Everyone has a differing opinion on the trial of Amanda Knox and subsequent appeal that was upheld by the Italian courts. And invariably, the viewpoint one takes is usually tainted by what side of the pond you happen to be on.
Most Americans readily attest to their belief that she was innocent right from the very start. These are the same Americans who when asked, would be hard pressed to tell you what country Perugia was in, let alone admit to having even bothered to keep up with the case itself, other than the “unbiased” reports from their favourite source of news, FOX.
And most Brits would readily agree that they instantly knew she was guilty “just from the look of her“, when they caught a glimpse of her either transiting from the police van to the court house, or as she sat stoically and silent in the court room during her trial.
But is the upholding of her appeal the righting of a miscarriage of justice, or is it simply a case of the judiciary having fallen for the beguiling and (some might say, but not me) pretty Miss Knox?
Personally, I think it is a miscarriage of justice. Not in the sense that the Americans think, that Knox’s innocence has been vindicated, but that the Italians have somehow managed to let a murderer loose, back on the streets. In fact, they’ve managed to let two out, as her ex-boyfriend, Sollecito, was also released after the courts ruling.
So how did we end up in such a farcical situation? Well, for starters, the Italian appeals process offers more guarantees to defendants than any other legal system in the world, whereby only the weakest evidence is treated, not the whole case. Knox’s team only had to attack the DNA evidence against her to undermine the whole edifice of the original trial. Italy has one of lowest prison populations in the world because of its lenient appeals process.
Then there was the bungling of the investigation and the gathering of forensic evidence. The contamination of samples, lost evidence and disputed procedures gave the aura of generalised incompetence by the Italian authorities. An independent review raised doubt over the attribution of some of the DNA traces, which were collected from the crime scene 46 days after the murder.
Weak witnesses on the part of the prosecution, and Knox’s rigid defense of her character and claims that the prosecution entered into a ploy of character assassination may have also swayed the Judges in her favour.
But her character assassination was not without merits. Afterall, she was quick to point the finger at her old boss, Diya “Patrick” Lumumba, of murdering poor Meredith Kercher. Of course, Lumumba was later found to be innocent when he could prove he was nowhere near the scene of the murder on the night in question. She was also seen on camera kissing and canoodling with her boyfriend, Rafaelle Sollecito, outside the cottage where Meredith’s body was found. On the day her body was found, they were seen in the town centre buying lingerie together, with Knox overheard promising Sollecito a night of “wild sex“. Now I don’t know about you, but that would not exactly be top of the agenda for me if I had just found my flat-mates mutilated corpse in the same house I shared with her. But then, I’m not Foxy Knoxy, am I? Who knows what goes on in the depraved mind of an acquitted sociopath killer.
But the simple fact of the matter is that the Italian law is specifically designed to grant the accused more leniency was enough to get her off. Had she been accused and found guilty elsewhere, in say Russia, things might look a whole lot different.
So what does a successful murderer-cum-media celebrity, recently sprung from the joint do now? Well, Knox can go off and make another killing, this time by selling her story. As crass, cheap and vulgar as it may sound, there is no doubt that the American media machine has already swung into action offering all sorts from Breakfast Show appearances, book deals and movie rights. Knox stands to make millions out of all this. Afterall, her bleeding heart parents were frequently in the press telling them about how they had to re-mortgage the family home to pay for the legal fees. So her parents will gladly jump on the media gravy train to recoup their costs. And what’s worse is those die-hard liberals will lap up her horror stories of life in an Italian women’s prison.
So, Knox is happy she’s out of prison, the court is happy with ruling, feeling justice has been served and they have upheld the rights of the accused, and the police can take some solace in the fact that they still managed to imprison SOMEONE for Meredith’s murder…. a token black man who was also a known drugs dealer, and the media is happy because this story still potentially has legs as the prosecution prepare for the upcoming appeal. Chances are though that the sly and beguiling Knox will never set foot on Italian soil again, for fear that she’ll be found guilty a second time.
Fat lot of good her new found fluency in Italian will do her now.