to join the EU. It’s a Greek tragedy for sure.
It truly is a matter of time before complete collapse of this horrendous institution. It will limp on for a few years yet but I truly cannot see it surviving in it’s current form in ten years time. At the very least, the eurozone will have collapsed and EU zone countries will have gone back to their old currencies and be devaluing all over the place. Debts will have to be forgiven Africa style across the board.
No one will go to jail and all the politicians involved will either have retired on gold plated pensions or be employed in senior positios at various corporations. I foresee much civil unrest.
Choppy waters ahead. We here in the U.K. can only hope that Trump doesn’t lay waste to the US economy as our colours will be firmly pinned to the USA’s mast!
SOLLECITO CLAIM UPDATE
This rejection by the Florence court is reported today by the Italian news service ANSA:
Rejected by the Court of Appeal of Florence is the claim for wrongful imprisonment advanced by Raffaele Sollecito, finally acquitted of the charge of having participated in the murder of Meredith Kercher.
He asked for over 500 thousand euro for almost four years in jail before being released from prison. As learned by ANSA Tuscan courts have held to be contradictory his statements in the initial investigation.
Now we know why he’s been quiet: his claim for compensation had been struck out. ‘Too many lies’.
Ergon was right, it took for the press to go to the court to find out about it. Seems Bongiorno is not going to make the journey to the Supreme Court with him.
The court filed their report with the registry February 10, 2017, KrissyG.
Still, I think Sollecito knew in advance, hence noises about suing the judges in some court away from Florence
I have up loaded a copy of the judgement to NET but it can also be found here:
The verdict gives further reasons, that it was due to Sollecito’s behaviour and not a ‘miscarriage of justice’ that caused his imprisonment, and why his claim is dismissed in its entirety:
For the young man, the judges actively contest, it is not established whether intentionally or not he fueled suspicions about his real responsibility in the murder of British student. A different conduct would have produced a different belief and a different legal fate for Sollecito.
The protective order placed him in jail because of the belief that the boy had a material role in the execution of the crime. For the Court , therefore, the conditions are not met for the acceptance of the request made by the boy, as the prison sentence stems from Sollecito’s behavior, rather than a miscarriage of justice.
Ergon, that is amazingly great work!
Thanks, KrissyG. Hope the judgement will be translated. It really is devastating for his case. (And Knox’s before the ECtHR, it should be noted, since both were the authors of their own misfortune).
I will be giving a talk on Liz Houle’s True Crimes Podcast tomorrow Feb. 12 at 6PM EST discussing the implications of this ruling and how it will affect Amanda Knox’s claim before the ECtHR. Will post link later.
Good news that Sollecito has been unsuccessful in his latest blood money bid - for now anyway as it looks like he is in the mood for taking on and suing the whole world.
Such is his character, he has the lot. Arrogance, entitlement and grandeur to name a few.
Perhaps Michelle Celestial Horseteeth Moore should have a word with her son to cool the poor boy down, maybe treat him to some pocket money or pay some of his legal fees or whatever.
I know it is still early but I wish I could understand the document!
I am sure someone will translate it in future but I find it very interesting that the document acknowledges that Sollecito changed his story 5 times.
This is a legal judgement that is basically saying he is a liar from what I can gather. Of course we all knew that and we also knew he would be unsuccessful in his bid if it was found he had lied.
I think this deserves maximum publicity because once more here we have proof that he is a liar.
This is great! Thanks for all your posts! Finally some satisfying news!
Bongiorno will file an appeal against the Florence ruling
So, Bongiorno does still support Knifey Boy? When is the court resuming regarding Knifey Boy’s “Honour Bound”? I miss also comments from Fast Pete…
This is truly splendid news.
I think young Raffy’s inheritance from papa Sollecito will soon be swallowed up by legal fees leaving the poor boy with not a pot to p*ss in when his dear old dad shuffles off his mortal coil.
I wonder if dad now looks upon his errant child and wishes he’d never been born? I think we all know the answer!
Well done Italy on getting this one spot on.
Nice this happened when your damning post was at the top. Even the Fifth Chambers believed him to be lying.
Liz Houle is really someone I much admire. She had put up with huge heat and is implacable. Heree is her own report on this outcome.
“Celestial Horseteeth” ?! You need to post more often!
Fast Pete was caught hopping! Cause was a big snowstorm in NYC. This is VERY energizing.
Hi david mulhearn
Spot-on re RS and his dad - the inheritance which he shares with his sister Vanessa (the one he caused to become unemployed) was several properties from his mother.
I dont see any other big cashflow, and he has yet to do anything that provides an income though he implies that the ghoulish gravesite business does.
His father seems to have stepped in on his fees and has complained of how outrageously unfair it was for the Knox PR to raise millions for her defense while Italian law prevented him from doing the same.
Johnny Yen was first to send links to two reports in English.
The Guardian reports on it also. See the last paragraph. Gimme a break Bongiorno. WHERE is the proof of that?
Italian court rejects Raffaele Sollecito’s €500,000 compensation claim
Man acquitted of murder of British student Meredith Kercher, who spent four years in jail, sought sum for unjust imprisonment
Sunday 12 February 2017 11.15 EST Last modified on Sunday 12 February 2017 11.30 EST
An Italian court has rejected a compensation claim for more than €500,000 (£426,000) by Raffaele Sollecito, who was cleared of the 2007 murder of the British exchange student Meredith Kercher after spending nearly four years in jail.
Sollecito, 32, had tried to claim the maximum possible sum from the state for wrongful imprisonment, after spending nearly four years in jail.
He and his former girlfriend Amanda Knox had each been facing more than 20 years in prison for Kercher’s murder before being acquitted by Italy’s highest court in March 2015.
Sollecito was arrested days after the murder. Kercher was Knox’s roommate in Perugia and had been studying on an Erasmus programme when she was stabbed to death in the flat they shared.
Sollecito said the protracted ordeal left his family with debts of €400,000. But his claim was rejected on Saturday by the Florence appeals court, which took into account contradictions in Sollecito’s statements at the start of the murder investigation.
While the court acknowledged Sollecito’s unjust imprisonment in the light of his eventual acquittal, it said in a ruling that he contributed by making “contradictory or even frankly untrue” statements in the early stages of the investigation, which constituted “intent or gross negligence”. The court ruled that this eliminated Sollecito’s right to compensation.
Speaking to Italian newspaper La Repubblica in the immediate aftermath of his acquittal, Sollecito said: “For seven years I have had a suspended life, I have lived with the fear of being arrested, but knowing I am innocent.”
Writing on Facebook after the latest court decision, Sollecito said: “I thought I had lived through the darkest pages of the Italian justice system, but despite being declared innocent by the supreme court, I must acknowledge that my harsh detention was justified.”
Sollecito’s lawyer, Giulia Bongiorno, said she would appeal the decision at the supreme court, arguing that the Florence appeals court had failed to consider that his conflicting statements in the early days of the murder investigation were given under duress.
BREAKING BREAKING BREAKING
There is an unsigned further report from ANSA with a comment from the Kercher lawyer Dr Maresca. Here is a quick translation.
‘Doubts Remain about Sollecito’s Acquittal by Maresca’
(ANSA) - PERUGIA, Feb. 12 - The lawyer Francesco Maresca, who represents the family of Meredith Kercher, commented on the decision of the Tuscan capital judges to reject the claim for unjust detention by the young man from Puglia.
“The Court of Appeal of Florence confirms the uncertainty related to the acquittal of Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox will remain in the history of Italian justice for all the unresolved doubts that it leaves”.
According to the lawyer “It confirms the statements and behavior of the young pair as a justification for custody and reminds us of the fact that the Supreme Court has placed them still in the house of the crime, so it really does seem that this absolution was to be refused at all costs.”
It’s Sunday night. The huge and now super-full Oroville dam in northern California is good for birding; I’ve seen it. At bottom the 2nd video 3 days old explains its problem.
There are now three live “dam cams” pointed at where it might soon break through the earth berm to the west of the concrete damn.
Keep staring and you just might see a huge break and a wave wipe out several communities downstream. Again this is a live “broadcast”.
Any updates below the videos.
Monday update #1. Some 188,000 who reside below the dam have now been evacuated and the reports now all say the earth sidewall of the dam WILL erode away.
Historically, allowing such large communities below dams was a gamble that did not pay off. This break cost 2209 lives.
Monday update #2. Maybe good news. http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/02/13/514955209/signs-of-hope-at-oroville-dam-after-water-overflowed-emergency-spillway
Maresca’s above comment is relevant and fully justified. It is not to be overlooked that in addition to the lies and suspicious behaviour we have a “definitive” (joke) judgement that also says that Knox and probably Sollecito were present in the cottage at the time of the murder. Even if Sollecito was not then he had good cause to believe that Knox was, yet before and after his police statement he did everything he could to obfuscate the fact and mislead investigators and prosecutors, all the while trying to dig himself out of a hole.
That adds up to a number of additional criminal offences he has committed but for which he has escaped sanction.
In addition who can doubt that at the very least he had a part in, or knowledge of, the burglary staging (not criticized by the 5th Chambers), and the subsequent removal of blood traces (the evidence for which which the 5th Chamber basically ignored).
He who comes to court for compensation must come with clean hands.
Thank goodness for this news.
Thanks Pete also for the Liz Houle article. Very good.
Guilty Raffaele Sollecito and guilty Amanda Knox’s actions post the murder have been absolutely disgusting.
Great news! Raffaele won’t get his hands on 500,000 smackeroos, and Amanda’s request for compensation will bite the same dust. Two liars, the Florence court said.
Attorney Maresca the lion himself, has roared the implications: there was bad behavior, suspicious behavior and plenty of just cause to lock up Raffaele and Amanda, and much DOUBT remains as to their acquittal. The supreme court that released them spoke of the uncertainty of their innocence, and the DOUBT of their innocence enters the history books.
As Raper said, they have no clean hands and are owed nothing. Bongiorno is wasting her time to appeal this solid judgment. They want to excuse Raf’s suspicious statements by saying the reason Raffaele lied to investigators was “duress”. The fairytale of “it’s always someone else’s fault why the liar lies”.
Oh, it was so good to see this news on my return from 3 days out of town, while chilling after roadtrip, catching breath and unpacking. It was good to read all the comments, to hear the sound of sense, and wit mixed with it. Maresca’s remarks put icing on the cake. Amanda and Raffaele should shrivel up under his gaze.