Sunday, December 13, 2009

My Poem For Meredith

Posted by Hopeful

For Meredith. Accompanied above by a re-post of this hauntingly beautiful video of Perugia in the mist. It seems to have stirred as many emotions as anything on the site.

Meredith’s Poem My life was bright and right, But not for long. I whisper in God’s ear, Justice, take care of me. He said, “The greatest man Who lived, died at 33.” I had more smiles than tears, Something few can say After they’ve lived many years. It’s good to be far away From petty envy and pain, Fear and deceit and greed. Here I am always at peace. My energies find release. I’m active and loved and warm. I sing and dance with many. I am glad beyond belief, Smiling and they are smiling. We burn like the sun with joy. We dance, create, and sing. We do a thousand times more Than our earth life used to bring. We create worlds of our own. God is not jealous of us. We praise the One we love Who planned for everything. I whisper in His ear, “What of my murderers’ plight?” He says, “Will not the judge Of all the earth do right?”
Posted on 12/13/09 at 07:31 AM by HopefulClick here & then top left for all my posts;
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Friday, December 11, 2009

Jeanine Pirro A Former Powerhouse Prosecutor Weighs In Accurately On The Case

Posted by Peter Quennell



Jeanine Pirro is extremely well known and much admired and respected around New York because she was a FORMIDABLE District Attorney for Westchster County.

Westchester County is directly north of New York City and it is one of the two or three most wealthy in the US. It has more than its share of powerful perps. 

Jeanine Piro won case after case after case, and she has an absolutely exceptional TV presence, being scary smart, extremely funny, and absolutely gorgeous to look at.

She appears in the second half of this clip, right after a mumbling and confused Ann Bremner.

The host here, Geraldo Rivera, never lets real facts get in the way of a good story. Here his grasp of the real facts is dismal. But although he tries very hard to trample all over Jeanine Pirro, it is pretty clear that he is desperate and she emerges the clear winner.

Geraldo Rivera’s stance here is interesting. This is only the second example after Jane Velez Mitchell of CNN of a Hispanic leaping on board the xenophobia bandwagon. Normally Hispanics have very good reason to want to see other countries and peoples treated with respect.

Memo to Fox, CNN, CBS, ABC and NBC: perhaps one way of reducing your exposure to those defamation suits that may be headed your way from Italy?

Have Jeanine Pirro on your broadcasts from now on. You know. For some actual balance.

Posted on 12/11/09 at 09:07 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
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Thursday, December 10, 2009

Fox News Analyst Lis Wiehl Seems to Think Meredith’s Murder Is One Terrific Great Joke

Posted by Peter Quennell



You can see the self-infatuation of the notoriously narcissistic Lis Wiehl leaking out here from her very first words.

When the rather disbelieving host, Don Imus, pulls her up for not knowing the facts, her smarmy response to him is to the effect that she knows them a lot better than he does.

Try again, Lis Wiehl.

In this six-minute segment, we did not count ONE fact you got right. Here are some corrections to your mean-spirited and wildly inaccurate claims to help you come back down to Planet Earth..

  • There was no 14-hour interrogation. Ever. There were two interrogations on the night of the 6th of November (see also here) each of them under two hours. One as a witness and one as a suspect. Knox had a lawyer present for most of the second. Before he arrived she spontaneously presented the prosecutor with a scenario indicating her involvement. This was disallowed, but later she helpfully wrote it out anyway, and that was entered into evidence.
  • Mr Mignin is NOT under indictment for a criminal offense. His one remaining charge which is likely to be tossed out soon relates to his seemingly guessing RIGHT in the Monster of Florence case - that there probably was a cabal, a fact which Doug Preston has suspiciously been trying hard to bury.
  • No sign of a cleanup? Of fingerprints having been wiped clean? The ONLY fingerprints of Amanda Knox in the entire house were found on a glass in the kitchen. Even in her own room there was not one print.
  • Amanda Knox was TOLD the day after the investigation commenced that she was not to leave Italy. As a material witness she had no choice but to stay. One of Meredith’s English friends was also told to remain in Perugia. She remained in effect trapped in Perugia for two months at her expense, and lost an entire year of study at university.
  • Despite Lisa Wiehl’s ugly sneering anti-Italianism at the end there, this trial was NOT about Italy or the judges or investigators or prosecutor saving face. The case was reviewed altogether by 19 judges and the caution adopted throughout was beyond anything American courts normally see.

And by the way, there pretty well was a smoking gun in this case.

Read this post and see if you disagree.

Posted on 12/10/09 at 02:38 PM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
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Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Our Letter To Senator Maria Cantwell: Please Don’t Take Precipitate Action Till Full Facts Are In

Posted by Highly-Concerned Washington-State Voters


We are all regular voters who live in the Seattle area. We have signed the original of this letter to our US senator, Maria Cantwell, and sent it off to her Capitol office. 

We think we increasingly mirror a very large minority or even a majority of cool-headed but concerned Seattle-area voters who would like to see her speaking up for truth and real justice in this case.

And for the rights of the true victim.

We are not running a campaign. We don’t think Senator Cantwell needs hard persuasion. We think once she immerses herself deeply in the real facts, those facts will tell her the right thing to do.

Dear Senator Cantwell

A number of your well-informed constituents are wondering about your motivations for suddenly injecting yourself into the Meredith Kercher murder trial debate, immediately following last week’s unanimous guilty ruling for American Amanda Knox in Perugia, Italy. 

We wonder because you said you were saddened by the verdict and had serious questions about the Italian judicial system and whether anti-Americanism had tainted the trial.  But then you went on to describe how you knew for a fact that the prosecution in the case did not present enough evidence for an impartial jury to conclude beyond a reasonable doubt that Amanda Knox was guilty. 

We’re confused because it seems to us that if you had been following the case closely enough to be certain that not enough evidence had been presented by the prosecution that you would consequently have a very clear idea of how the Italian judicial system functioned and know whether or not anti-American sentiment had impacted the ruling. 

So, as a group of concerned Seattle area constituents who have been following every detail of this case since poor Meredith Kercher was murdered, we humbly offer you our assistance towards bringing things into proper perspective.

Were you aware that Raffaele Sollecito, an Italian from Giovinazzo, Bari was convicted right alongside Ms. Knox?  Mr. Sollecito received some of the best legal representation available in Italy, including senior lawyer and parliamentary deputy Giulia Bongiorno who won fame as a criminal lawyer when she successfully defended former Italian Premier Giulio Andreotti a few years ago. 

Ms Bongiorno has said nothing about anti-American sentiment having influenced the ruling against her client, nor has she complained about fundamental problems with the way this trial was run.  Instead, she is now completely focused on looking ahead to the appeal process as her next opportunity to mitigate sentences or argue for her client’s innocence. 

This should assuage some of your concerns.

But perhaps you are referring to the extra year Ms. Knox received in comparison to Mr. Sollecito’s 25-year sentence as a clear example of anti-American sentiment?  That’s a fair concern; however, in Italy the jury panel for a trial is required to submit a report within 90 days of a ruling describing in great detail the logic used to convict and sentence, or absolve a defendant. 

For example, in Rudy Guede’s fast-track trial for the murder of Meredith Kercher last year Judge Paolo Micheli issued an exhaustive 106 page report outlining the panel’s labored decision-making process, in sometimes excruciating detail.  We can expect no less for the trial of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito, and when that report is issued we will have our best look yet at the evidence that was used to convict the pair.

We suggest that you seriously reconsider “bringing” Hillary Clinton and the State Department into the debate.

Consider that State Department spokesman Ian Kelly stated that the US embassy in Rome had been tasked with monitoring the trial and had visited Ms. Knox in jail, and several embassy representatives were known to have attended the reading of the ruling last week. In addition, an American reporter based in Italy who has followed the case from the outset said last night on CNN that the trial had been monitored from the outset.

Secretary Clinton has clearly been very busy with far more critical tasks than to have maintained a personal familiarity with the Kercher murder case; however, Kelly did state that in response to recent press reports Secretary Clinton had taken time to look things over and has yet to find any indication that Knox did not receive a fair trial.  You surely realize that Secretary Clinton will not be interested making public comments regarding an ongoing legal process in a sovereign, democratic nation that is a long-time ally of the United States.

Also note that on the Italian side of the equation, Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini told his countrymen that he has yet to receive any criticisms of the trial from the office of the US Secretary of State and that the fierce criticism of the case by the Seattle based Amanda Knox support group should not be confused as the position of the US government. 

And Luciano Ghirga, Knox’s own Italian lawyer, has stated that he does not question the validity of the trial and that he believes it was conducted correctly. Furthermore, regarding your desire to have Clinton become involved, Ghirga concluded, “That’s all we need, Hillary Clinton involved…this sort of thing does not help us in any way.” 

Perhaps he is referring to the heated discussions in the Italian press these days regarding the strong criticisms of Italy’s legal system coming from a country that supports Guantanamo Bay, the death penalty, and other perceived injustices of a far-from-perfect American legal system.

As these examples demonstrate, and from your own humble constituents’ well-informed perspective, there is nothing out of the ordinary or alarming about the Meredith Kercher murder trial process.  The prosecutors and defense teams will continue to debate the evidence throughout the appeal process, just as we should expect them to. 

If you do decide to go forward with your inquiry, despite significant opposition from your constituents, we recommend that you do so only after becoming more familiar with the evidence presented during the trial, as presented by a neutral source. The family and friends of the US citizen recently convicted are probably not neutral.

If you take a good look, you will see that there are checks and balances in the Italian way of achieving justice, just as there are in the American system. In the final analysis, it is completely as Beatrice Cristiani, deputy judge for the Kercher murder trial, put it: “As far as I am aware our system of justice does not make provision for interference from overseas.”

Fully signed by all of us in the original sent to Senator Maria Cantwell


CNN’s Legal Analyst Lisa Bloom Nails Cantwell’s Ill-Informed Intervention

Posted by Peter Quennell

This is from Anderson Cooper’s nightly news show on CNN in the US.. Certainly it is one of the best.

Lisa Bloom appears at the 4 minute mark (and Barbie Nadeau after that) following Senator Cantwell’s various ill-informed charges. But in the space of less than a minute she really nails it.

Here Lisa Bloom stands up for truth, fairness to Italy, and compassion to the real victim. Meredith Kercher. .

Posted on 12/09/09 at 03:26 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
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Explaining How The Italian Appeals Process Works And Why It Consumes So Much Time

Posted by Commissario Montalbano


Above is Vincenzo Carbone, Prime President of the Italian Supreme Court of Cassation, addressing the Italian Supreme Court.

The appeal process in the Italian judicial system is disciplined by art. 593 et seq. of the Italian Code of Penal Procedure (CPP).

Both the defendant and the prosecution have the right to appeal a sentence, according to the principle of parity of the two parties in a judicial process. In 2006 a law passed by the Berlusconi government (known as “Pecorella Law”, from the name of his sponsor), intended to prohibit the right of appeal of the prosecutor, similarly to what happens in the US, however the Italian Constitutional Court struck down that law as unconstitutional since it is in violation of the parity of the two parties in the process, as explained above. As a result the CPP has been modified to reflect its original version.

It is to be noted however, that if only the defendant requests an appeal (and not the prosecution), then the appeal court can only confirm or decrease the sentence of the first trial, but not increase it.

Since Mignini has already said that they won’t appeal the case, Amanda and Raffaele are likely to see their jail sentence decreased by a few years, or at most confirmed, but not increased. Art. 575 of the Italian Penal Code however prescribes a minimum of 21 years for voluntary homicide.

The principle of “double jeopardy”, which is also guaranteed by Italian law and by the law of all members of the European Union as condition of membership, does not apply to the appeal trial, as such trial is interpreted as being a mere continuation of the same first trial. The double jeopardy principle will therefore apply only after the sentence is definitive, i.e. after the Supreme Court of Cassation decision. In other words if Amanda and Raffaele are found not guilty after all the appeals are exhausted, the Italian state will not be able to try them again in the future.

This characteristic is not unique to Italy, most European countries, in fact, apply the double jeopardy only after all appeals have exhausted, among these Germany and France, which also permit the appeal by the prosecution.

The competence of the appeal process is disciplined by art 594 of the CPP. Such article establishes that the Appeal Court of Assizes has jurisdiction over the sentences rendered by the Court of Assizes. The Court of Assizes is the court in Italy which tries serious crimes, that is those crimes for which the penal code provides a maximum punishment of at least 24 years.

In this case the Corte d’Assise d’Appello of Perugia will have jurisdiction over the case. However the defense may request a change of venue, if they can demonstrate just cause.

The terms of the request for appeal are disciplined by art. 595 of the CPP. Such article specifies, among other things, that the party requesting the appeal can do so within 15 days from the day the Sentence is communicated. If such sentence is particularly complex (as this case is) the judge can request that the “Motivazione della Sentenza”, often referred to in TJMK as the Judge’s Report, or be filed with the court within 90 days from the end of the trial. In this circumstance the terms to file an appeal is 45 days, instead of 15.

The Italian constitution requires that all sentences be accompanied by this Report, including appeal sentences. As we’ve seen with Judge Micheli’s Report on Rudy Guede’s trial, the Sentence Motivation Report must explain the entire rationale that the judges utilized to reach the decision. The lack of such report would invalidate the sentence.

Once one or more parties to the trial requests an appeal, within 15 days from the day such Motivation report is communicated, the competent court will then acquire all the documentation regarding the case. The court will then notifies all parties of the beginning of the hearing at least 20 days before the commencement day.

As mentioned above, the appeal process in Italy is a brand new trial where all evidence and testimony is analyzed in the same terms as the first trial. The standards are however higher. The president of the Appeal Court of Assizes is in fact a judge from the Supreme Court of Cassation (the members of the Supreme Court are actually called “Consiglieri”). The requisites for being one of the 6 jurors are also higher. They must be all holding a high school degree (in the first trial the minimum required is only a middle school education).



[Image Above: The Seat of the Italian Supreme Court of Cassation, in the Hall of Justice in Rome, also known as “Il Palazzaccio” or the Ugly Palace].

The extraordinary broad appeal rights awarded by the Italian system are all part of the 1989 reform, which intended to add even more guarantees to the right of the accused. This has resulted in an incredible increase in pending cases in the overburdened Italian justice system. According to the latest report to Parliament by Justice Minister Angelo Alfano the pending cases in the Italian justice system at the end of 2006 amounted to nearly 9 million cases.

Over 5.4 million were civil cases, and over 3.3million criminal cases. Of these 3.3 million penal cases, over 1/3 were first trials, the rest were appeals. Compared to the rest of Europe Italy’s pending workload amounted to 3 times the one from France, over 6 times the one of Germany, and 5 times the one from Spain. The criminal cases pending in the first trial alone are 1.2 million, a figure twice as large as the one of Germany, Spain and England combined!

This situation, coupled with the fact that the number of Italian magistrates is about the same as other similar European countries, has resulted in an incredibly slow process. On average a criminal trial lasts 426 days in the first trial, and 730 days at the appeal trial, a duration much longer than any other EU country. The Perugia case was therefore faster than average, having lasted less than a year.

This situation is exacerbated by the broad appeal rights guaranteed also on the 2nd level of appeal, at the Supreme Court of Cassation. Like other supreme courts around the world, such court does not re-examine the entire body of evidence, but only ‘errores in iudicando’ and ‘errores in procedendo’ (errors in procedure or application of the law).

However, unlike its American or English counterparts, the Italian Supreme Court cannot refuse to review a case, and defendants have unlimited appeal rights to the Supreme Court of Cassation. They don’t even have to wait for the Appeal Court. You can in fact appeal to the Supreme Court directly after the first trial.

To give an idea of what this creates I’ll cite some figures. The US Supreme Court renders annually about 120 decisions. The Supreme Court in England about 75. The Italian Supreme Court of Cassation issues over 30,000 sentences every year!! No surprise then about the huge backlog, in spite of the fact that the Italian Supreme court consists of over 400 judges (called Consiglieri), divided into various sections (each of 5 consiglieri), all nominated by the Consiglio Superiore della Magistratura (CSM), the Italian Magistrates’ self governing body explained in a previous post.

Besides the broad appeal rights granted by the Italian law, an ulterior incentive to appeal is given by the fact that Italy has a very high amendment rate during the appeal process. Approximately half of all sentences rendered in the first trial are amended during the appeal process, a percentage which is 3 times higher than France for example. The ones that are not amended often see a decrease in punishment.

No surprise therefore that Italians always appeal their sentences. And some analysts have even ventured to say that Italian appeal courts like to modify the sentences of the first trial just for the purpose of justifying their own existence.

Given these facts, coupled with the chronic lack of prison space, it shouldn’t be a surprise that in spite of the Cosa Nostra, the Camorra and N’drangheta (as the mafia is called in the various regions), Italy has maybe the absolute lowest prison population in the world in relationship to the total population.

Italy in fact has 66 inmates for every 1 million population, a figure matched only by Denmark, a country certainly not famous for their organized crime. By comparison, the US boasts a prison population of more than 750 inmates over 1 million inhabitants, a figure 12 times the one in Italy.

If Amanda and Raffaele really wanted to experience the thrill of committing a murder, Italy is definitely the place to do it, and get away with it!
 


[Image Above: Italian “Guardasigilli” (Justice Minister) Angelo Alfano]

Posted on 12/09/09 at 12:27 AM by Commissario MontalbanoClick here & then top left for all my posts;
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Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Most Important Italian Paper Balks At The Attempts In US At Intimidation

Posted by Commissario Montalbano



[Above: The Corriere Della Sera building in Milan]

The Corriere Della Sera is the Italian equivalent of the New York Times and the London Times.

It wields huge influence throughout Italy and reflects the popular mood in its reporting. It does NOT like the campaign of vilification against the trial and its outcome. Here is a translation of today’s blast by Beppe Severgnini.

The do-it-yourself verdicts and that wrongful U.S.A. cheering

Many Americans criticize the ruling, but have never followed the case. Why do they do that?

Judicial nationalism and media justice, when put together, form a deadly cocktail. We also have Reader-patriots and journalist-judges ourselves, but what is happening in the United States after the conviction of Amanda Knox, is embarrassing. Therefore it is highly worth pondered upon.

American television, newspapers and websites are convinced that Amanda is innocent. Why? No one knows. Did they follow all of the trial? Did they evaluate the evidence? Did they hear the witnesses who, moreover, testified in Italian? Of course not! They just decided so: and that’s enough.

Like Lombroso’s*** proselytes: a girl that is so pretty, and what’s more, American, cannot possibly be guilty. No wonder Hillary Clinton is now interested in the case: she’s a politician, and cannot ignore the national mood.

There are, as I wrote at the beginning, two aspects of the issue. One is judicial nationalism, which is triggered when “a passport is more significant than an alibi” as noted in yesterday’s Corriere’s editorial by Guido Olimpio. The United States tend to always defend its citizens (Cermis tragedy, the killing of Calipari) and shows distrust of any foreign jurisdiction (hence the failure to ratify the International Criminal Court). In the case of Italy, at play are also the long almost biblical timespans of our justice, for which we’ve been repeatedly criticized at the European level.

But there is a second aspect, just as serious as the first: the media justice operation. Or better: a passion for the do-it-yourself trial. It’s not just in the United States that it happens, but these days it is precisely there that we must look, if we want to understand its methods and its consequences.

Timothy Egan - a New York Times columnist, based in Seattle, therefore from the same city of Amanda - writes that the ruling “has little to do with the evidence and a lot with the ancient Italian custom of saving face.” And then: “The verdict should have nothing to do with medieval superstitions, projections sexual fantasies, satanic fantasies or the honor of prosecuting magistrates. If you only apply the standard of law, the verdict would be obvious “. 

But obvious to whom? Egan – I’ll give it to him - knows the case. But he seems determined, like many fellow citizens, to find supporting evidence for a ruling that, in his head, has already been issued: Amanda is innocent. In June - the process was half-way - he had already written “An innocent abroad” (a title borrowed from Mark Twain, who perhaps would not have approved this use).

To be sure, among the 460 reader comments, many are full of reasonable doubt and dislike journalists who start from the conclusion and then try in every way to prove it.

I did not know if Amanda Knox was guilty. In fact, I did not know until Saturday, December 5, when a jury convicted her. I do have the habit of respecting court judgments, and then it does not take a law degree – which I happen to have, unlike Mr. Egan - to know how a Court of Assizes works.

It is inconceivable that the jurors in Perugia have decided to condemn a girl if they had any reasonable doubt. We accept the verdict, the American media does not. But turning a sentence into an opportunity to unleash dramatic nationalistic cheering and prejudice is not a good service to the cause of truth or to the understanding between peoples.

A public lynching, a witch hunt trial? I repeat: what do our American friends know? How much information do those who condemn Italy on the internet possess? How much have those who wrote to our Embassy in Washington, who accused the magistrates in Perugia, and who are ready to swear on Amanda’s innocence, studied this case for past two years?

Have they studied the evidence, assessed the experts’ testimony, or heard the witnesses of a trial that was much (too) long? No, I suppose. Why judge the judges, then?

They resent preventive detention? We don’t like it either, especially when prolonged (Amanda and Raffaele have spent two years in prison before the sentence). But it is part of our system: in special cases, the defendant must await trial while in jail.

What should we say, then, about the death penalty in America? We do not agree with it, but we accept that in the U.S. it is the law, supported by the majority of citizens. A criminal, no matter which passport he has in his pocket, if he commits a murder in Texas, knows what he risks.

Before closing, a final, obligatory point: I also did not like the anti-Amanda crusade in the British media, for the same reasons. The nationality of Meredith, the victim, does not justify such an attitude.

For once - can I say it? - We Italians have behaved the best. We waited for and now we respect the ruling, pending further appeal.

I wish we Italians behaved like that with all other high profile crimes in our country - from Garlasco’s case and on - instead of staging trials on television and spewing verdicts from our couch.

***Note: Cesare Lombroso, was a 19th century Italian criminologist who postulated that criminality was inherited, and that someone “born criminal”’ could be identified by physical defects.

[Below: the distinguished Italian columnist Beppe Severgnini of Corriere]


Meredith Growing Up

Posted by Peter Quennell

[click for larger images]


Above two: Meredith as a happy tot, possibly still in Southwark where she was born


Above: Meredith as a happy teenager (then 19) in Coulsdon or Leeds


Above: Meredith (right) celebrating with Stephanie (left) and a cake


Above: A happy Meredith at her 21st birthday party in February 2007

Posted on 12/08/09 at 01:00 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
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The Amazing Person That Was Meredith Kercher #4: Sue Carroll Captures The Growing Mood

Posted by Peter Quennell


Sue Carroll reflects on Meredith and Amanda Knox in today’s Daily Mirror

I wonder, if Amanda Knox had the saturnine looks of a psycho-killer, would US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton be interested in fighting her conviction for murdering fellow student Meredith Kercher?

It is a shocking but entirely predictable reflection of our image-conscious society that we don’t expect a bright, multi-lingual student with a penchant for writing fiction (albeit warped) to be a brutal killer.

We like our she-devils Rose West-shaped with the harsh staring eyes of a Myra Hindley and a bit of Lady Macbeth thrown in.

That a dewy skinned, nubile young woman could plunge a knife into the neck of her flatmate in a drug and drink-fuelled rage doesn’t compute.

Even her nickname, Foxy Knoxy, has connotations of sauciness and frivolity, not the blatant wickedness of which she was found guilty along with ex-boyfriend and accomplice Raffaele Sollecito in an Italian court last week.

From the moment Meredith was found semi-naked in a pool of blood at the cottage she shared with Knox, attention has been focused on one woman only – the accused.

Articulate and flirtatious with moist Bambi eyes, her status, carefully manipulated by her garrulous publicity-driven parents, morphed from suspected murderer to victim long before the trial. A flight home had been arranged and grandiose plans were afoot for the prodigal daughter’s return with lucrative book deals in the pipeline, movie rights under discussion and TV interviews planned.

The brutal murder of a beautiful young girl in a vile sex game was turned into a side issue. The fact Knox had wantonly and without a single vestige of shame named an innocent man, Patrick Lumumba, as Meredith’s killer was also conveniently forgotten by fans and family.

By contrast the dignity shown by the Kerchers, who have expressed only relief at the guilty verdict, could not be further removed from the crass insensitivity of the Knox clan who don’t merely protest their daughter’s innocence but threaten to turn it into a political row, pointing the finger at Italian justice and citing anti-American prejudice.

What clap-trap.

An interesting challenge since the jury also condemned Italian-born Sollecito to the same fate as Knox. And spare us, please, the tales of how the condemned cries herself to sleep at night.

I’ll reserve my sympathy for Arline Kercher, who says she can never bring herself to sell the family’s Surrey home because if she did Meredith would never know where to find her.

“It’s silly really,” says Arline. No, it’s not. When the physical bond has been ripped away all that’s left for the bereaved are emotional ties and associations.

For exactly the same reason Kate McCann has vowed to stay in the only home her missing daughter Madeleine ever knew. To leave it would feel like abandoning her child and for both these mothers constant reminders and memories, not bitterness or anger, are what keeps them going.

Meanwhile, I’d suggest the Knox family take their distasteful publicity machine home and consider themselves fortunate their daughter’s trial was conducted on European not American soil.

They have a special kind of punishment for killers in the good old US of A. It’s called the death penalty. Is that the justice they would have preferred?

Posted on 12/08/09 at 12:10 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
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Monday, December 07, 2009

US Overreaction: State Department (Foreign Office) Rebuts Senator Cantwell’s Claims

Posted by Peter Quennell


If Senator Cantwell or her staff come by looking for something to convince them fast please read this.

The same people who set the hapless John Q Kelly up (he has never been heard from again since that post) seem to have set Senator Cantwell up too.

Now Agence France-Presse (AFP) reports that her precipitate involvement in the case seems to be hitting a brick wall.

WASHINGTON, USA - The US government said Monday it had no signs that a court in Italy failed to follow the country’s laws when it found American Amanda Knox guilty of the murder of her British housemate.

However, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will discuss the verdict with Senator Maria Cantwell, who said it raises ‘serious questions’ about the Italian justice system, Clinton’s spokesman Ian Kelly told reporters.

‘I don’t have any indications to the contrary,’ Kelly said when asked if Knox was treated fairly under Italian law. ‘We haven’t received any indications necessarily that Italian law was not followed.’

He added: ‘I do know that our embassy in Rome was very closely involved in this. They visited Amanda Knox. They have monitored the trial.’

Kelly said he preferred to limit comment as the legal process continues, recalling that Knox has the right to appeal in 45 days.

Posted on 12/07/09 at 09:24 PM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
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US Overreaction: Meredith’s Mother Regards Cantwell’s Grandstanding As Ill-Informed

Posted by Peter Quennell


This was just reported by Tom Wells in tomorrow’s The Sun

The mum of murdered Meredith Kercher yesterday blasted killer Amanda Knox’s supporters for enlisting Hillary Clinton in her appeal battle….

Ms Cantwell suggested the 22-year-old did not get a fair trial and expressed worries over possible “anti-American” bias in the Italian court. Mrs Clinton, wife of former US President Bill, has now vowed to meet with “anyone who has a concern”.

But Meredith’s mum Arline yesterday insisted Knox’s hearing WAS fair - and said she did not sense any anti-American feeling in the Perugia court.

Mrs Kercher, 64, said at her family’s home in Coulsdon, Surrey: “We are still getting over the sentencing. The whole thing has gone in a blur.

“Having them say they are looking to lodge an appeal was tough enough - and now this. I just do not know where they are going by getting people in high places involved.

“I was in no way aware of anti-American feeling. It was just a normal court. Everything seemed to be done fairly. It seems a bit desperate, but the Italian justice system should be the ones to answer whether it was fair or not.

“We were not exactly given special treatment. I can’t see there was this anti-American thing.”...


US Overreaction: Amanda Knox’s Own Lawyer Groans “That’s All We Need, Hillary Clinton”

Posted by Peter Quennell


This is from an earlier report by Beth Hale and Daniel Bates in the Daily Mail

Hillary Clinton has been drawn into the battle to overturn Amanda Knox’s conviction. Amid a growing U.S. backlash against the verdict, the American Secretary of State has agreed to meet a senator from 22-year-old Knox’s home state of Washington.

[Senator Cantwell] said she was concerned there had been an ‘anti-American’ feeling at the trial and said she would be raising her concerns with Mrs Clinton…

Luciano Ghirga said: ‘That’s all we need, Hillary Clinton involved. I have the same political sympathies as Hillary but this sort of thing does not help us in any way.’

Prosecutor Giuliano Mignini said: ‘This senator should not interfere in something she has no idea about. I am happy with how the trial went.’

And this below is from a new report by Nick Pisa in the Daily Mail

It quotes the prosecutor as saying that the case was taken before NINETEEN Italian judges. Such caution is not an everyday occurrence in US justice, that is for sure.

Italy reacted with anger today as a transatlantic war of words broke out with the United States over the Amanda Knox murder trial.

Prosecutors involved in the case were outraged that their handling and the Italian judicial system had been called into question, while newspapers published front page editorials saying they would not take ‘lessons from America.’

It came as it emerged US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton had said she would look into Knox’s case after Marie Cantwell, a senator in the jailed student’s home state of Washington, said she was ‘concerned’ about the trial.

In a front page editorial headlined ‘Passport and Justice’ Corriere Della Sera stormed: ‘Once again here we have rule number one for an American accused of a crime abroad - it doesn’t matter if they are innocent or guilty all that counts is their passport.’

Inside it continued under the heading: ‘When an American passport is as valuable as an alibi,’ and recalled an infamous incident in 1998 when a US pilot escaped justice, despite flying through a cable sending a ski gondola crashing into a mountain and killing 20 people at Cermis in the Italian Alps.

It added: ‘Amanda was tried abroad so her defence campaign have enlisted the help of the State Department. This same administration can’t close Guantanamo but it can find the time to attack the sentence in Perugia.’

Its story on Mrs Clinton’s involvement added America had been reacting as if Knox had ‘ended up in the hands of some despotic regime,’ and said: ‘America is just waiting to send a platoon of Marines over to rescue the poor girl.’

Il Messaggero also ran an editorial on its front page under the headline ‘Unacceptable Lessons’ and also compared it to the Cermis incident.

It wrote: ‘If there is any ground upon which our country will not be taught lessons on civility and respect from anyone, the United States included, then it is the penal process.

‘The United States allows the death penalty for minors in some states, as does countries where the high level of civic justice found in Italy is unheard of, such as Iran, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan and Yemen.

‘If Hilary Clinton wants to meet these “doubters” then maybe she can also find the time to look into the cases of numerous Italians held in American prisons for non existent motives and crimes they have not committed.’

There was also criticism of Senator Cantwell’s suggestions the trial was anti-American as many pointed out that ‘an Italian Raffaele Sollecito, was also jailed.’...

Knox prosecutor Giuliano Mignini also hit out at the criticism and said: ‘I am happy. In my conscience I know I have done my duty. It is never easy to ask for a life sentence.

‘That’s especially true in this case where the accused were in their twenties. I have three children who are more or less the same age. Asking for life was the right punishment for the crime.

‘I am not prepared to take criticism from the Americans on how the prosecution and investigators carried out their work.

‘The case went before 19 judges in the end at various levels from a preliminary hearing, through to three levels of re-examination (bail hearings) and all found in the prosecution’s favour.’

Here is some highly recommended reading for the Senator and (f they need it) the State Department. 

Posted on 12/07/09 at 05:03 PM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: The officially involvedThe defensesHoaxers from 2007Knox-Mellas teamThe wider contextsN America context
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Meredith’s Mother Says In An Interview That The Real Life Sentence Here Is Theirs

Posted by Peter Quennell


The question seems to be spreading now of whether Knox’s and Sollecito’s sentences were simply too light.

Two of the jurors have spoken out about their teary sympathy for Amanda Knox. No similar judge or jury sentiments were offered about the real victim here, the one with the first name of Meredith.

Now a UK Press Association report has gone viral on a Daily Mirror interview with the family. This below is the actual Daily Mirror interview kindly emailed to us from London (it is not online) and not the abbreviated Press Association report.

It tells of the crushing sadness of Meredith’s mother Arline - and the life sentence the perpetrators handed to her.

EXCLUSIVE: MURDERED MEREDITH’S FAMILY SPEAK FOR THE FIRST TIME

ON most days Arline Kercher stops at the door to her daughter’s bedroom, waits for a second then slowly looks in.

Everything is neat and tidy with nothing out of place - just how Meredith left it.

Arline’s eyes well up with tears as she scans the room full of her daughter’s clothes, shoes and CDs.

More than two years after the 21-year-old - affectionately known as Mez - was brutally murdered in Perugia, central Italy, it is painfully clear how closely her memory is cherished by her family.

Arline, 64, says: “It’s still Mez’s room and has barely been touched. It’s not a shrine to Meredith but it is a constant reminder of her.

“When I’m walking past with a pile of washing in my hand I get a feeling of sadness. It’s hard not to. It’s almost as though she’s just gone out and will be back in a while. But she won’t.”

Meredith remains such an integral part of their lives that they refuse to even consider ever leaving the family home in Coulsdon, Surrey.

“That’s my way of handling it,” Arline insists. “If we moved, she wouldn’t know where I am. It’s silly really.” She, husband John and their three children Lyle, John and Stephanie agreed to speak as a family for the first time since those dreadful events of November 2007.

Amanda Knox 22, was given a 26-year sentence last Friday and exlover Raffaele Sollecito, 25, received 25 years, even though prosecutors wanted full life terms.

A third man, Rudy Guede, is already serving 30 years for the murder.

Speaking in Perugia after the verdicts, the Kerchers’ overwhelming emotion remains the pain of losing Meredith - and a numb relief that her killers are finally behind bars. Arline says the family have been “living a nightmare” for two years and adds poignantly: “We’re the ones who have been given a life sentence.

“We have to live with what’s happened for the rest of our lives. People say time heals - but it doesn’t.” Lyle, 30, says: “The feeling isn’t of celebration. A verdict has been delivered that we’ve been working towards and that’s it. For me every significant stage of the process is a step towards relief, or closure as people call it.

“But until the appeal is over there’s still that black cloud hanging over everything.” Despite his sister’s horrific murder - in which she was sexually assaulted and her throat slashed - this dignified family sees no sense in venting anger at the killers.

Lyle explains: “It won’t bring her back. I was shocked when the verdict came in. You don’t know what to feel. Whether the anger will come later or in waves, I don’t know. What we have noticed is that others in the family have shouldered the anger for us.”

Stephanie, 26, adds: “People always ask us about Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito, but it’s not our place to judge them. That’s what the judges and jury were there for.

“We can only go on the evidence we heard, what we’ve been told about their behaviour and what they did.”

Her brother John, 29, adds: “The thing to point out is there’s no winners in all this.”

Instead, the family prefers to remember the warmth and joy Meredith brought to their lives - and the lives of all those who knew her.

Stephanie says: “Everyone always remembers me and Mez giggling in the corner because we had so many private jokes.

“Mez liked dancing. She would come downstairs in the morning and start dancing in front of everyone and it made us all laugh.

“She was so much fun and had a wicked sense of humour.”

The Leeds University student was spending a year studying in Italy. And in her daily phone calls to Arline she would often chat for hours, telling her mumhow much she was enjoying her new life. Arline says: “She was really excited and looking forward to improving her Italian.

“We would talk every day. She would tell me about all these funny, amusing stories about university.

“She was such a vibrant girl, such a carefree person. She was really enjoying herself and had made quite a few friends, especially among the English girls.”

And it is Meredith’s popularity that makes her loss especially hard for 66-year-old dad John to bear.

He says plaintively: “You keep asking yourself, ‘Why?’ So many people loved Meredith. Why would anyone do that? It was so extreme. Everyone loved Meredith and even strangers say such nice things about her: ‘What such a lovely smile she had… she must have been a beautiful person’.

“That’s what affects me. That’s what makes me cry, not reading the details of her death.” The trial judge awarded the family £4million compensation. But they say it is merely symbolic and believe they are unlikely to see a penny.

If they do receive any money they plan to set up a charitable foundation in Meredith’s name.

Meanwhile, they will cherish her for ever in their hearts - and plan a quiet celebration of her life every year on her birthday, December 28, Lyle says: “We will definitely raise a glass to Mez every year.”

Arline adds with a sad sigh: “We will carry Meredith around with us all the time. She’s still so much a part of our lives. We will never forget her. Never.”

Posted on 12/07/09 at 12:40 PM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Concerning MeredithHer familyThe officially involvedVictims familyTrials 2008 & 2009
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Sunday, December 06, 2009

The Rulings: Meredith’s Family Talks Of Meredith And The Rightness Of The Verdict

Posted by Peter Quennell

Posted on 12/06/09 at 11:58 PM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Concerning MeredithHer familyThe officially involvedVictims familyTrials 2008 & 2009
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The Amazing Person That Was Meredith Kercher #3: The UK People Interviews Ex-Boyfriend In Australia

Posted by Peter Quennell


We knew of David Cronin because he took the photo of Meredith for her former Facebook space.

David Collins and Grant Hodgson have en exclusive interview with him. He is now a player with a soccer team at Musgrave on the Queensland Gold Coast south of Brisbane.

The shattered ex-boyfriend of murdered Meredith Kercher said last night he would be “forever haunted” by the horrendous violence of her death.

Footballer Patrick Cronin, 24, spoke out for the first time about the Perugia trial and the loving relationship he had with the girl he called “Mez”.

Patrick insisted Meredith was “no prude” but that she would never have willingly taken part in the kinky sex games Knox and Sollecito tried to lure her into.

Speaking from Australia, where he now lives, he said: “She was a kind, loving person who was friendly to everyone she met. She did not deserve to die like that and Knox is damned for what she did.

“I can never stop thinking of the terror she must have felt in that final hour. It is something that will forever haunt me.”

In an exclusive interview with The People, Patrick said he and Meredith had enjoyed a “loving, special” relationship. He said: “Questions have been raised about her sex life since she was killed and it’s wrong. She wasn’t into playing any sexual games, threesomes or anything kinky.

“Once, I texted her messages that started to become very suggestive and steamy and she pulled me up saying, ‘Whoa, let’s calm this down’. I ask myself how these killers could have done this.”

Patrick was working as a croupier and living in Hendon, North London, when he first met Meredith, then a Leeds University student, in 2005.

He fell for her at first sight in a nightclub in Kingston, south-west London and “sparks flew” as they chatted. They went on to share a string of dates and she excitedly told him she wanted to go and study in Italy.

Eventually their romance ended but they kept in touch on Facebook, even after Patrick moved Down Under with his parents.

Now playing with the Musgrave Mustangs soccer club on Queensland’s Gold Coast, he heard of Meredith’s death while doing a course on sports science.

He said: “I came out of an exam and my brother called to say it was all over the news. I went into shock.

“I had never before experienced anyone close to me dying, let alone being horrifically killed.”

Patrick said he had re-read messages he received from Meredith since the end of the trial. He added: “I will never delete them.

“I just hope the outcome of the court case brings some comfort to her family.”

Posted on 12/06/09 at 05:07 PM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Concerning MeredithHer memoryTrials 2008 & 2009
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