Thursday, February 07, 2019

Pyrrhic Victory For Knox #1: ECHR Complaint Seems To Leave Her Worse Off

Posted by Our Main Posters

Dalla Vedova and Knox: Tripped up by body of lies?

[Long post. Click here to go straight to Comments]

Part 1. Origin Of The ECHR Complaint

By Peter Quennell

Part 1 provides some of the context for an analysis by KrissyG in Part 2.

The ECHR has finally after six years issued an advisory to Italy to pay a small sum to Knox in damages. Grounds are (1) an investigator being too chummy at the list-building session ending 1.45am on 6 Nov 2007, and (2) Knox not having lawyer present at the Miranda-rights session ending 5.45am.

Both are weird. And way, way below what Knox had asked for early in 2013: E2.5 million in damages and a finding of actual abuse.

Remember how Knox’s ECHR appeal began. The year after their questionable release by Judge Hellman (2012) was a time of wild highs for Knox and Sollecito. They each wrote a book and set out on money-grubbing victory tours - Sollecito late 2012, Knox early 2013.

But then, in late March 2013, the Supreme Court First Chambers did a rare and surprising thing. That court did not merely quibble with aspects of Knox’s and Sollecito’s 2011 appeal outcome (normal practice), or send it back down to Judge Hellman to correct a few minor things in law. Instead it more or less wiped the slate clean.

In scathing terms, the First Chambers annulled the 2011 outcome (except for Hellman’s “guilty” calunnia ruling for Knox) and sent it off with some guidelines to a different judge (Nencini) in a different city (Florence), to run Knox’s and Sollecito’s first appeal all over again. And Judge Hellman was forcibly retired.

From then on, throughout most of 2013, in the months before the Florence appeal court convened, though feigning triumphalism, Knox and Sollecito each appeared scared out of their wits.

Knox was too frightened to even attend, despite her Italian lawyers flying to Seattle to try to drag her back (the last time they set eyes on her, nearly six years ago). She instead sent a ranting and defamatory email to the judge, which quite possibly made things worse.

For his part, a somewhat more buoyant Sollecito lingered for some months in the Dominican Republics (which had no extradition treaty with Italy) with his unsavory Canadian relatives (who he might have been hoping would bend another court or offer him a job).

But at the last moment Sollecito (with some public arm-twisting by his dad) did arrive back for the court sessions. (He soon took off again, secretly back to see his Canadian relatives seemingly to ask if they could help.)

As generally expected by followers of the damning 2009 trial, Judge Nencini’s judgment early in 2014 resulted in both Knox and Sollecito going down hard once again. Their sentences were reinstated, and now subject only to the Supreme Court giving the final nod.

It was right here, in this threatening context, that one of Knox’s lawyers, Carlo Dalla Vedova (who is not a criminal lawyer) attempted what Americans call a “Hail Mary pass”. There is no sign that Knox’s other lawyer, Luciano Ghirga, went along with him.

Dalla Vedova filed the ECHR complaint, seemingly mainly (as many other Italian lawyers have done) to fire a shot across the bows of the Supreme Court, in a bid for leniency for Knox. (Separately, Sollecito was trying other measures.)

Dalla Vedova and Knox kept the complaint document to themselves, so nobody had any chance to fact-check it and see whether the claims stood up. Knox followers shared wild fantasies about what the document requested.

The ECHR would not share it even with the Italian Ministry of Justice: seemingly an extremely poor ECHR mode, as the Ministry lawyers had no clear idea of what to defend against.

The ECHR “investigation” essentially ignored the 2009 trial report, and its participants and its documents. Many transcripts we have translated and know well seem not to have been read or understood at all.

Instead the ECHR relied heavily on three very misleading reports:

(1) the 2013 Knox complaint by Dalla Vedova, which appears to have included a number of false claims;

(2) the 2011 Judge Hellman sentencing report - despite it having zero standing after the Chieffi Supreme Court ruled;

(3) the 2016 Boninsegna report denying a second calunnia judgment against Knox for damaging claims she made against Perugia investigators. 

The ECHR seems ignorant of many fundamental facts of the case. For example it seems ignorant of the fact that Knox was flouting a Supreme Court ruling (four years previously) that Knox MUST still pay Patrick an award for damages of about $100,000.

Worse, the ECHR found that it did not matter that the Knox legal process was not yet done because, they claimed, it would be soon.  But, as a direct result of breaking its own rules, the ECHR advanced ignorant of the fact that subsequent to the Knox filing the Supreme Court in 2015 had rebuffed any ECHR findings against Italy in advance.

From the 2015 Marasca-Bruno Sentencing Report:

2.2. The request of Amanda Knox’s defense aimed at the postponing of the present trial to wait for the decision of the European Court of Justice [sic] has no merit, due to the definitive status of the guilty verdict for the crime of calunnia, now protected [locked in stone] as a partial final status against a denouncement of arbitrary and coercive treatments allegedly carried out by the investigators against the accused to the point of coercing her will and damaging her moral freedom in violation of article 188 of penal procedure code.

And also, a possible decision of the European Court in favor of Ms. Knox, in the sense of a desired recognition of non-orthodox treatment of her by investigators, could not in any way affect the final verdict, not even in the event of a possible review of the verdict, considering the slanderous accusations that the accused produced against Lumumba consequent to the asserted coercions, and confirmed by her before the Public Prosecutor during the subsequent session [ending 5:45], in a context which, institutionally, is immune from anomalous psychological pressures; and also confirmed in her memoriale, at a moment when the same accuser was alone with herself and her conscience in conditions of objective peacefulness, sheltered from environmental influence; and were even restated, after some time, during the validation of the arrest of Lumumba, before the investigating judge in charge.

And even worse! The ECHR seems ignorant of the fact that IF Knox’s complaints of abuse were credible to her lawyers they MUST convey the complaints to the authorities. In fact if they do not, they risk criminal penalties and even being disbarred (and may still do). In fact in 2008 both lawyers publicly announced to the media that Knox should stop telling so many lies and that they never said she was hit.

Without such an initiating complaint, the Republic of Italy can never be at fault. 

But on the plus side for Italy and the very minus side for Knox (1) the ECHR dismissed the Knox claims of abuse (“torture”) that might have shored up any attempt by her to get the calunnia conviction revisited; and (2) prospects for any Knox claim for damages for her 1-4 years in prison are terminally gone.

What DID Knox get out of this? A recommendation to Italy - which can take it or leave it -  for a very tiny award (based on patently wrong claims) which is in any case likely to end up in Patrick Lumumba’s hands!!

As the ECHR ruling is only advisory, Knox cannot argue about it or seek to repudiate it or seek to adjust the suggested award - but the Republic of Italy certainly can.

Part Two: Analysis Of Italy’s Legal Position

By KrissyG


The main issues revolve around the question of admissibility.  I have identified two or three possible grounds of appeal on points of law.  They are: 

(a) Italy submitted that date-wise, the application by Knox had been submitted too early as the hearings had not yet been finalized.  ECHR rejects this saying that the hearings finalized very shortly after.  As far as I can see, this is not so.

(b) The ECHR relies on comments by Hellmann Appeal Court, which was largely superseded and outranked by Chieffi Supreme Court, to argue factors of free will.

(c) The ECHR relies heavily on police minutes and the fact interpreter Donnino and a police office, RI, fail to record details of their expressions of familiarity with Knox, or make a note that (i) Knox was asked if she wanted a lawyer and declined, (ii) that start and end times are not recorded, and that (iii) hours are condensed into minutes. Is it an error of law to assume these police minutes represented a failure of procedure?

1. Application admissible?

This takes up the larger part of the ECHR deliberations.  We can see that the dates are out of time and we can see it is keen to “˜get round’ this.  The relatively minor issues of police eagerness to befriend Knox, albeit misguided and improper, has clearly outraged the ECHR.


The subject of the dispute

108. The Court notes from the outset that the applicant’s complaints relate solely to the criminal proceedings at the end of which she was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment for slanderous denunciation of DL and not to the other proceedings. of which she was the subject.

B. Failure to exhaust domestic remedies in respect of the complaints under Article 6 §§ 1 and 3 (a) and (c) of the Convention

109. The Government submitted that, at the time of the introduction of the application, on 24 November 2013, the applicant’s conviction for slanderous denunciation was not final and that, therefore, this part of the complaint should be declared inadmissible.

110. The Court reiterates that the exhaustion of domestic remedies is assessed, with certain exceptions, at the date of submission of the application to the Court (Baumann v. France, No. 33592/96, § 47, ECHR 2001- V (extracts)).

111. However, it also recalls that it tolerates the completion of the last level of domestic remedies shortly after the filing of the application, but before it is called upon to decide on the admissibility of the application (Zalyan et al. Armenia, Nos. 36894/04 and 3521/07, § 238, March 17, 2016, and Škorjanec v. Croatia, No. 25536/14, § 44, March 28, 2017).

112. In any event, in the present case, the Court notes that the conviction in question was confirmed by the judgment of the Court of Cassation filed on 18 June 2013, at the end of three degrees of jurisdiction, and that the reference to the Assize Court of Appeal concerned only the existence of the aggravating circumstance.
113. In view of the foregoing, the objection raised by the Government must be rejected.”

2. Application premature?

By the ECHR’s own rules, as stated above, the submission was lodged 24 Nov 2013, when all domestic channels were supposed to have been exhausted.  The calunnia conviction against Lumumba had been finalised through Chieffi & Vecchio Supreme Court 18 June 2013. 

However, the second ““ and completely separate - case of calunnia brought by the police and prosecutor did not go through Boninsegna until 14 Jan 2015, on whose motivational report Knox and the ECHR heavily rely, over a year later.

Knox was acquitted by Bonisegna, hence, there was nothing for her to appeal against.  Further, Boninsegna had nothing at all to do with the merits of the Lumumba callunia, tried in 2009 and upheld at every stage, even by the egregious Hellmann court, whose judgement was largely expunged.

Why does the ECHR rely heavily on Hellmann and Boninsegna and not the superior Supreme and final court of Chieffi?

Even curiouser, Knox and the ECHR also rely heavily on quoting Hellmann of 3 Oct 2011.  Yet Hellmann was overrided and superseded by the superior Chieffi Supreme Court, finalised 9 Sept 2013.

The ECHR quotes Hellmann at some length, when it surely should have referred to Chieffi.

As an example, the judgment, translated from French, quotes Hellman as follows:

130. The Court observes that, in its judgment of 3 October 2011, [Hellmann] the Court of Appeal also emphasized the excessive length of the interrogations, the applicant’s vulnerability and the psychological pressure suffered by her, a pressure which was likely to compromise the spontaneity of his statements, as well as his state of oppression and stress.

It considered that the applicant had, in fact, been tortured to death, resulting in an unbearable psychological situation from which, in order to extricate herself, she had made incriminating statements in respect of DL (see paragraph 85 (8) and (10) above).

Yet the Chieffi Supreme Court in spiking much of Hellman’s lower court judgment writes:

So Knox was in a position, even after an initial although long moment of bewilderment, amnesia and confusion, to regain control of herself and understand the gravity of the conduct she was adopting; at the very least, in the days immediately following her heedless initiative she could have pointed out to the investigators that she had led them in a false direction, availing herself of the support of her Defence team, given that in the meantime she had acquired the status of a suspect.

Her persistence in her criminal attitude (discovered only through her taped conversation with her mother) proves the clear divergence with behaviour that could be interpreted as an attempt at cooperation, as the Defence would have it, and does not lend itself to evaluation as a response to a state of necessity, the very existence of which depends on a condition of inevitability and thus on the non”existence of any alternatives, so that it cannot even be recognized [as existing] as [her own] erroneous hypothesis.

Neither can the exercise of any right be invoked, given that the right of [self] defence does not extend under the legal system of any constitutional state to the point of allowing one to implicate an innocent person so seriously ““ it is worth recalling that he [Lumumba] underwent a period of incarceration uniquely and exclusively on the basis of the false accusations of the defendant.

3. Application Material?

Having ruled in favour of admissibility, the ECHR ruled that as the nature of Knox’ complaints of being hit and being placed under great duress triggered at least the lowest level of a potential Article 3 complaint, that of degrading and inhuman treatment, Italy should have taken it upon itself to launch an investigation of its own initiative into the allegations made against the interpreter [Donnino] and another officer [RI].  “˜RI’ claimed to have cuddled Knox, stroked her hair and held her hands.  This, the ECHR rules, had the effect of undermining Knox’ dignity and independence of will.

It has several criticisms surrounding this behavior including the fact it is not minuted in the police notes, and nor is the start and end times of the supposed “interrogations” at 1:45am and 5:45am.

The serious issue of course though is that of being allowed a lawyer. The ECHR writes of Italy’s defense (“the Government”)

142. The Government observes that the statements made by the complainant on 6 November 2007 in the absence of a lawyer were declared unusable in relation to the offenses under investigation, namely the murder of MK and the sexual violence perpetrated at against him. However, it states that, according to the established case law of the Court of Cassation (judgments Nos. 10089 of 2005, 26460 of 2010 and 33583 of 2015), spontaneous statements made by a person under investigation in the absence of a defender can in any case, be used when they constitute, as in this case, an offense in themselves. He added that the applicant had the assistance of a lawyer when the first indications of his responsibility for the murder of Mr K appeared.

143. In addition, the Government alleged that the applicant had been sentenced for slanderous disclosure not only on the basis of the statements made on 6 November 2007, but also on the basis of “a multitude of other circumstances”, recalled in the judgment of conviction of the Assize Court of 5 December 2009 (see paragraph 80 above).

144. The complainant submits that she was not informed of her right to legal assistance during her hearings on 6 November 2007, since a defense lawyer was not appointed until 8.30 am that day, and denounces the impact of the use of this evidence on the fairness of the proceedings.

A. Admissibility

145. Noting that this complaint is not manifestly ill-founded within the meaning of Article 35 § 3 (a) of the Convention and that it does not face any other ground of inadmissibility, the Court declares it admissible.
2. Application of general principles to the facts of this case

(a) The applicability of Article 6 of the Convention
(b) 146:

147. The Court notes at the outset that the first question in this case is whether Article 6 § 1 of the Convention was applicable to the facts of the case. It recalls in that regard that, on 6 November 2007, the applicant was heard twice: at 1.45 am and 5.45 am

148. It notes that the two statements were originally collected as part of the police’s acquisition of summary information, during which time the complainant had not been formally investigated.

149. With regard to the statements taken at 1.45 am, the Court reiterates that the guarantees offered by Article 6 §§ 1 and 3 of the Convention apply to any “accused” in the autonomous sense of the term. the Convention. There is a “criminal charge” where a person is formally charged by the competent authorities or where the acts of the latter on account of the suspicions against them have a significant impact on his situation (Simeonovi, cited above). , §§ 110-111).

150. Applying this principle to the present case, the Court therefore wonders whether, at the time of the hearings, the domestic authorities had reasonable grounds to suspect that the applicant was involved in the murder of Mr K.

151. It observes in that regard that the applicant had already been heard by the police on 2, 3 and 4 November 2007 and that she had been tapped. It notes that the facts of the case also show that, on the evening of 5 November 2007, the attention of the investigators focused on the applicant (see paragraphs 12-14 above). She notes that while she went to the police station spontaneously, she was asked questions in the corridor by police officers who then continued to interrogate her in a room where she had been interrogated. subjected twice, for hours, to close interrogations.

152. In the Court’s view, even assuming that these elements are not sufficient to conclude that, at 1.45 am on 6 November 2007, the applicant could be considered to be a suspect within the meaning of its case-law, it is necessary to note that, as the Government acknowledged, when she made her 5:45 statements to the public prosecutor, the applicant had formally acquired the status of a person under indictment. The Court therefore considers that there is no doubt that, at 5.45 am at the latest, the applicant was the subject of a criminal charge within the meaning of the Convention (Ibrahim and Others, cited above, § 296).

(b) The existence of overriding reasons for the restriction of the right of access to a lawyer.

Knox and her lawyers again has a second bite of the cherry and rehashes what was surely res judicata by Chieffi:

2.1.16 “ Inconsistency and manifest lack of logic in the reasoning concerning the failure to recognize an aggravating circumstance in the aims underlying the confirmed offence of calunnia. [The Prosecutor General argues as follows:] In upholding the offence of calunnia as charged against Ms Knox, the second instance court ruled out any link with the murder. It was not explained on what basis the court had inferred that the young woman had been stressed by the interviewers and that therefore she had committed the calunnia to “free” herself from the questions of the investigators, seeing that none of the young people who were living in that house, none of Ms Kercher’s friends, and many others in the days immediately following the murder, all of whom were summoned and interrogated, had the insane idea of committing a calunnia to free themselves from the weight of the unpleasant situation.

[43] The objective facts are therefore absolutely irrefutable, as was deemed in both trials; whereas the argument adopted from a subjective point of view, according to which the young woman resorted to extreme behaviour by giving the name of Lumumba only in order to get out of a situation of mental discomfort into which she was driven by the excessive zeal and unjustifiable intemperance of the investigators, cannot be well”founded given that ““ as it was ascertained ““ the accusation of Lumumba was maintained after her first statements and re”affirmed in the letter, which was written in complete solitude and at a certain distance in time from the first uncontrolled reaction in response to an insistent request for a name by the police. 


Translated from Italian into English by 9 September 2013

The whole issue of whether Knox was denied a lawyer, I am sure could be an article in its own right and I know others have strong views on this issue, therefore I shall leave it here to set out the ECHR reasoning.

My Conclusions>

So, we have a heavy reliance on the judgments of Hellmann and Bonisegna, when it seems to me, Hellmann is overrided by Chieffi who upholds Hellmann’s own final conviction anyway and Boninsegna is well past the earliest admissibility date, quite aside from not being directly involved in the Lumumba calumny at all.

Having ruled that objections by Italy can be swept aside, including that of failure to exhaust domestic avenues, the ECHR then goes on to rule on Knox’ lawyer status without proper reference to the latest and highest courts.  I can understand the argument that Italy should itself have investigated the police brutality anyway.  The rest of the reasoning seems misguided in light of what higher courts than those referred to have found. 


2103 The Supreme Court of Cassation of Italy Sentencing Report

Knox Complaint: The Full ECHR Judgment (English version soon available here.)

Posted by Our Main Posters on 02/07/19 at 07:02 PM in Hoaxes Knox & team24 ECHR appeal hoax


Pete says he disagrees with the ECHR finding that Italy should have launched an investigation into Knox’ claims of ‘torture’. 

The rationale being that Italian law makes it mandatory for attorneys to report complaints of abuse by their clients, and Knox’ lawyers never did.  In fact, they denied abuse.

I can follow the ECHR reasoning there.  Knox was going around telling all and sundry she was tortured, so it a minor point, but I can see the logic, that Italy could have carried out its own investigation, if only to rule it out.

I agree the onus is on the person complaining to lodge a complaint and give the person a chance to give redress.

I think the principle at stake, is that under the terms set out in Article 3 (torture, inhuman or degrading treatment, etc), there doesn’t need to be a complaint lodged, but that a system should have its own triggers in place, ready to step in anyway.

It’s a minor crumb of comfort the ECHR threw out to Knox, I don’t think it detracts from the overall throwing out of the more serious Art 3 complaints.

A court dealing with expensive lawyers will often let the claimant win on a minor point or two, to show off how impartial and objective it is, whilst striking out the main body.

Posted by KrissyG on 02/08/19 at 01:10 AM | #

Well argued! What do others think?

Seems to me ECHR did too much sloppy work here. I am not yet inclined to let them off the hook. In a sort of way Knox’s claims WERE investigated, in fact again and again!

(1) Knox signed every page of all 4 reports of her sessions with the police prior to arrest. All the Italian judges saw them. Where is any sign of abuse in those?

(2) Sollecito had gone through the same pre-arrest process and had also done a U-turn and HE didnt blame police abuse - he blamed Knox!!

(3) Knox had every chance in the 17 Dec 2007 and later interviews with Mignini to make her case. Big fizzle there.

(4) She had repeated chances in front of supervising magistrate Matteini as well.

(5) Same late Nov 2007 with the monitoring court. Same in early 2008 with the Supreme Court.

(6) Everybody in Perugia knew her own lawyers were repudiating her. In December 2007 a Rome lawyer walked off the case because she lied so much. In early 2008 her own lawyers said publicly that she lied. The legal community knew they did not want an investigation as they knew it would set Knox back and possibly themselves. 

(7) And Cassation in confirming the calunnia conviction noted she said exactly the same things while provably NOT under duress which is why the calunnia conviction stuck.

Plus the Boninsegna “They were too nice to her, the meanies” stuff? Gimme a break!  The ECHR should have faulted Knox’s lawyer, if anyone, not Italy.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 02/08/19 at 06:13 AM | #

Thing is, in their submissions, Italy was too complacent to mention any of this.  It just took it for granted it was out of time (which on the face of it, it certainly is). 

In addition, being a court focussed on ‘human rights’, as opposed to guilt or non-guilt, it didn’t find Italy’s submission adequate that Knox and her lawyers never lodged a complaint.  From the perceptive of its Article 3, the reasoning is that if degrading/inhumane treatment has set in, then it is ipso facto under the radar, as it were, and concealed, so a formal complaint could well be futile…? 

OTOH it found ZERO evidence she had been degraded, other than the loss of dignity in one or two cops being smarmy, so Knox lost big time in failing to substantiate her claims at every step.  For example, reporting it to a doctor or even the US ataché who visited her regularly in prison.

The ECHR threw out her claim of Article 3 abuse, so her script doing the rounds of the Innocence Projects that she was tortured and was coerced into a false confession, rather bites the dust.  However, from her blog she is still sticking by her pet story to justify her treatment of Lumumba. 

I would predict Dalla Vedova and Knox will let the whole thing quietly drop, rather than appealing to the ECHR Grand Chamber or demanding a revision trial from Italy.

So in all, a pyrrhic victory for Knox.  Won a couple of crumbs, lost the cake.

Posted by KrissyG on 02/08/19 at 02:31 PM | #

Basically, the function of the ECHR is to hold member states of the Convention to adequate incorporation of safeguards for human rights in their legislation and to monitor and enforce that on receipt of complaints.

Being informed of the right to have a lawyer is one such safeguard, applicable from the moment when the person to be questioned is deemed to be a suspect in the commission of a criminal offence.

Italian law goes further in insisting that the person to be questioned have a lawyer whether or not he or she wants one.

That’s the basis of the ECHR’s main finding and most of us always expected that this could be the case.

Given that Sollecito had just contradicted his and Knox’s joint alibi it is fairly obvious that Knox was a suspect (of sorts, anyway) from that moment on. She had to be questioned to explain why (apparently) she had deliberately lied to the police.

However, I quite understand why the police did not want a pause for that (a lawyer and presumably a further interpreter to be arranged) but wanted to push on while the iron was hot. They had a killer to track down and needed to know with whom Knox had been exchanging texts just prior to the time that Knox (according to Sollecito) had left him and gone out on her own.

Viewed in that context the violation was a minor infraction.The last thing they would have expected was that Knox would suddenly place herself both at the scene and at the moment of the murder and accuse Lumumba of the crime.

It is arguable that had Knox had a lawyer present she would not have done that. That is possible, but we would not know what advice she would have had, or whether she would have paid any attention to it. A fundamental contradiction as to her whereabouts had arisen that would not be removed by her refusing to comment or by claiming that Sollecito was lying, and as a consequence the chances are that she would be detained until it was sorted out. Knowing Knox we know she would not have wanted that. I think it likely she would have placed her lawyer in a difficult position.

In the event she did maliciously slander/defame/libel Lumumba (4 times in fact) and no infraction of the rules can hold her non-accountable for doing that.

One can bend this a bit, as Boninsenga subsequently did with regard to the defamation of the police officers, but only because the allegation in that case was nothing like as serious in it’s obvious consequences. Also, the allegation that she had been cuffed and tortured could hardly have arisen in the first place had a lawyer been present.

It would be interesting to know what investigations the ECHR had in mind, and how and why this would have made any difference. The police investigating themselves? The matter was investigated by the courts which surely was enough.

In any event, not arranging for a lawyer aside, Knox’s narrative as to police misconduct has now been trashed. No court has so held.  Oh wait! She was robbed of her dignity because the police and the interpreter were too familiar with her. But that’s just what she wanted with her little girl act. Truly pathetic.

Posted by James Raper on 02/08/19 at 03:04 PM | #

The police didn’t have enough evidence to make Amanda Knox an official suspect on 5 November 2007. It was until she voluntarily placed herself at the crime scene and claimed she had brought Meredith’s killer back to the cottage that she became a suspect.

Posted by The Machine on 02/08/19 at 11:38 PM | #

Hi James and Machine

I have yet to see anyone convincingly say: “Exactly at this point, or exactly at that point, a defense lawyer should have been inserted into the process - regardless of Knox’s will and even if questions were not being asked.”

Our understanding of what happened on 6-7 Nov at the Questura is even now after all these years firming up in periodic tiny leaps. The ECHR is of course way, way back there.

Even Mignini’s arrest justification doesn’t go so far as to say conclusively “They did it” and all he seems to have “known” then is that here was a very frightened girl accidentally present when Patrick attacked and stabbed Meredith to death, and both for provisional reasons were now in custody.

So Knox was potentially guilty (a suspect) of exactly what? Seemingly at most of not reporting a crime? Not enabling it, not being party to it, scared out of her wits, lucky to get off with her own life?

Not a lot of juries would convict her just on that, Italian juries least of all. 

Now James wrote above: “Given that Sollecito had just contradicted his and Knox’s joint alibi it is fairly obvious that Knox was a suspect…”

But had he? Was it? I’d like to hear more from James on this as its not really clear to me that Sollecito had done just that.

First, his deposition (which we will soon have up in English) is timed at 03:30 am, which is 1 and 3/4 hours after Knox signed hers.

Second, it merely says that she told him she was going down to Patrick’s bar maybe to meet some friends. (Most of the deposition is about the next day.)

In effect, inoccuosly out, not off causing harm. He does not aggressively drop her in it. As far as he knew she could be required to work that night anyway.

Third, one of the surprises of our translations of Ficarra, Napoleoni, etc testifying about 5-6 Nov is that they denied giving Knox any hint of whatever reality Sollecito was sticking to prior to 1.45 am.

They all knew Knox was working on a list of names with Ficarra. She did that with phone numbers and maps.

THE ECHR WAS IGNORANT OF THIS. They use “interrogation” SEVENTEEN TIMES whereas to me they should not have used it even once.

When asked if there were possibly any more names she passed over her phone.  They saw this outgoing text to Patrick replying to an incoming which was not on the phone.

She could easily have said “Oh that was just Patrick ha ha ha saying he had too few customers that night. But I popped down to the bar anyway.” 

Instead, in a heartbeat Knox escalated into the wailing and hitting of herself and “It was him, him”. That continued on and off for the rest of the night even though Ficarra, Donnino and others tried to put her mind more at rest.

This was the claim that was duly typed up and as usual Knox signed each page - long before Sollecito in another room signed his. PRIOR to that Knox was advised to have a lawyer. But she shrugged and wanted to get it put down.

She sure likes getting things put down, for better and worse - usually worse.


For those who may have missed this, there’s a general suspicion among officialdom that Knox was on an extended drug high from 2 to 6 Nov and that her thinking skills and emotional control were not the best.

That could have been a defense. But it was seemingly Knox’s parents who blocked that - not knowing how firm the proof was that Knox was in bed with her dealer and stinking of cat-pee (a cocaine-use indicator) on 2 Nov.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 02/09/19 at 06:42 PM | #

As Krissy G says, “a pyrrhic victory”. Others say Knox got crumbs. The ECHR threw her a bone but completely demolished her victim poor me identity which is the megaphone she shouts through at the Innocence conventions, and on blog. All of that mask the ECHR stripped away. She’ll have to reinvent herself. As James Raper said, it is laughable or rather pathetic how Knox points fingers at police for eroding her dignity when she was the one sobbing, screaming and crying out for sympathy with her little girl act.

The ECHR has left Knox without a leg to stand on when she claims police coerced her into falsely accusing Lumumba. Chieffi said No, just No.

And to ratchet up the irony, it is now not an Italian high court but a European court that said Knox was well treated by the Italian system! The delay in getting her a lawyer was their only misstep. Even that mistake is debatable.

The Machine points out that the police did not have enough info on Knox to classify her as a suspect on November 5th. It was her lies about Lumumba that pulled her into the frame of “suspect” which then required an attorney.

And yes, she probably was flying on cocaine and was hallucinatory, out of control the night of the murder and as Peter Quennell speculates “on an extended drug high from 2 to 6 Nov” so that “her thinking skills and emotional control were not the best.” She may have been self-medicating for days after the body was discovered to cope with the police interviews after the first post-murder adrenaline rush cleared her head enough to clean the floors and do crime scene coverup. Fatigue and fear, her own fault. But of course she was dishonest about all of her drug use with police, when it might have become part of her defense: “not in sound mind”. Her parents wanted to stay in denial along with her, nobody seemed to be urging her to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

OT but in a search I made for “does the word ‘Perugia’ have a meaning other than as place name?” and mixed up a homophone search for “parousia”, I stumbled across an article dated 2018 about Perugia celebrating 25th anniversary of the Eurochocolate festival last year, its silver anniversary. Nine days of chocomania, choco statuary, the City of Chocolate they call Perugia. The article quoted Natalie Hayward, the English friend of Meredith’s. It was nothing new but it seemed to bear repeating:

Natalie said, “I want people to remember Meredith for the good times she had in Perugia not just the horrible ending.”

“She was very friendly….She was very warm and open and had a very big heart. She was a very fulfilled human being.”

“She was happy and talked about her family all the time.”

“She had lived life to the full. That gives me a great deal of comfort.”

Natalie was the one who had overheard Knox talking on the phone to her stepfather, Chris Mellas. Knox told stepdaddy she had found the body, that it was in a cupboard and wrapped in a blanket. Hayward thought it was very suspicious how Knox could have known all that.

Hayward gave an interview in 2011, four years after the tragedy, saying why she thought “Amanda Knox Killed my Friend.”

Her interview was about the time the appeals had case watchers on pins and needles. Natalie hoped Knox wouldn’t walk.

After Meredith died, Natalie Hayward left Perugia rather quickly. She was very shook up about the death and continued her studies in Sussex. She went to Regent’s College, she was studying psychology iirc.

Her remarks about Meredith living a very fulfilled life seem to reflect Meredith’s inner integration and maturity. She was a well adjusted person. Meredith was a leader in her own way always encouraging Natalie to go out more in the evenings and get out of her shell.

That was Meredith: wanting the best for others.

It was refreshing to stumble on Natalie’s words again.

Posted by Hopeful on 02/10/19 at 04:25 AM | #

In response to Pete’s comment above I have re-visited the english translations of the testimony of Napoleoni and Ficarra in the Wiki. I have also had a look at the english translation of the Gemelli judgement.

Nothing much to be had from Napoleoni’s testimony although I was surprised to find that she was, in my judgement at least, a rather poor witness, in that I am fairly certain she could have been more helpful to the court than she was.

Ficarra was better, and it is my recollection now that it was her testimony on which I was inclined to rely when writing my book. But I also took into account what Knox also had to say about the questioning, in her trial testimony, and in her book.

This is what Ficarra said -

“She was very calm, she was calm because we had a quiet chat, I said “Since you came here yourself, no-one called you, you’re giving me extra information, let’s write it down properly, because there could be very important details for us”. She had understood very well that ... And she was calm, she says [sic] “Yes, yes, ok. let’s wait for the interpreter that way we avoid misunderstandings”, and that is what we did. The problem [is] that at a certain point, the problem, that is to say, the fact that at a certain point there was a colleague from the SCO [NdT “Servizio centrale operativo”, Central operations service], who came from the place where they were listening to Raffaele Sollecito. And then after that came the Deputy Commissioner Monica Napoleoni, who says to me that Sollecito had said different things, that in effect he was no longer giving an alibi to Amanda, and therefore to ask Amanda, since I was recording [NdT in the sense “writing down what was said”] her - [or] I had started to report/write down - to ask what the latter had done that evening in particular, in other words, to focus on that evening more than on anything else we were interested in the hour more or less preceeding ...”

And then, just a little later -

“So, they called me to tell me that there were contradictions and I heard her [i.e. what she had to say] about these contradictions. At the time when she was heard, she was asked to show us her mobile phone in order to check just in case whether in the memory there were messages that referred to appointments that evening…”

In Napoleoni’s testimony she never mentioned this, nor was asked about it.

However, the chronology is clear enough from what Ficarra is saying. Sollecito had contradicted Knox’s alibi and this was prior to Ficarra’s questioning on the exchange of texts which led to Knox’s accusation re Lumumba.

The fact that Sollecito’s statement was timed at 3.30 am merely means that was the time (more or less) when he signed his statement.

Knox maintains, at least in her book, that she had been told about Sollecito’s volte face by Napoleoni (“sneeringly”, she writes) prior to her questioning by Ficarra with the interpreter present.

This isn’t specifically mentioned in her Memorial. She merely mentions that Sollecito was saying that he had been asked to lie for her. I have not checked her trial testimony.

Apart from what Knox writes in her book I can not find any evidence (yet) that Knox had been told about Sollecito’s volte face before her accusation, but whether she was, or not, is immaterial from the point of view as to whether she should have been deemed a suspect or not.

It’s what the police were thinking, or at any rate what the police ought to have been thinking. Because that’s relevant as to when procedural safeguards should kick in. Napoleoni did her best to skirt around all that in her testimony despite being pressed on it in cross-examination.

The Gemelli judgement is actually rather obtuse in it’s legalese and difficult for me to follow. It does, however, seem to suggest that Knox was not a formal suspect until her 1.45 statement. Until, or for the purpose of? It does not say (as far as I can see) why Knox was a suspect though I suspect it was because she had just placed herself at the scene of the murder.

The ECHR, it would appear, disagreed. and I have some sympathy with that position. If what you have been saying as to your whereabouts over the time when the murder of your flatmate has occurred has just been contradicted by the one person who ought to know about things like that - indeed it is asserted that you have been lying about it - then I think one has a suspect, don’t you think?

At the very least you ought to be suspected of lying to the police, a serious matter in a murder investigation. One thing leads to another.

It is difficult to know what evidence makes someone a formal suspect but clearly this is not the same as having evidence sufficient enough to lay formal charges. It has to be common sense with the police erring on the side of caution, or at least I would say that but for the fact that I have considerable sympathy with the police pushing on.

Posted by James Raper on 02/10/19 at 02:50 PM | #

@hopeful You are as succinct and insightful as ever.

You and James are right about the ‘I’m just a little kid/girl in distress’ act.  They empathize with her plight and try to comfort her… only to get a kick in the teeth and publicly told off for doing so. 

Even in her blog readily prepared for the ECHR verdict of 24 Jan 2019, Knox writes: “I trusted these people. They were adults. “

As if she was a child and they were ‘adults’, when in reality, half the cops were also in their twenties.

She forgot to erase from her blog all the claims of abuse, degradation and inhumane treatment of which she signally failed to produce any evidence.

So she won on a procedural Article 3 point, that the police should have been triggered int performing their own investigation, given she was going around to all and sundry claiming all kinds of abuses.  As a court for human rights, I think that’s a fair enough viewpoint.

As for the Article 6 breaches, the ECHR rejects Italy’s claim that a lawyer was offered but declined, as it wasn’t noted in the police minutes.  However, in the submissions sent to it and which it quotes, Knox claims she was *told* that if she accepted the offer of a lawyer it would look bad, as though she was refusing to cooperate.

Quite aside from Knox by her own account confirming a lawyer *was* offered her (thus repudiating her own claim), I wonder if anybody for a minute believes such a ridiculous story; i.e., that the police offered her a lawyer but then threatened her with an accusation of non-cooperation if she accepted?  It’s a blatant likely story.  By no stretch of imagination would the police willingly breach protocol and potentially damage their case.

Anybody in that position would have said yes, straightaway.  Unless you are guilty and want to keep up a charade of nonchalance.

Posted by KrissyG on 02/10/19 at 05:51 PM | #


I think it could be argued, as you might have done in the past, that Sollecito’s revelation to the police that Knox had gone out without him and didn’t return until 1:00 am wasn’t actually recorded and signed off until they have finished their interview with him, which as you say, was close on 3:00 am, by which time, Knox had done and dusted her own statement.

The way you describe events above, I can’t help wandering whether Knox had already germinated an idea in her mind that, if it looked as though she was involved, blaming Patrick was a possible defence strategy.  Thus, whilst the ‘see you later’ message was a sheer accident of fate, it was the opportune moment for her alter-alibi to kick in.

If you recall, Crini, for the prosecution, in the Nencini Appeal Court submitted that a false alibi is in itself a piece of criminal evidence.  It was pointed out that the pair had several versions, every single one of them a lie, with nobody to vouch for their alibis except each other. 

Even then Sollecito has refused to substantiate Knox’ alibi (that she was with him at his flat all evening) ever since his police statement of 5-6th Nov 2007.

Posted by KrissyG on 02/10/19 at 06:05 PM | #

Hi Hopeful

On the timely mention of Meredith’s English circle, Natalie Hayward is the third from the left (at the back in a white scarf) in this photo below (click for larger).

The others are Sophie Purton, Amy Frost, Jade Bidwell, Samantha Rodenhurst (at the back), Helen Powell, and Robyn Butterworth. (Samantha was the only one extensively interviewed on TV in Italian and British reporting; the Italian report which we have has Italian voice-over but it was obvious how she was hurting.)


Below is Natalie Hayward being quoted in the excellent book “Meredith” by John, Meredith’s father.

One of those friends, Natalie Hayward, recalls the first time she met Meredith. She had been studying history and Italian at the University of Sussex and says: ‘I had chosen to study in Perugia because I had heard that it was beautiful and romantically old, in addition to being quite international. When I arrived, I managed to find accommodation in an apartment with a couple of Italian girls.

‘When I began studying at the University for Foreigners, that was when I met Meredith and Amy Frost, the friend she had made. Because the three of us were the only English students in the class, we became known as “Little Britain”.

‘I didn’t think that Meredith was English at first, as she looked Spanish or French; she had a Mediterranean look. But when I spoke to her and Amy and found that they were both English and staying in Perugia, I was pleased, because a lot of the students I had come to know were leaving. So it was really nice to have some new friends.

‘I was so encouraged by the fact that Meredith accepted me, because I wasn’t a particularly confident person. But she was always texting me to come out with her and other people and trying to include me in things, which I appreciated.

‘It was always amusing how she would be late for lectures, but she was exceptionally good at taking lecture notes. You might not have thought it, but she worked so hard. I was jokingly jealous of her note-taking. The Italian lecturers would speak so quickly and be quite complicated, but Meredith could keep up with them. It was quite different from what we had come to expect at our respective British universities.

‘Socially, Meredith was wonderful to be with. She was always smiling and making us laugh. She was never judgemental. And she and Amy would walk miles for a low-price meal! There was one student diner that was down a long hill, and they would travel all the way down and climb back up again for a meal that only cost a few euros.’

Following the tragedy of Meredith’s death, Natalie returned to England to continue her studies and obtain her degree.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 02/10/19 at 06:14 PM | #

awwwwww…Meredith’s lovely friends. Seven darlings, among them “Little Britain” as Natalie Hayward and Meredith and Amy Frost were called. Good times.

Posted by Hopeful on 02/11/19 at 12:38 AM | #

For anyone interested there is an english version of the Italian Criminal Procedure Code in PDF on the following link.

The following may be helpful -

Article 60 states that a suspect becomes an accused person when he is charged with an offence (obviously).

Article 61 states that the rights and safeguards of the accused person extend to the suspected person.

Article 63 states -

1. If a person who is not accused or suspected makes statements before the judicial authority or the criminal police that raise suspicion of guilt against him, the proceeding authority shall interrupt the examination, warn him that, following such statements, investigations may be carried out on him, and advise him to appoint a lawyer. Such statements shall not be used against the person who has made them.

2. If the person should have been heard as an accused or a suspect from the beginning, his statements shall not be used.

In our case the police say that Article 63 (1) is precisely what happened, certainly as regards her oral statement that it was Patrick who was responsible for the murder.

I have been maintaining that whether or not Knox requested a lawyer the police were obliged to appoint one for her from the moment she should have been deemed to be a suspect which, it can be argued (Article 63 (2)), would be before she accused Patrick. However that is not blindingly obvious from my reading of the ICPC.

As an accused person the court is obliged to appoint one for her but aside from that there does not seem to be anything mandatory covering the investigation stage, and interviewing suspects, beyond the giving of notification of entitlement to a lawyer in the case of a suspect.

However, perhaps the above has to be read in the light of Article 61 and further legal clarifications or codes of practice on the it’s meaning?

Knox was obviously a suspect (for the murder) at the time she signed her first statement at 1.45 am, prior to which she was advised as to her right to a lawyer. But did they have to have a lawyer present when she had declined the offer?

I am really not sure, but then there are the Gemelli and ECHR judgements.

Posted by James Raper on 02/11/19 at 04:33 PM | #

Sure thing James. The idea that either was holding their breaths waiting for lawyers is laughable. Each thought themselves super-smart. Again and again there was tension reported between Knox and her lawyers and RS and his lawyers. The RS and AK side of it is right there in both their books. RS whacks Maori a dozen times. Example here.

Then something very strange happened. My father found it impossible to get through to Luca Maori’s law office. Papà had been in almost daily contact because Maori’s assistants, Donatella Donati and Marco Brusco, were cataloging and analyzing all the trial materials as they came in. Now Papà could not get them to return his calls.

At length he went to Perugia to confront Maori directly. Nobody greeted him as he entered the office; he had the sense everyone was shrinking away from him. What was going on? He marched right up to Maori and demanded an explanation.

“It looks bad, very bad,” Maori told him. “This Gioffredi is a credible guy and I don’t know that we can counter him.”

My father was incredulous. The man charged with taking on my defense was not only freezing him out; Maori plainly believed I might actually be guilty.

All of us knew from the beginning that Maori had doubts about taking on the case. We chalked it up to his uncertainty about Amanda, which my family understood and largely shared. To be fair, the issue was not just whether I was innocent. The longer the case went on and the more rulings went against me, the greater the risk to Maori’s reputation and career in Perugia. Still, we had to wonder, if he had this little faith in me, why had he gotten involved at all?

Papà told him about the data from my computer, but still Maori was skeptical. “Why don’t you let me see it?” he asked.

My father didn’t have the data with him, but he said his brother, Giuseppe, could fax it over. The atmosphere in Maori’s office was thick with mistrust and pent-up emotion as they waited for the fax
[page 159]

to arrive. Five minutes, ten minutes passed. My father got on the phone with my brother; something seemed to be wrong with his fax machine. Then Maori’s machine started acting up. Time continued to tick by, and Maori grew ever frostier.

Finally, the pages started to come through. Maori read them, nodded, and picked up the phone to speak to Donati and Brusco. Clearly he was telling them it was okay to talk to the Sollecitos again. Maori’s coldness vanished in an instant, replaced by his habitual charm. He wanted my father to believe everything was back to normal, as though the entire episode had simply not occurred.

My father, though, was apoplectic. He said nothing, but he knew he could never fully trust Luca Maori again.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 02/14/19 at 05:37 PM | #

A technical headsup.

The site froze again the other day, showing a 500 server error. We are best advised to move the site from a Windows based server (IIS/ASP environment) to a Linux based server. This will assure that the very fine work here by so many over 10-plus years will remain available for the long term.

The pro-level software we run on is actually written in PHP not ASP/NET; but version 5, the newest software version, is so much more optimized for Linux control and stability. The last update to our version 1 was 5-plus years ago). The actual creators of the software will do the transfer.

Nine-tenths of what we can see to do on the case, and so convert main media (our big target), is done, and the rest (the many mini overviews) may be complete fairly shortly - though each time we translate one of the trove of docs on the Wiki we get new surprises! Even now the majority of the docs on the Wiki is not translated. Thanks, Italy, for documenting the case so carefully.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 02/21/19 at 03:13 PM | #

This “I’m the victim” interview should resonate here.

Today the TV actor Jussie Smollet was arrested in Chicago - for making all of it up and staging a hate-crime.

The interview is ABC’s Jackie Roberts, who also colluded with Amanda Knox.

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Posted by Peter Quennell on 02/22/19 at 01:20 AM | #
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