Thursday, April 02, 2009

Criminal Charges Almost Certain For Serious Disrespecting Of Meredith

Posted by Jools



[above: the Telenorba reporter who may soon be among those facing charges]

Raffaele Sollecito comes from Bari. Precisely one year ago, the local Bari TV station Telenorba did the almost unthinkable.

It broadcast some crime-scene video of Meredith. They showed her lying half-naked on her back on the floor, with the wounds to her throat clearly visible.

The footage was then picked up by the Italian state broadcaster, RAI, and it was rebroadcast a number of times.  Still shots ended up in a number of newspapers. And a video of the broadcast ended up on YouTube where (as of this morning) it still remains.

All of which now appears almost certain to attract a number of criminal charges.

Here is Richard Owen of the London Times describing the broadcast one year ago.

Relatives of Meredith Kercher, the British student murdered in Perugia in November, were said to be shocked and distressed last night after images of her bloodied corpse were broadcast on Italian television…

Telenorba, which showed the footage late at night, warned viewers that it was disturbing and suitable only for adults. It showed police scientists in white protective clothing pulling back the duvet to reveal Ms Kercher’s body and slashed throat, and turning the corpse over to examine her bloodied back.

Her eyes were covered by a mask. RAI did not include this part of the footage in its news broadcasts.

And here is the report in the Daily Mail also one year ago.

The Kerchers’ lawyer, Francesco Maresca, said: “This is an example of gross journalistic misconduct, which evidently violates all the rules of how to report a story….

Anna Maria Ferretti, the director of the leading Italian TV programme Antenna Sud, said: “For five minutes of television, the ultimate taboo has been broken without any shame.”

Italy’s Order of Journalists has asked for the video to be confiscated so that it is not shown again and a repeat of the programme that had been due to air on Tuesday night was cancelled…

Enzo Magistra, the editor of the programme, defended the show and insisted it had not meant to cause offence.

He said: “When I decided to transmit the images of Meredith’s corpse, I did not have the least intention of violating anyone’s dignity, but merely to do my job with respect to an important event.”

Sparked by a complaint from Mr Maresca for the Kerchers, the Perugia prosecutor initiated a one-year investigation.

And yesterday the outcome was announced. This is a translation of the report in La Nazione.

The prosecutor of Perugia has served notice of the completion of four investigations into Raffaele Sollecito’s family members and two journalists of the TV station Telenorba on the transmission of a forensic video in which the body of Meredith Kercher wa shown…

The report on the investigations (usually a prelude to a request for trial) indicates crimes were committed of defamation, invasion of privacy, publication of arbitrary acts of investigation and publication of gruesome acts.

According to the reconstruction by the Perugia prosecutor, the father and sister of Raphael Sollecito had legitimately obtained the scientific survey of the police, and had then illegally provided it to Telemundo.

The report also cites a journalist and the editor of Panorama for the publication of an article in which they reported that blood samples from Meredith had revealed an alcohol concentration above the legal norm - implying she was drunk when she was killed. This claim was proved a lie in the course of the forensic tests.

And this is a translation from the AGI news-service website.

Eight “notices of termination of the investigations” have been reported by the public prosecutor of Perugia…  Four Sollecito family members, the TV journalist on Telenorba and the director of the station, are accused of the crimes of defamation, invasion of privacy, publication of documents during the investigation, and publication of gruesome acts….

According to the reconstruction, the Sollecito family members delivered to Telenorba the video and photos of the crime scene survey carried out by the forensic team on November 2 of 2007 in Meredith’s house. Telenorba then put the material on the air.

Other investigations are on-going.

The YouTube video of the Telenoirba broadcast as of this morning had had over 9,000 looks. It is in an area for adults only, and it requires registration to get in.

Notwithstanding, these are typical of the angry comments in Italian that appear right under the video.

This video is a disgrace to every individual. There’s a girl who is no more, a family suffering for this, and now has to suffer public humiliation ... Let us never forget that the right to dignity and decency of the victims, especially if already dead.

*********

The video should be removed. The right to record is in conflict with the respect and devotion of the deceased. The publication of such images add nothing to the journalistic chronicle

Mr Maresca, who is in legal practice in Florence, appears to us to have fought hard for the rights of Meredith and the Kerchers.

He put the case for a closed trial (which the Knox and Sollecito forces bitterly fought) and he won the court’s agreement that the most disturbing segments at least would be closed to the journalists and the public. 

Here is the Times report on his battle then with the defendants’ families.

Mr Maresca said Italian law provided for trials in cases of sexual violence to be closed to the public, at the discretion of the judge. He said that showing graphic photographs and video footage of Ms Kercher’s body and the murder scene in open court could do injury to her memory.

Mr Maresca said that 280 journalists had been accredited for the pre-trial hearings, which were held in camera. This led to reporters and photographers trying to snatch pictures of the accused as they arrived and left the court, with defence lawyers and prosecutors besieged by the media outside the courtroom.

And to counteract the massive and pervasive spin being put on every development in the trial, Mr Maresca has been sharp and outspoken on what the growing body of evidence implies.

Other apparent attempts by the Sollecito family to interfere with the course of justice, as suggested in telephone intercepts, are still being investigated by the Perugia prosecutor. Mr Mignini is famous in Italy for fighting for victims’ rights to the maximum.

Mr Maresca is clearly doing a fine job in protecting Meredith’s dignity and the peace of mind of her poor family.

And this throws a MAJOR shot across the bows of the families of the defendants, if they incline to further disparaging of Meredith.

[below: the Kercher family lawyer Francesco Maresca; his office is in Florence]






Comments

This in from someone who knows Mr Maresca:

**********

Maresca is a seasoned criminal lawyer and has more experience than the other lawyers in defending criminals. He is studied and cool under pressure. Good strategist, etc. Would be a different case if he were defending Knox.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 04/02/09 at 08:27 PM | #

Great post Jools! Thanks!
As much as I would like to be permitted to attend the hearing with the medical reports, I certainly do understand the need for privacy here.

Also, I have spoken with Maresca and heard him speak with reporters. He seems as sharp as he looks. I have been a bit critical of Ghirga for a number of reasons not the least of which was allowing his client to make a statement in court (about being hit) which was completely the opposite of what he said in public previously, when he said she was NOT hit. Madonna!

I have also witnessed testimony specifically about AK that was somewhat contradictory, and therefore allowed him a great opportunity to jump in and help AK. Instead he sat quietly, hand on chin, and said “niente domanda”..no questions.
I chalk it up to the fact that I don’t know Italian law, and there will probably be another opportunity. Other times I think…mmmm this kid is sinking and could probably use a better defense. As I always say, vediamo.

Kudos!
Stew

Posted by stewarthome2000 on 04/02/09 at 09:57 PM | #

Thanks for taking the time to bring us this information, Jools. It is very timely given that the family has asked for a closed door hearing tomorrow precisely because they do not want these gruesome images to end up on youtube. It is a pity that the footage supplied by the Sollecito family to Telenorba is still out there. Whoever made its distribution possible should be punished accordingly.

Posted by Skeptical Bystander on 04/03/09 at 01:35 AM | #

Thank you for this information, Jools. I am pleased Mignini didn’t let the Sollecitos get away with it. They are ruthless and unethical people and deserve to be punished. The TV journalists who got along with this should be banned from the Italian Press Association for good.

Posted by Nicki on 04/03/09 at 01:40 AM | #

Hey Times, the media is not the only circus in town.  From their far away trailer park in Seattle “Buggy the clown” Mellas and his “contra-auguste sidekick” Goofy will surely give them a run for their money.

Let’s just see if they can imagine, for one moment, it could have been their daughter.  Do they even know what the word RESPECT means?  If they fail to rise to the occasion this weekend it will be time to slam the BIG TOP down.  Hard.

Meredith, justice is coming.

Posted by Professor Snape on 04/03/09 at 02:23 AM | #

Jools,

Thank you for bringing this to everyone’s attention.  Being in Seattle, the focus seems to always be on the Knox/Mellas family and FOA and what antics they’re up to.

The Sollecito’s need to be held accountable for this grave error in judgment.  It will be interesting to watch this go forward.  For instance, I wonder if Raffaele Sollecito’s sister will continue to be employed as a policewoman when all is said and done?  Shame on all of them…

Great report!

Posted by Tara on 04/03/09 at 02:41 AM | #

FOAK but no FORS

Hmmmm, now I see why there is not an organization for Raphaelle similar to the one for Amanda.  The FORS group is already up to their eyeballs in trying to subvert justice.  Meredith Kercher seems to have been good people.  It is a shame she had to come to such an ignominius end, she had so much to contribute.  But to add insult to injury…

I have said befoire that FOAK was acting at cross purposes with the AK’s best interest because they were focusing so much attention on the case that justice could not easily be thwarted.  It appears thet FORS wasn’t doing such a good job either.  They apparentlt have people in the legislature (I think) and people on the police force (I think).  If it wasn’t for FOAK, they might have been able to get RS special treatment (in other words, he’d be in graduate school now).

On a positive note, I just checkout the video.  IMHO, it is of such poor quality that I don’t think it will have much of an impact on Meredith’s legacy.  It is very unfortunate that it was made public but it could have been so much more graphic.  Looks like they even blew this.  It hurts them far worse than it hurts Mez.  Your site shows her in a way that totally overshadows this video (again, in my opinion).

Arnold Layne

Posted by Arnold_Layne on 04/03/09 at 03:06 AM | #

Names of those to be charged have now beem published in Italy.

In addition to Sollecito’s father Dr Francesco Sollecito, they apparently include Sollecito’s sister Vanessa Sollecito, who is an officer in the Carabinieri in Rome, and Sollecito’s stepmother Mary (known as Mara), and an Aunt Rosaria Achilles.

The names of the Telenorba staff to be charged are apparently the director Enzo Magistère and the reporter Anthony Procacci.

Those on the Panorama staff who published lies about the alcohol content of Meredith’s blood were apparently director Mauritius Belpietro and columnist Anthony Rossitto.

Tips on all eight would be appreciated. We will be keeping a very close eye on this story. It wont be the only post we have up. Great reporting there by Jools.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 04/03/09 at 07:11 AM | #

Hi Peter,

I cant understand WHY Francesco Sollecito and his cronies would want to, or feel they would benefit from making these videos of Meredith public?

This affair has just snow balled, I wonder if amanda sits in her cell and thinks about all the trouble and suffering she has caused. What a stupid selfish little girl she is.

Posted by Tammy on 04/03/09 at 12:06 PM | #

“I cant understand WHY Francesco Sollecito and his cronies would want to, or feel they would benefit from making these videos of Meredith public?”

Tammy, the intent was once again - as both teams of defense supporters have done so often before - to slam into the police and the crime team. The video is an attempt to slime them for the methods they used.

Professionals here in NYC who follow the case (and have seen the video) have very few criticism of how the crime scene was handled - and a great many criticisms of that intensely misleading video.

Who knows? Doc Soll may end up occupying the cell right next to his boy there - except, of course, if convicted Raffaele will be headed for the sex offenders wing. So will Amanda Knox.

And yeah: snowball is right.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 04/03/09 at 01:29 PM | #

Arnold, nicely put, the two defense groups sure did work at cross-purposes, and the sliming of the Italian police and justice system and lead players has rebounded to hurt both the defendants.

“[The YouTube] is of such poor quality that I don’t think it will have much of an impact on Meredith’s legacy.  It is very unfortunate that it was made public but it could have been so much more graphic.”

YouTubes often come across as being of poor quality, because there is a limit placed on the size and type of video file. A good broadcast quality video would need to be “compressed” by maybe 10X to get the YouTube site to upload it.

This YouTube was somewhat redacted too (edited) to show less than everything that was broadcast (the YouTube enterprise has a lot of lawyers checking the content of its videos) and the still images of Meredith taken from the fuller version that was broadcast were of excellent quality.

So there is a very compelling case against those charged. Poor quality of a YouTube wont get them off the hook. Justice for Meredith demands this case be tried. And the universal principles at stake here do too.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 04/03/09 at 02:13 PM | #

Is there no way of getting the video off Youtube? If people complain about its content can it not be removed? I haven’t seen it, and don’t want to, but there are sick people who will look not out of interest but to get a thrill. I can’t bare the thought of Meredith being used in this way. She deserves peace.

Posted by Ginny on 04/03/09 at 03:29 PM | #

At Frank’s blog I was shocked to find out someone would publish proudly photos from the crime scene, Meredith’s bloodied body and close-ups of her wounds. Even though the photos have been blurred a bit, there are still very graphic. As far as I understand from the comments at Frank’s blog, the maintainer of the blog tries to prove the lone-wolf-theory:  http://alternatetheories-perugiamurder.blogspot.com/

What strikes me is that someone must have leaked those photos in the first place. Of what value would that be? Another Knox/Mellas attempt to convince the public of the lone-wolf-theory? I can hardly imagine this blog would have an impact. Did any of you know it even exist?

My heart goes out to the Kercher family. They have to endure all this pain and on top of that they are expected to tolerate bloggers who search for their 5 minutes of fame at their cost under the pretence of free speech. Shameless.

Posted by Nell on 10/05/09 at 04:46 PM | #

Just wondered whether any Italian readers had any further information on the charges and court case described above? 

Lola

Posted by Lola on 07/26/10 at 03:57 PM | #

Hi Lola. It was postponed. Not even in Italy well reported.

We do need more details. Seems now everyone is either at the beach or headed there! The Mediterranean countries (where air conditioning is still rare by US standards and not cheap to run) is having very warm weather and things really do slow down.

This time last year we posted about a heat wave. Knox beefs about the heat, but at least she can get to just lie around all day.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 07/26/10 at 10:00 PM | #


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