Thursday, July 30, 2015

Problems With Fred Davies #1: Did Guede’s Separate Trial REALLY Impact Negatively On RS And AK?

Posted by James Raper

1. Summary Of The Complaints

I want to write about the separate trials of Guede on the one hand and Knox and Sollecito on the other.

This feature has often been criticized by the apologists for Knox and Sollecito, and I was surprised to learn just recently that their gripe seems to have some support in learned establishments in the UK! Ahem.

The gripe concerns the Fast Track trial of Rudy Guede, and the consequent Supreme Court confirmation of his conviction, with the apologists arguing that these had an adverse and unfair effect upon the proceedings in which Knox and Sollecito were involved. It is based on the simple fact that Guede chose to be tried separately, this being seen as an unfair complication for the administration of justice in the Italian justice system.

There are a number of complaints that the usual apologists have regarding the separate trial of Guede. Most of these are in fact fantasies as I will address.

These complaints, or constant refrains, which some apologists fondly thought could form the basis of a complaint to the European Court of Human Rights in due course, can be summarised as follows -

    1.  That the proceedings concerning Guede established various tenets the most important one of which was the multiple attacker scenario, and that this unfairly affected Knox and Sollecito bearing in mind that their defence was based on the Lone-Wolf scenario.

    2.  That the evidence in the Guede proceedings could never be effectively challenged by the Knox and Sollecito camps.

    3.  That, in consequence of which, Knox and Sollecito had virtually already been convicted by the judiciary by the time of their own trial.

    4.  That Guede was allowed to give evidence against Knox and Sollecito at both his own trial and at the Hellmann appeal hearing without effective cross-examination. Had this been the case the defence would likely have exposed and demonstrated his sole responsibility for the murder of Meredith Kercher. Indeed had he been tried together with Knox and Sollecito this could well have happened at the Massei trial.

    5.  That Hellmann was right to give no probity value to the content of Guede’s sentencing and the subsequent annulment unfairly allowed material that was prejudicial for the aforesaid reasons into the Nencini Appeal.

    6.  That Guede was induced into electing for a separate trial with the promise of a reduced sentence should he be convicted - this being to prosecution’s advantage re the case against Knox and Sollecito.

2. How Overall The Complaints Are Wrong

I think that we know what fast-track is by now, so I will not dwell on that. Guede’s trial was over relatively quickly. It lasted a month and likely consisted of about 3-4 hearings. There were just a few witnesses called.

The judge, Micheli, in addition, dwelt on all the evidence in the investigative file including witness statements and forensics. This was because Guede was charged with murder “in complicity with others” and because Micheli also had to make the decision whether or not to commit Knox and Sollecito to stand trial as the other accomplices.

Before I address whether or not there could be any justification at all for the apologists’ above complaints I would like to mention that learned quarter to which I referred at the outset.

I recently stumbled (with the help of the apologists’ website) across the Criminal Law and Justice Weekly website.

I was surprised to learn that various articles had been appearing on it under the heading of “The Brutal Killing of Meredith Kercher - A critical examination of the trials and subsequent appeal hearings of Rudy Hermann Guede, Amanda Marie Knox and Raffaele Sollecito.”

Lexis Nexis ( publishers and distributors of legal material to the legal profession in the UK)  describe Criminal Law and Justice as….”the leading weekly resource for criminal law practitioners and all those working within the courts and criminal justice areas.”

The articles are by an F. G Davies, described as a Barrister and listed in Anthony and Berryman’s Magistrates Court Guide as a Deputy Justices Clerk, North Cambridgeshire, in England. He is also a contributor and specialist editor to Justices of the Peace Law Reports.

Online image associated with an annual legal-fees guide which FG Davies edits

Here are two quotes I picked out relevant to this post about separate trials.

“This supports the writer’s contention made earlier that the holding of separate trials for co-accused was wrong in principle and law because the prosecution were alleging that at all three defendants committed the crime acting in concert”


“It provided Guede with a golden opportunity to minimize his part in the attack upon and murder of Meredith Kercher, loading the blame on to Knox and Sollecito who, by this time were suspected to be chief architects of the attack.”

It is of course perfectly true that in the anglo-saxon world Guede would not have had the choice to elect for trial separately from his co-accused. It might have made for a very interesting trial for everyone concerned if he had stood trial together with Knox and Sollecito, but for reasons I will explain later I doubt it, or that Knox and Sollecito would have gained any advantage from it.

Indeed separate trials had rendered a very specific advantage to the Knox and Sollecito camps in that Guede had already been convicted when Knox and Sollecito stood trial, a fact that their PR campaign and followers have drilled home at every conceivable opportunity.

But what on earth does it mean to say that “the holding of a separate trial [for Guede] was wrong in principle and law”?  .

Whose law? Whose principles? Just how deeply does the Deputy Justices Clerk delve into the respective systems of justice (and particularly the Italian one) for a comparative evaluation?

Certainly on the basis of a quick read of his articles I would say that he hasn’t delved very far at all. In fact I will go further and say that despite that he is capable of a detailed review of various aspects of the case he pretty much shares the same hostility and concerns based upon parochialism and ignorance to be found on the usual apologists’ websites.

So I will try to put him and the apologists right on how the Italians cope, as a matter of law, with any evidential difficulties that separate trials can throw up.

However, let’s start first with the assertion that the fast-track trial “provided Guede with a golden opportunity to minimize his part in the attack upon and murder of Meredith Kercher, loading the blame on to Knox and Sollecito”? Is that true?

Guede admitted that he was present at the scene of the murder and he has always minimized his part in the attack, in fact denying that he had any part. This is all to be found in his statements pre trial. He would have minimized his part even if he had been tried with his co-accused and had given evidence. Given that he was not believed anyway, it is difficult to detect wherein lies the golden opportunity of a fast track trial.

It is also difficult to envisage what cross examination formula (and the point of it) would have been available to the Knox and Sollecito defence teams as to Guede’s minimal role or otherwise given that Knox and Sollecito maintain that they were not there and thus are hardly in a position to dispute Guede‘s version.

Did Guede load the blame onto Knox and Sollecito?  The answer to that is that he did directly implicate Knox but not Sollecito. Again this is all to be found in his pre-trial statements and interviews with the police and investigating magistrates. Whilst on the toilet he had heard the doorbell ring, Meredith call out “Who is it?“ and later say “We need to talk” followed by another woman’s voice, which he thought was Amanda, replying “What’s happening?“ He had also claimed to have seen, through Filomena’s bedroom window, a female figure with flowing hair and had recognised the shape as being that of Amanda Knox.

It might be useful at this point just to pause and remember when Guede could have been cross-examined on this by the Knox and Sollecito defence teams.

Guede was called to give evidence during the Massei trial but declined to give evidence. Not surprising given that he was appealing his own conviction at the time. This was heard two weeks after the conclusion of the Massei trial.

He then appeared at the Hellmann trial by which time he already had a definitive conviction. On this occasion he did respond to questioning and I shall look at this a little later.

3. The Specific Mistakes In Each Complaint

Let us return now to the apologists standard refrains as I listed them at the beginning.

1.  That the proceedings concerning Guede established various tenets the most important one of which was the multiple attacker scenario, and that this unfairly affected Knox and Sollecito bearing in mind that their defence was based on the Lone-Wolf scenario.

One might also add the staged break in and some others as well which were all considered by Micheli and endorsed by Massei.

However as at the conclusion of the Massei trial Guede’s first appeal was still extant and the Supreme Court’s definitive reflections on the multiple attacker scenario were still a year off. Nothing had been written in stone at that point. If the multiple attacker scenario became a tenet of the case then it would be more accurate to say that it became so because of Massei joining up with Micheli.

But let’s also take in the second refrain to consider alongside the first at this point.

2.  That the evidence in the Guede proceedings could never be effectively challenged by the Knox and Sollecito camps.

This really is pretty rich. So what? Knox and Sollecito were not on trial there. And what to make of the Massei trial which of course is when Knox and Sollecito then wheeled out their big guns; the expensive lawyers and experts in telecommunications, forensic pathology, forensic DNA, ballistics and footprint analysis?

The Massei trial may have taken its time but it was nevertheless (unlike Guede’s trial) a full blooded adversarial trial of first instance, lasting a year, with the prosecution producing each and every one of it’s witnesses for rigorous cross-examination by the defence.

It was Massei that confirmed the multiple attacker scenario on the basis solely of that evidence and with scarce a mention of Guede’s sentencing report. It is lame to argue that Massei was in any way constrained by Micheli’s reasoning on the matter though his judgement was indeed available.

However Massei did make the following observation -

“……the reconstruction of the facts leads to the unavoidable conclusion that he (Guede) was one of the main protagonists (writer’s note: no concession to Guede’s chances on appeal, then?); thus it is not possible to avoid speaking of Guede in relation to the hypothesised criminal facts. The defence of the accused in particular have requested the examination of texts concerning only Rudy, and have demanded the results, specifically concerning Guede of the investigative activities carried out by the police in particular. In fact they have expressly indicated Guede as being the author, and the sole author, of the criminal acts perpetrated on the person of Meredith Kercher.”

So here we see the defence making the running on Guede (without Guede being present as a co-accused to dispute anything) to include any and all evidence as to his alleged criminal background with the precise purpose of bolstering the Lone Wolf scenario, all of which was duly evaluated by Massei.

[One might think, in addition to the above, that Guede would have had cause to complain about the indictments for Knox and Sollecito, in that both were indicted, and subsequently convicted, with the crime of murder “in complicity with Rudy Hermann Guede”, although he still had two appeals left and theoretically (though not realistically) it was still possible for him to be acquitted of the crime. However the drawing up of indictments in separate trials, and how the judiciary would deal with an outcome such as above (which I don’t think would be difficult) would be a topic for another discussion.]

3.  That, in consequence of which, Knox and Sollecito had virtually already been convicted by the judiciary by the time of their own trial.

This is so lame by any objective standard, but it is amazing just how often this particular drum is beaten. However our Deputy Justices Clerk would probably subscribe to this. He develops an argument akin to this which he terms the Forbidden Reasoning (echoes of Preston’s “The Forbidden Killer”?) which is basically that Micheli made a number of errors which were then compounded in subsequent hearings.

4.  That Guede was allowed to give evidence against Knox and Sollecito at both his own trial and at the Hellmann appeal hearing without effective cross-examination. Had this been the case the defence would likely have exposed and demonstrated his sole responsibility for the murder of Meredith Kercher. Indeed had he been tried together with Knox and Sollecito this could well have happened at the Massei trial.

The evidence that implicated Knox I have already mentioned. It is not entirely decisive in that it is not a solid ID of Knox at the crime scene. At the Hellmann appeal Guede added this in an exchange with Knox‘s lawyer -

DEFENSE ATTORNEY DALLA VEDOVA—And therefore, Mr. Guede, when you wrote verbatim that it was a “horrible murder of Meredith a lovely wonderful young woman, by Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox” what do you mean exactly? Have you ever said this?
WITNESS—Well, I… this, I’ve never said it explicitly, in this way, but I’ve always thought it.
WITNESS—No, it’s very true………………………………..............  So if I wrote those words it’s because I’ve always had them inside of me. It’s not up to me to decide who it was who killed Meredith, in the statement that I made in my trial, I always said who was there in that home that damned night, so, I think I’m not saying anything new……

In another exchange, this time with Bongiorno, Guede makes it clear that he is not planning to answer any further questions about what happened that night but this is because he has already stated (statements and recorded interviews etc), and stands by, all that he has to say about it.  Thus all that is taken into evidence perfectly properly. The matter is then left to rest by the defence.

Indeed it is difficult to conceive what further effective cross-examination could have occurred in this situation because clearly Guede would have responded with exactly the same answer each time.

The above exchanges also show just why it is unlikely that there would have been any fireworks had Guede been tried with his co-accused.

Guede would not have been obliged to give oral testimony any more than were Knox and Sollecito and in the event that he had done so (and I think it would have been in his interests to do so) his evidence would not only have been the same but it would have been subject to the same limitations, which would have been zealously protected by his lawyers, that had protected Knox when she gave oral evidence.

On due consideration it might have been a somewhat tetchy affair for the lawyers but it would not have been in the interests of any of the respective teams of lawyers for there to have been any surprises such as Guede moving from beyond what he had already said in pre-trial statements to a solid ID of Knox from the witness box. That wouldn’t have particularly helped Guede as it would have affected his credibility even further. They all had prepared positions to protect and Guede’s presence would be neither that much of an added threat nor an advantage for Knox and Sollecito.

5.  That Hellmann was right to give no probity value to the content of Guede’s sentencing and the subsequent annulment unfairly allowed material that was prejudicial for the aforesaid reasons into the Nencini Appeal.

Now we are into the law, Italian law that is, and how it coped with separate trials of co-accused.

By this time Guede’s conviction, remember, had been ruled as definitive by the Supreme Court.

This is what Hellmann said about that -

“……. in truth, this judgement, acquired pursuant to article 238 and so utilisable under the probative framework only as one of it’s evaluative elements pursuant to article 192.…………….. already appears in itself a particularly weak element, from the moment that this judgement related to Rudy Guede had been carried out under the fast track procedure.”

It will be useful to consider some of Prosecutor-General Galati’s observations in the prosecution’s appeal submission and we can do this because the Supreme Court agreed with him.

This is what the Supreme Court said -

“The submission on the violation of article 238 …….is correct. Even though (Hellmann) obtained the final judgement pronounced by this court against Rudy Guede, after properly considering that the judgement was not binding, it has completely “snubbed” the content of the same, also neutralizing it’s undeniable value as circumstantial evidence on the presupposition that it’s profile was particularly weak, since the judgement was based at the state of proceedings without the enrichment acquired as a result of the renewal of the investigations hearing arranged on appeal, In reality, the court was not authorised at all, for this reason alone, to ignore the content of the definitive judgement.”

The enrichment referred to would of course have been the Independent Expert’s evidence (subsequently debunked by Nencini) and the Supreme Court also added that in any event article 238 was not impaired at all by the fact that the first instance trial was fast track.

At the end of the day this was just poor argument by Hellmann but it was symptomatic of the many flaws that underlay much if not all of his reasoning for acquittal.

More importantly for me and in addition to the foregoing the Supreme Court delivered a withering criticism of Hellmann’s understanding of circumstantial evidence and how to evaluate and treat it in its broad spectrum.

However, how can and what elements contained in the separate trial of one co-accused have any probative weight in the trial of the others?

Prosecutor-General Galati puts it like this. The Supreme Court’s rulings -

“have now settled definitively regarding the interpretation according to which finalised judgements can be acquired by the proceedings, as provided for by the indicated law, but they do not constitute full proof of the facts ascertained by them, but necessitate corroborations not differing from the declarations of the co-accused in the same proceedings or in a connected proceeding………………………………......
Naturally this confirmation is not directly used for the purpose of proof but as corroboration of other circumstantial pieces of evidence or of evidence already acquired, not very different from what happens when declarations of collaborators with justice corroborate each other.”

In the event the only material from Guede that really seems to me to have hitherto been extraneous to the first instance trial of Knox and Sollecito was the inclusion at the Nencini appeal of Guede’s partial ID of Knox at the scene and his evidence as to Meredith’s missing money, which were corroborative of elements of evidence that had appeared at the Massei trial; in the case of the missing money for instance, the missing credit cards and Filomena’s testimony that at a meeting shortly before both the murder and the day the rent was due Meredith had told her that she had the cash to hand and was prepared to hand it over there and then.

No such money was found at the crime scene. One suspects that these two elements would have been more prominent at the Massei trial, and have been motivated more attentively, had the three been tried together. In the event Guede’s partial ID of Knox was not even mentioned by Massei and Knox and Sollecito, in the absence of any evaluation of Guede’s evidence, were acquitted (not even motivated at all in fact) of the charge of theft in relation to the money and the credit cards.

Given the foregoing I would argue that Knox and Sollecito derived an advantage rather than a disadvantage from the separate trials.

Furthermore I would argue that the material from Guede’s separate proceedings was not particularly damaging given the overall context of the evidence already directly available from the trial of Knox and Sollecito (which received some but in truth did not require much corroborative confirmation from Guede’s separate trial) and which in itself was sufficient to found a verdict of “beyond reasonable doubt”, but it did supply some useful insight into a motive when of course Hellmann had found none and Massei had supplied a rather improbable one.

6.  That Guede was induced into electing for a separate trial with the promise of a reduced sentence should he be convicted - this being to prosecution’s advantage re the case against Knox and Sollecito.

Needless to say this is what you get from desperate and deluded minds. Guede’s lawyer has explained why his client took his advice and the decision was perfectly rational and in Guede’s interests. Guede was entitled to a third off his sentence from choosing fast track though I am no fan of that. Furthermore I have explained why no particular advantage accrued to the prosecution from this choice other than that it probably foreshortened the time that a full trial of the three would have taken.


Great work. James nails how maybe half the lawyers in the UK could have been misled…

As James did (he took it very well!) we have found 20 so far [added: plus 25 and 26] of F G Davies’s cringeworthy articles on several websites by searching “The Brutal Killing of Meredith Kercher” online.  We have taken the precaution of grabbing what is available for rebuttal:

The articles of course are not available in Italian, and the UK law publication tried for a while, probably for legal reasons, to keep them behind a firewall.

They really are not very good. Davies’s profile suggests he is some sort of administrative clerk, not a practicing lawyer as such. There seems to me a strong anti-black tilt to his anti-Guede stance similar to Hellmann’s.

Davies clearly doesnt understand Italian, and he seems to have not checked his claims with even one informed official person in Perugia or Rome.

What Davies leaves out about the facts would fill a zoo. He never grappled for example with any of the pesky facts here or here.

Re: Davies’s “The Brutal Killing of Meredith Kercher” – . Originally posted on the Criminal Law & Justice Weekly website December 2014 – May 2015.

I have found 17 parts - only, so far, of Davies’s “critical examination”.

Davies refers to “double glazed” in Parts 4 & 5 :

Davies Part 4;

“The narrative recited by Guede could account for the reason why two neighbours clearly heard a woman scream out, not because the sound carried from Meredith’s bedroom, as was first thought, but because it travelled out of the front door. As an aide-memoire, the two witnesses, on the prosecution case, apparently heard the scream emanate from Meredith’s bedroom ie, from the inside of Via della Pergola 7 (whose windows were also closed) to neighbouring premises roughly some 70 metres away.  The same windows (in one case) were double glazed and in both cases were closed.”

Davies Part 5 :
“Another point worthy of clarification was the exact distance between Mrs Capezzali’s dining room window and the entrance door to Via della Pergola 7.  The writer was only able to find two such references, one being 70 metres, the other being 70 feet.  This has been assumed that the 70 metre estimate is a more precise and reasonable distance.  It has also been inferred that the weather was clear on that fateful evening and little breeze or wind to distort the sound of a scream emanating from Via della Pergola 7.  Account must also be taken of the fact that the windows of both premises, as far the writer can discern, were closed and there is a reference to Mrs Capezzali’s windows being double glazed.
The fact that Mrs Capezzali heard a scream is beyond peradventure but it would have been useful to explore whether the “heart-rending scream” could have permeated from the inside of Meredith Kercher’s bedroom (with the bedroom door fully open or partially open) as far as Mrs Capezzali’s dining room. The Court should have considered whether the scream might have issued from elsewhere e.g. at the entrance to Via della Pergola 7, and/or with the front door ajar.  The evidence has a direct bearing on the trial Court’s hypothesis (the Massei Report) as to how Rudy Guede gained entry to the said premises and where Meredith was initially attacked.”

So Davies had not appreciated that the relevant windows were not “double glazed”, as James has clearly explained.

Davies Part 16 contains “the Definition” of circumstantial evidence. Davies gives the UK common- law definition, not the Italian one, which Is different.

Davies seems unaware of that fact, and unaware of what the Italian definition actually is, even though the Official European website “Italian Code of Criminal Procedure” is an Official English language translation.

Part 17 is about Quintaville, and ends “to be continued, so I haven"t reached Davies’s “Summary and Conclusions”

Posted by Cardiol MD on 07/31/15 at 02:06 AM | #

Cardiol - is it not true that some females have a higher sensitivity in the high frequency range?
Such a deep heart-rending scream would have full upper harmonics (and lower) which would travel, but not be heard by some.
I know I hear some shrill distant sounds that my male friend does not, - and even my piano tuner asks me about the top notes on the piano.

Posted by SeekingUnderstanding on 07/31/15 at 05:10 AM | #

@ SeekingUnderstanding,
“is it not true that some females have a higher sensitivity in the high frequency range?”

In brief - Yes. However frequency range is only part of screaming. Loudness is the other part.

The younger the higher the audible frequency, in both genders.
Males do Lose frequency sensitivity at a younger than females, and do generate lower frequencies as they grow older - until their 2nd childhood.

The world record holder for loudness is a woman, her age was in the mid-40s.

Meredith could undoubtedly have delivered the piercing scream described by Nara - until Meredith’s airway was severed.

Posted by Cardiol MD on 07/31/15 at 06:43 AM | #

One should not forget that the cottage balcony glass door (a single glass pane and a couple of steps from Meredith’s bedroom door) is on direct line from M’s door to Capezalli’s dining room window.

Posted by James Raper on 07/31/15 at 06:49 AM | #

I had been thinking of doing a critical rejoinder to Davies’ articles (the above post was the first of an intended series) but panned the idea for two reasons.

1. The 5th Chamber’s acquittal intervened before Criminal Law and Justice Weekly had finished publishing them (I think they was up to chapter 17 out of 25 by then).

2. As few people have cottoned on to Davies I thought it best not to give him any further exposure. And I had lost heart anyway.

There were numerous mistakes. One was that he recorded that Guede’s fast track trial lasted from the 28th October 2008 to the 26th January 2009. In fact the first date is the date of the verdict and the second the date of Micheli’s Motivation report. Thus he has it lasting three months and I think that a misunderstanding of the fast track procedure combined with that length of time has resulted in him according Guede’s trial more importance re Knox and Sollecito than it could have had.

Interestingly, he did hold that the staging of a break in was an incontrovertible fact. Depressingly he then concluded that Guede could not be be ruled out as staging it by himself, but did not add why he thought this was at all likely.

And so on.

I don’t know what his final opinion was. I’ve heard it rumoured that it’s something like this. Had the mistakes as compounded not occurred then AK and Rs would have had to be acquitted of murder in an English court, but that the standard of proof was met as regards alteration of the crime scene.

An amusing thought. One wonders whether the 5th Chambers were taking Criminal Law and Justice Weekly. They may have thought “Aha, grounds to acquit!” Only they hadn’t seen where he was going and now they are stuck with the absurdity of Davies’ conclusion, amongst many others of their own making.

Posted by James Raper on 07/31/15 at 07:47 AM | #

Hi James:

(1) I for one would like to see all Davies’s false assumptions challenged by you and/or others here. At the moment, the UK law journal will not be moved to correction, but their huge series is pretty bad and not one Italian official he slimes was contacted for verification.

(2) I think Davies and the journal should be made aware of your massive main work as had they seen it earlier the series would have been impossible.

(3) The four Sept-Oct 2008 dates of the Guede trial (and RS and AK hearings) were explained in this post - Knox and RS lawyers were right there! They could easily have challenged anything from Guede; Davies is absurd to claim otherwise. .

(4) Davies doesnt know this but Guede offered to testify fully at the 2009 trial but Dr Mignini rejected that as he did not wish to see Guede getting any further breaks. .

(5) Google Translate often failed Davies. He seems only dimly aware that Judge Micheli was highly critical of Guede and in fact sentenced him to Life reduced to 30 years.

(6) Davies swallows hook, line and sinker the Knox Interrogation Hoax. Proof of this hoax is enormous, see the series below:

The trial included days and days of court testimony and a key document (a list of names of possible perps) Knox was working on when Davies thinks she was interviewed or interrogated. She was barely questioned, and she herself demanded to make all three statements on 5-6 November after Sollecito badly rattled her.

Amazingly (or perhaps not so amazingly - Davies sure lies a lot by omission) Davies does not even mention Rita Ficarra or Anna Donnino or for that matter Dr Mignini. He could not quote Knox’s dishonest accounts so approvingly at such enormous length otherwise.

(7) Davies runs with a completely fictitious Guede. Like you, I wish Guede had been handed more time - he was, a little, by the Florence court for possession, but there is zero hard proof that he ever committed breaking and entering. He entered the Milan pre-school with a key, and the breakin at the Perugia lawyers office was by two people complete with a car to carry some items away with them; certain documents had been photocopied.

(8) Davies is unaware the evidence on the pack attack upon Meredith by excellent national crime-scene specialists took a whole day IN CLOSED COURT. There is no transcript. Then there was a video recreation, and a blow by blow recreation in the prosecution’s summation. The notion of three attackers was absolutely overwhelming. Knox and her lawyers had to sit there and were unable to make any protest.

(9) A key point you make which I would emphasize even more is that the defenses for RS and AK were able to beat up on Guede during the 2009 trial remorselessly with zero resistance - the prosecution did not care, and Guede and his lawyers were not even there. (By the way how does Davies explain the defense need in 2011 for Alessi and especially Aviello? Even the defenses did not swallow the Lone Wolf theory as Davies did.)

(10) On the sound of the scream carrying (see comments above) I suggest that the least likely of the possibilities is that the front door was open, though it was opened seconds later. Most likely as per James is that the sound exited in part via the French windows. Also there is a skylight over the north bathroom visible in the image below. 

Posted by Peter Quennell on 07/31/15 at 08:21 AM | #

I really do not know what FG Davies does for a living, but anyway his understanding of basic physics is close to zero.

You can whisper to a friend in a noisy market and he will be able to understand perfectly. And you may shout at the crowd in a park (I was tempted to say in a class but better senses prevailed) and they may not pay any attention.

You hear something in a strange language and you will never be able to repeat it. And you hear a blood curdling cry at night and you will never forget it in your life.

It makes perfect sense that some people heard the scream and some did not. It is perfectly normal. But the best witness is Amanda Knox herself. She was the first one to report the scream.

Mr FG Davies fails to explain the (origins of) subsequent sounds reported as footsteps on iron stairs and gravel. Was there any correlation between these two sets of sound waves? I suggest, without proof, that the second set of sounds were the direct human effects of the first sound as reported by Ms Nara Capezzali.

Don’t take the evidences piecemeal; try to fit all of them together and you can see the pattern.

A thumb in front of your eye can block the mighty sun (reference forgotten).

Posted by chami on 07/31/15 at 03:20 PM | #


James showed how Davies makes many false assumptions, and introduces something he call the “forbidden reasoning” which James obviously thought total nonsense. Example:

It is submitted that the combined circumstances, including the illicit interviews of Knox and Sollecito by the State Police had already contributed to a conscious or unconscious bias against Knox and Sollecito, which blinded the public, press and organs of the State to potential shortcomings in the motivations for the crime and/or the prosecution evidence which for convenience has been dubbed “the forbidden reasoning”

WHAT illicit interviews? WHAT evidence of bias - and if so why were RS and AK granted SIX opportunities in 2007-2008 to talk themselves free and failed?

WHAT “blinded the public, press and organs of the State to potential shortcomings in the motivations for the crime”? The motivations were in fact pretty clearcut - and no conviction requires a single clearcut motive. (James said he doesnt think Davies has trial experience.)

By the way Davies uses the defamatory phrase “forbidden reasoning” 23 times, for some kind of mass psychosis he imagines exists among Italian law enforcement - not one of whom he actually met -  without an ounce of proof from the sciences or the hard facts of the case.

For example and

The real but deluded psychologist Saul Kassin did likewise. He has now fled and gone silent, and before doing so sounded extremely nervous at the exposure of his nonsense in front of his peers.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 07/31/15 at 06:21 PM | #

I see in the “Background” paragraph of Davies’s article he states that when Meredith started renting her room at via della pergola, Knox “was already renting a room”. Whilst perhaps factually correct (Knox likely was the first to formally rent but she hadn’t actually lived there yet as far as I’m aware),

it gives a very misleading impression that Meredith was coming into Knox’s world, rather than the truth which was the other way around. If I’m not wrong Knox was away in Germany and Meredith was living there first and had made great friends with the occupants before the “innocent abroad” returned to turn everyone’s world upside down.

It’s a subtle impression Davies is giving of a settled Knox having Meredith come into her peaceful existence. A mendacious impression. I may be wrong, please feel free to correct me, but this kind of thing makes my teeth itch and deters me from reading his stuff any further.

Posted by davidmulhern on 08/01/15 at 05:13 AM | #

Davies would no doubt get on with Nigel Scott like a house on fire!  They are equally pathetic.

Posted by MHILL4 on 08/01/15 at 07:48 AM | #


You are quite right, Knox and her drug dealer arrived by train a few days after Meredith did. Davies omitted that.

Another of Davies’s numerous ommisions is that Knox associated with that drug dealer (as the British say, shagged him for drugs) up to day of arrest. Another that (unlike Meredith) she took no course at the main university, the simple little language course (for no credits) could have been done in Seattle 2 evenings a week. Another that she could have got UW funding in return for some supervision but did not. Another that her funds were dwindling fast. Another that she had no Italian work permit and worked illegally. Another that her friends were dwindling fast as she was on drugs and tin-eared and sharp-elbowed all the time…

Posted by Peter Quennell on 08/01/15 at 09:56 AM | #


The Nigel Scott to whom you refer:

Yes, crackpots unite. The UK Big Four are Fred Davies, Nigel Scott, David Anderson, and the professor at Leeds. All look fairly alike - Heavey too. Odd, that.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 08/01/15 at 10:06 AM | #

Surprisingly, several years before the editor of Criminal Law & Justice Weekly, Diana Rose, launched Davies’s mammoth book-length demonization of Italian justice for “forbidden reasoning” UK lawyer Adrian Turner wrote this editorial warning against chauvinisim directed at Italy (the kind being encouraged by mafia fellow-travelers and PR shills).

Criminal Law & Justice Weekly

Chauvinism and Criminal Justice

Date: 11th December 2009

It remains one of the most arrogant and ill informed statements I have heard about justice even though it goes back nearly 25 years. It was made shortly after the Heysel Stadium disaster, when 39 people died and a further 600 were injured — mainly Juventus supporters — at the European cup final between the Italian side and Liverpool.

This was caused when a group of Liverpool “fans” got through a fence which had separated them from their rival supporters. The latter, understandably fearing attack, retreated to a retaining wall, but under pressure this collapsed. People seated near it were consequently crushed. All this was, of course, caught on television and viewers (I was one) watched with increasing horror. I come now to the statement. The Belgian authorities quite rightly wanted to identify and seek the extradition of the rampaging Liverpool fans. The reaction, given in a tv interview, by one senior, Merseyside solicitor (no names) was to question whether they would receive justice if tried there rather than here. Had he ever been to Belgium, let to alone to any of its courts? Did he know anything about their legal system and forms of trial? What reason could he possibly have had for questioning the ability of a fellow western European justice system to deliver fair, evidence-based verdicts?

Now it is the turn of Italian justice to be questioned. The year-long trial of Amanda Knox and (the comparatively little mentioned) Raffaele Sollecito in Perugia, Umbria for the brutal killing of English student, Meredith Kercher, has just come to an end with murder convictions and sentences of, respectively, 26 and 25 years. What has been the response in the responsible press? The Daily Telegraph’s view (December 7) was: “Amanda Knox: guilty … but of what? As Amanda Knox faces 26 years in prison for the murder in Italy of her British flatmate Meredith Kercher, niggling doubts remain over the verdict. What was the motive? How reliable was the DNA evidence? Was Rudy Guede, already convicted, the sole killer?” This does not go quite so far as to say that the verdicts were wrong, but it comes pretty close. Even The Times (same day) chose the possibility of an appeal for its headline.

The concerns appear to centre on the alleged lack of a plausible motive, the allegedly flimsy DNA evidence and whether Ms Knox’s character had been correctly and fairly portrayed by the prosecution and, if not, how this (and the publicity it received) might have affected the jury. Certainly, Ms Knox had not been expecting the verdict. She had, apparently, lined up some chat show interviews back home and a multi-million dollar book deal about her ordeal.

I certainly did not follow the evidence line by line. A number of things however, impressed me about this trial and the Italian justice system. First, nobody can claim the former was “rushed”. On the contrary, one year seems astonishingly protracted, even allowing for the complex, scientific evidence. Secondly, the jury comprised of six local people and two Judges. One would expect the presence of the latter to reduce, if not eliminate, the risk of prejudice from adverse prosecution and news media comment about aspects of Ms Knox’s lifestyle, and to enhance the prospects of a properly focused, forensic analysis of the evidence. Thirdly, reasons for the sentence, which will presumably include the jury’s crucial findings of fact, will have to be published by the trial Judge within 90 days. In the UK, however, lay juries receive only a summing up and are then forbidden from revealing their individual conclusions. Finally, the Italian criminal justice system in a case such as this appears to allow two appeals.

However, some senior Americans, including the senator of Ms Knox’s home state, have joined in expressing concerns about the verdict. There is particular distaste at the way in which her drug use and sexual history were allowed to feature in the trial (which begs the question would this evidence have been excluded in an American trial?). There has been a bit more coyness, however, in relation to the DNA evidence. Apparently, the Italian forensic service is actually quite good and, on a general level at least, no more prone to error than its counterparts in the United States. And, of course, the rest of the world has not forgotten the OJ Simpson trial, in which overwhelming forensic and other evidence was allowed to be overshadowed by use of “the race card”. Moreover, several “murderers” have been executed in the US (and, of course, here before abolition of the death penalty) and then been proved to have been innocent. When it comes to criticizing other legal systems, we all need to be very wary.

I believe there is much to admire about our legal system. It is essentially fair and strong. Proven miscarriages of justice are comparatively rare. We have a robust and independent judiciary, very few corrupt police officers and decent advocates representing both sides. But it is by no means a perfect system, because there is no such thing where people are involved, and the fact that it is our system does not make it inherently better than anybody else’s. So let’s show some respect to Perugia, and if the verdict is unsafe have trust in their appeal system.

Adrian Turner, LLB, Barrister

Posted by Peter Quennell on 08/01/15 at 12:50 PM | #


About the article by Turner, where he says:

“I believe there is much to admire about our legal system. It is essentially fair and strong”

is an excellent summary of the whole case.

We are not perfect and judges are human first. Judgements are nothing but opinions of the learned judges based on available evidences and current legal mores. Evidences are based on truth but their interpretations can be subjective. In addition, there are external forces that tries to influence the outcome of a trial. This is unfortunate but is part of the system.

I am not a lawyer but I liked the phrase “Justice must not only be done but must also be seen to be done”- a typical English sentiment that outlines the social responsibility of the judges. Are we anywhere near that in this case?

Posted by chami on 08/02/15 at 01:49 AM | #

In a word Chami, no! I await with bated breath the motivation report. They are obviously having enormous difficulty justifying the unjustifiable, hence the delays. Each passing week blows just a soupçon more wind into the sails of the good ship Justice. I remain hopeful that this probably illegal verdict will be thrown out and the two killers returned to the cells where they so richly deserve to be. The party I will hold if justice is seen to be done will be of the epic variety.

Posted by davidmulhern on 08/02/15 at 06:15 AM | #

“But it is by no means a perfect system, because there is no such thing where people are involved”

Right. Many are complaining this latest Cassazione ruling means the whole Italian justice system is corrupt or broken. In fact, this latest ruling only shows that 5 judges can err quite spectacularly, very likely due to outside influences. No system can prevent 5 people from behaving stupidly.

There are at least 4 other judges at Cassazione familiar with the case who would have incentive to get this verdict ‘annulled’ (Micheli, Ricciarelli, Chieffi & Vecchio.) I don’t know whether ‘house rules’ at Cassazione allow interventions by fellow judges; probably not. But we’ll see what happens when the report comes out.

Posted by Olleosnep on 08/02/15 at 09:15 AM | #

Hi James:

The editor is in touch suggesting we discuss a possible rebuttal. Well done. I have emailed you.

And Parts 21 to 26 had been impossible to find online except behind the expensive paywall.

Parts 21 to 24 are still AWOL but we have finally found 25 and 26 on a forum and added them.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 08/02/15 at 09:52 AM | #

Here is a funny irony. This is also by James Raper.

Fred Davies is the first lawyer EVER to stick his neck out for Knox in book length.

Competent? You decide.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 08/02/15 at 10:18 AM | #

Hi Olleosnep

Incredibly interesting about the Fifth Chambers. You see Micheli (our Micheli) as one of that group with some vested interest in a non-guilty verdict?

We are already hearing about the murky appointments to the court of Marasca and Bruno.

In line with your thesis that the Italian system self-corrects itself when it needs to the CSM has already moved to prevent ever again their route to a Supreme Court appointment.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 08/02/15 at 10:29 AM | #

@ Pete, I don’t see why Micheli would be remotely interested in a non guilty verdict. His motivation report is scathing, and though done seven years ago I can’t believe he would have changed his mind about the case. Whether he, Ricciarelli, Chieffi & Vecchio can do something ‘inhouse’ about the verdict I don’t know. But I would imagine they can talk to CSM judges, even if only privately.

Certainly the latest verdict is a clear ‘own goal’ for Cassazione, setting a really bad precedent by contradicting a previous Cassazione ruling (Chieffi & Vecchio) that specifically dealt with Cassazione’s role in how and what it is allowed to evaluate in the case. We’ll see.

Posted by Olleosnep on 08/02/15 at 12:46 PM | #

Sorree Olleosnep, I should have read that more carefully.

Yes to Judge Micheli formerly of Perugia as one of the good guys, though a lot of what we are hearing is that it is the powerful Florence court system that is especially outraged and menacing.

And if AK and RS are to face an OJ Simpson type of outcome (justice by other means) it is the Florence courts that already have them both and some others in the crosshairs.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 08/02/15 at 06:39 PM | #

Ironclad logic by James Raper certainly demolishes Mr. Davies’ vain echo of the defense whining. They should be glad Guede was tried separately and was packed off to prison quickly, having said as little as he did in court. And if any multiple attackers scenario was established, it had to do with Raf’s DNA at the murder scene on a piece of intimate clothing of the victim, along with his Siamese twin leaving her DNA mixed with the victim’s. That could have been established with or without Guede’s trial.

I just heard Meredith’s song by U2, “With or Without You” as I ate supper at a restaurant today. Meredith definitely has staying power, everything about her continues to resonate.

Posted by Hopeful on 08/03/15 at 08:40 PM | #

Okay. Here we have it. Shared with James. The COMPLEAT Delusion of Fred Davies. All 26 parts.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 08/04/15 at 10:24 PM | #

Thanks a lot James for your post.
About the point 6 I just want to report a news about Italian law.
The last July the Chambers of Deputies approved a bill for which some specific crimes are excluded from the Summery Proceedings (Rito Abbreviato).
For example: premeditated murder with evidence of torture, sexsual assault, blood crime.
In this case the defandant couldn’t ask S.P.
Furthermore the S.P. will take place in front of Corte d’Assise.
This dsiposition is being examined by Senate.

Posted by Albi62 on 08/08/15 at 06:18 AM | #

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