Reasonable Doubt In Italian Law: How Sollecito, Hellmann, And Zanetti Seriously Garbled It.

Posted by James Raper





Above: Sollecito’s lawyers. Is he too thick to understand them? Or are they incompetent and giving him bad advice?

Certainly as compared to the incredibly high legal standard of the Galati Appeal, it appears that the accused, their lawyers, and Hellmann & Zanetti are all seriously outclassed.

Hellmann and Zanetti at first appeal trial, and Sollecito in his absurd book, all seriously garbled one fundamental concept in Italian law that they ABSOLUTELY need to get right if they are to have any sway with the Supreme Court.

Incredibly Sollecito’s own lawyers Bongiorno and Maori are listed as assisting him with the book and allowed this lunacy to fly.

Here is Raffaele Sollecito in Honor Bound.

For reasons deeply embedded in the country’s history, the concept of proof beyond a reasonable doubt scarcely exists in Italy.

What he is implying (in a manner gratuitously insulting to the intelligence of his compatriots) is that were the above statement not true then he, and Amanda, would have been acquitted in the first instance.

Oh, really?

It seems that we are also being asked to believe that Sollecito and his ghostwriter, Gumbel, are historians of Italian jurisprudence. So, let’s quickly examine what substance there is to the claim.

It will be seen that the concept of “reasonable doubt” is understood well enough in the courts of Italy, though unfortunately less well understood by the former Umbria Appeal Court judges Hellmann and Zanetti.

Not only that but those two judges made pointed remarks at the outset of the appeal also garbling the concept, which were very disturbing. I shall look into that in a moment.

Sollecito‘s remark does have some context but it is wildly inaccurate and unfair. 

We know that the Italian legal system is based on the inquisitorial system common to continental Europe, whereas the anglo-saxons amongst us are used to the adversarial system. It is also true that the specific expression “beyond reasonable doubt” was not introduced into the Italian criminal procedure code until 2006.

It is Article 533 of the Criminal Procedure Code: “The judge pronounces sentence of conviction if the accused is guilty of the offence charged beyond all reasonable doubt.”

Now let me defer to our Italian poster Yummi who can explain the historical context. He writes -

The current Italian system is the result of a procedure code reform introduced in 1989. This reform introduced several features of the adversarial system into a new criminal procedure code. One of the features of the new code was the abolition of the “not proven” verdict. This factually had been working very effectively as the version of “reasonable doubt” in the Italian system.

In an inquisitorial system the court is a council headed by professional judges and it’s task is not just to deliver a verdict, but to deliver a written rationale or dossier aimed to provide “a judicial truth”.  Typically “reasonable doubt” is a formulation coming from systems where juries do not issue a written rationale while systems that have motivation reports on verdicts usually don’t have it: it was commonly agreed that the absence of doubt should be understood from the rationale. Absence of doubt is not a quality that is inherent in the internal conviction of a juror, but instead is understood to be a feature of the logical proof provided by the written rationale. It was believed that the absence of doubt in the judge’s mind should be shown by the fact that a motivation report is logical.

No Italian scholar would ever maintain that the “reasonable doubt” standard is a recent introduction in the Italian system.  Only the acknowledgement of it’s wording is relatively recent.  In the Italian system the formulation “reasonable doubt” was starting to be used explicitly in Supreme Court jurisprudence in the early nineties; a change of wording in honour of the adversarial reforms, but in fact a continuation of the long jurisprudence tradition of the “not proven” standard.”

In fact in the adversarial system “beyond reasonable doubt” is really an instruction to the jurors that they must arrive at a certain evidentiary standard if they are to convict. Any system that would produce a “not proven” verdict would mean that the standard has not been met.

In the adversarial system no written rationale for a verdict is required to accompany the verdict. That the Italian system retains this requirement is very much a safeguard for the accused as well as for the State both being thereby protected from perverse or capricious convictions or acquittals.

Second here is Judge Zanetti at first appeal:

The only certain and undisputed fact is the death of Meredith Kercher.

So said Judge Zanetti on the opening day of the appeal. It was a statement that brought gasps of astonishment from those in court, particularly from the reporters present who deemed it to be an admission that reasonable doubt existed.

In fact, of course, there were a lot of certain and undisputed facts. No one denied that there was evidence, most of it undisputed. What was disputed was the interpretation of that evidence.

That, being so, why did not Zanetti say that? Clearly the remark was injudicious, and cogent only in its intended impact.

What of the Massei Motivations Report one might ask? is it toast?

That remark not only helped to set the tone for the entire appeal - what was said soon after by his senior colleague was even worse. 

Compliance with article 533 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (Judgement of conviction only if the defendant is guilty of the offence complained of beyond a reasonable doubt) does not allow (us) to share fully the decision of the Court of Assize of First Instance.

(In Italian: il rispetto dell’articolo 533 del Codice di procedura penale (pronuncia di condanna soltanto se l’imputato risulta colpevole del reato contestatogli al di la ogni ragionevole dubbio) non consente di condividere totalmente la decisione della Corta d’Assize di primo grado”)

That was said by Judge Hellmann on the third day of the appeal before even the evidentiary and discussion stage had opened. And thanks again to Yummi for the above quote.

It seems that the presiding judge had felt compelled to expand upon his colleague’s stark opening remark but in doing so he had opened a can of worms. He had just made things even worse. Unfortunately the prosecution decided not to challenge the remark and the appeal proceeded. They should have done so.

Article 533 relates to verdict. The verdict (to be) is not to be hinted at or discussed at the opening of any trial or appeal and certainly not as pointedly as this. So serious is this faux pas that I have it on good authority that the prosecution considered impeaching the presiding judge for incompatibility and incompetence. It seems that they did not because of the furore this might have caused and perhaps also because they were confident of the strength of the case in any event. In retrospect a grave mistake.

What in fact was Hellmann saying? Let us consider.

“Compliance with article 533.…..…does not allow us to share fully the decision of the Court of Assize of First Instance.” 

I believe that what we see here is the first indication of the judges’ manifest misunderstanding of what should have been the correct approach to an evaluation of the evidence in the case and the application of the “reasonable doubt” standard.

I do not intend to deal with that in any detail. It is set out cogently in the Galati appeal.

Suffice to say that the “reasonable doubt” standard applies only to the culpability of the accused for the offence with which he/she is charged. Article 533 makes this abundantly clear and this is no different from how our own adversarial system deals with it. It is not a standard to be parcelled out to each item of evidence or inference drawn. That the appeal judges thought they could do (and did) precisely that is implicit in Hellmann’s remark.

How can one not “share fully the decision of the lower court”?

Hellmann could have said that he did not fully share the decisions of the lower court as regards each element of evidence rather than “the decision“, which can only be a reference to the actual verdict. But “the decision” is what he says, linking it specifically to article 533 where only the singular use of the noun would have any meaning. So on the face of it this can only be about the verdict of the lower court. And yet, how can one not fully share a verdict? A verdict cannot be parcelled out. One either agrees or disagrees with it.

Despite it’s manifest inappropriateness, no doubt the remark was meant to acknowledge that there was some doubt about the validity of the verdict in their minds. Well at least that’s honest but in that case, was it not incumbent on them to specify what it was that concerned them? I would have expected that. True, it was already clear that the DNA on the knife and bra clasp, and Curatolo’s credibility, were specific issues, as they had allowed these to be examined, but beyond that there was no disclosure as to what other doubts on the evidence they had in mind. We know now from the Motivations that there were others and what these were ( Quintavalle and the staged break-in, just for example) - and I think it would be pretty disingenuous of them to pretend that they did not exist at the time.

Already one sees elements of confusion, incompetence, mis-procedure, misleading the prosecution and coded messages (for the media and politicians?) to the effect that the appeal judges had already rationalized an acquittal in the appeal.

And if, with their doubts, they had in fact done so then what, pray, was the point of :-

1. Ordering a review of the DNA evidence on the knife and the bra clasp

2. Re-hearing Curatolo

3. Hearing from Aviello and Alessi

……other than that they were seeking that elusive “reasonable” element of doubt.

It is almost as if the entire appeal was tailored to suit and a sham. It certainly looks that way in retrospect, particularly as the element of reasonable doubt still remains elusive on close examination.

Yet it may just be that the appeal judges were just incompetent and that their incompetence (with the incompetent assistance of Conti & Vechiotti) infected the entire proceedings.

We shall see what Cassation thinks of the garbling of this fundamental concept when the prosecution appeal is entertained on 25 March.




Comments

Trampling on bedrock Italian law and the Supreme Court decision on Rudy Guede was hardly very smart.

It “allowed” Hellmann and Zanetti to illegally attempt to run a whole new trial - but without getting all the evidence properly introduced and debated, and without re-hearing almost all the witnesses who they then slimed in absentia. 

It also “allowed” them to illegally appoint the two incompetent DNA “experts” one of whom is Zanetti’s friend.

It also “allowed” them to claim reasonable doubt over small fractions of the full case and push the rest of the case under the rug - on which as you say, James, there was no reasonable doubt.

James, what are the relevant reactions in the Galati appeal? Yummi in his analysis of Galati said in effect Cassation could say “Stop right here! The scope was illegal. Rerun the appeal.”

Posted by Peter Quennell on 01/25/13 at 08:50 AM | #

Even more bad news for Sollecito and Curt Knox and their smoke-blowing gang.

We’re told that the lawyer Maori (image above) has left Sollecito’s team. Also that Bongiorno and Dalla Vedova are question marks at this point.

Also that all of the Knox-Mellas-Sollecito legal representation are known more for slightly sleazy politics and PR than for their legal acumen. Their stance is intrinsically weak at the Supreme Court.

On 25 March SOMEONE must make legal arguments to Cassation in rebuttal to Dr Galati. Who will that be, and with what arguments? This is being left incredibly late.

Knox’s appeal against her three year sentence for falsely fingering Patrick has been filed with the Supreme Court, but is said to be of no weight.

It looks like even if not re-convicted of murder (and we are fairly confident that she will be) Knox is labeled a felon for the rest of her life, which will limit her travel and job possibilities. and mess up her PR and book.

One day for sure we will have the full story on Judge Hellmann and how the Supreme Council of Magistrates helped to edge him out.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 01/25/13 at 11:48 AM | #

Or are they incompetent and giving him bad advice?

Neither, indeed.

Both are survivalists. They made the best out of the mess in the present tense. Just don’t ask me how. I personally think they did a grand job.

It is only fair that RS shall be needing a new team now. The new strategy will focus on not what they said but what was meant.

New meanings to old stories. Replacing the “old lamps for new” (or, I am confused, is it “new lamps for old”) is going to be a very smart move!

Most judges can see through the smoke but many just want to stick to the letter and not the spirit.

‘When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’

Posted by chami on 01/25/13 at 12:53 PM | #

Ah, Chami has a warm spot for them! Well they did have two clients from hell, and their popularity in Italy didnt exactly go up.

Ghirga was a pretty good friend of Mignini though I think some strains appeared. Bongiorno does some good things along with all the bad.

We wait to see if Biscotti and Gentile speak up for Guede as he is so ruthlessly impugned in Sollecito’s book. He could also sue.

Cardiol wrote about that here:  http://www.truejustice.org/ee/index.php?/tjmk/comments/how_much_or_how_little_to_blame_rudy_guede_the_defenses_immense_headac/

Posted by Peter Quennell on 01/25/13 at 01:29 PM | #

Peter, it sounds like Maori finally got around to reading Sollecito’s book, which I have a hard time believing was run by the defense team.  Aside from Bongiorno, Raffaele gave an unflattering portrayal of his lawyers as painfully incompetent and motivated solely by financial greed. 

I suppose what amused me the most was Raffaele’s literal outrage over his team’s inability to score some early successes, and belief that it was due strictly to incompetence and lack of caring.  After all, who wouldn’t want to work pro bono for Little Lord Fauntleroy? It just never seems to cross his mind that some things are practically indefensible due to the nature of the evidence left behind, and that his own odd behavior and conflicting statements created massive problems for his team.

I’m not particularly surprised to hear that others may be considering moving on as well.  At this point in her career, Bongiorno doesn’t exactly need the money, and defending an arrogant, difficult to control murderer may not at the top of her agenda. Raffaele is very careful not to upset her in his book, since he must realize that if she hadn’t been on his side, she would have used any means available to her to wipe the floor with him. By contrast, he doesn’t particularly fear Mignini or the prosecution team because they play by the rules (and we know how money can disrupt the laws of physics).

Posted by Vivianna on 01/25/13 at 08:06 PM | #

@ Pete.  Interesting that the defense may walk.  Surely not.  Just wondering about your comment. 

Although Dalla Vedova and Ghirga were defending Amanda Knox I am not aware of their being involved in ‘sleazy politics’??  They come across to me as honest, hard-working - even kindly - lawyers saddled with having to defend a murderer as best they can. 

They did show a certain fondness for the youthful Amanda - at least Ghirga did - but are you sure they were up to no good outside the courtroom?

Same for Maori, I would say, but not Bongiorno who was clearly involved in something at the appeal trial.

Posted by thundering on 01/25/13 at 08:53 PM | #

Hey Thundering.

Perhaps don’t go on how they come across? I agree they come across as nice and in other situations with less difficult clients and case, they probably usually are. But read Vivianna above, and yes, we are sure they were playing games behind the scenes.

We ourselves were approached. One of our posters in 2009 was offered “evidence” showing “the” knife did not fit the wound. An illegal move - and in fact the large knife did fit, and anyway it was proved there were two knives or three.

Do a search for our posts on Bongiorno. We quite often took her to task.  A decade ago she lost the most important case of her career to Chiari, the judge who was a prosecutor at the time. He was the appeal judge strangely pushed aside for the much less qualified Hellmann.

She might not have had a role in that (we know there was something else going on) but as chair of the parliamentary committee which controls Justice’s budget, it is unfair to police and prosecutions that she takes cases pitting herself against them.

A huge conflict of interest right there. In 2010 and 2011 it was not a level playing field. Now it is getting back to being fair.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 01/25/13 at 09:19 PM | #

Hi Pete.

Yes absolutely for Bongiorno et al but CDV and LG as well?

Posted by thundering on 01/25/13 at 09:38 PM | #

Hi Thundering

Well these may be the clients from hell but I’m not suggesting these were the lawyers from hell! AK’s team also showed sharp elbows. There was stuff and a suit was threatened. Now its let sleeping dogs lie time. We dont gain more by pursuing this.

The system itself puts people at one another’s throats and impatient for a win. I wish there had been only one trial (Guede’s, plus) and I wish there was not a mandatory right to two appeals - I believe no appeal would have been allowed here, or it would have been on very narrow grounds.

And especially no jury at second level. Periodically though the year Cassation has to wind second level verdicts back because those juries react as if they felt challenged by the jury at first level (which has slightly lower educational requirements) and throw overboard the concept James talks about.

We are told this is one of the worst-ever examples. 

Posted by Peter Quennell on 01/25/13 at 09:58 PM | #

Goodness.  How sad.

Posted by thundering on 01/25/13 at 11:04 PM | #

Agreed. We started with what seemed to us a Lord of the Flies attack on Meredith. An open and shut case if it had been tried in the US.

Now after 3-4-5 years we are looking at these several huge whirlpools of corruption.

One in Italy to do with judges and lawyers and a daffy politician and a chip-on-his-shoulder blogger.

One in the US to do with print and broadcast media and book writing and publishing that with the exception of the media outlets which retained reporters in Italy did anything for a buck but tell the truth.

Corrupt PR too. Look around and find any country demonized as much as Italy has been in this same period. Even one the US officially considers enemies.

And in the whole period note that Curt Knox never, never said they need a cleaner more honest less aggressive act. He recently hosted all the hotheads in Seattle.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 01/26/13 at 12:31 AM | #

@Peter,

The game is like that. But the justice system in the continent is far more conservative and sympathetic to the accused. That is what I mean by conservative.

The justice system must be kept busy with some work, and, as you say, if Italy were to follow the American style, most judges will be unemployed!

I was told, soon after I arrived in Italy during my last visit: “You come from a common law country but we do not follow common law here. We believe in Roman law. We have different standards”. I politely asked: “Pray tell me what is uncommon”.

I agree with thundering 01/25/13 at 08:53 PM post.

I personally think the American system is far worse. Can anyone explain what is popularly called the “plea bargaining”?

AK’s lawyers did realize quite early that they have absolutely no control over their client. But they have gone through the motions in a very professional way. They have fully earned their fees.

It is not the same with the other pair: the lawyers for RS. The beauty is that papa does not want to have any connection with the AK’s team but they are so intricately intertwined that he had no other option!

Looking back in retrospect, the PR has been the gravest mistake: Curt Know should have known better. The foot soldiers. They are now asking for the pound of flesh!

In summary, I have by now developed a great respect for the “uncommon” and “Roman” justice system: Nobody is perfect but we respect the goal. If the US adopts the Italian justice system, the unemployment problem will be solved!


justice: n. a decision in my favour

Posted by chami on 01/26/13 at 03:10 AM | #

This is an interesting and timely post. Not being a lawyer, much less an expert in Italian law, I’ve nonetheless concluded that the Hellmann report is geared toward a Paragraph 1 acquittal (factual innocence).

In that case Hellmann did indeed have to put the most essential pieces of circumstantial evidence on trial individually, and by rejecting them all he could conclude that there was no evidence.

As I’ve said before, I doubt that Cassation will agree with Hellmann’s reasoning across the board, and will most likely accept at least some of the appeal arguments.

I’m particularly interested in what becomes of the Kercher’s civil case in that scenario, because it was summarily rejected on the basis of a Paragraph 1 acquittal.

I suppose Maori leaving the team could be an excuse to ask for a delay the Cassation hearing. It’s not clear how much of a role he still has on the team anyway.

We heard from reliable sources that Maresca was leaving after the Hellmann verdict but it turns out he’s staying on at least through March.

I disagree that Conti & Vecchiotti are incompetent. They knew exactly what they were doing when they set out to do as much damage to the prosecution’s case as possible. Whether this was due sincerely-held but extreme views, or some ulterior motive, may never be known.

I’m concerned that the Italian legal system seems to tolerate conflicts of interest that would be unacceptable in the U.S. for example, but one can hope that Cassation will recognize that C&V did not fulfill their brief in a comprehensive, fair and impartial manner.

Posted by brmull on 01/26/13 at 03:40 AM | #

Hi brmull.

Yeah I think the appeal is even more glass-half-full than you do. It’s in how the Galati appeal is constructed. 

As Yummi showed in the post linked to below it is like a military obstacle course, with a series of hurdles and minefields. (A very unusual document, by the way, and one that might be studied in Italian law schools.)

http://www.truejustice.org/ee/index.php?/tjmk/comments/an_overview_from_italy_of_the_galati-costagliola_appeal_to_the_supreme/

(Yummi wrote that before the translation of Galati was posted; they are especially helpful when read together.)

James Raper has posted here on the very first obstacle.

this is that the Hellmann-Zannetti jury misread the law and in effect mounted a second trial. No appeal jury is meant to do that - or to cherrypick among the evidence for discrediting.

If either judge were on the criminal beat (neither were) they would know they were seriously overstepping bounds, and inviting Cassation to invalidate them right there.

(Some on PMF, maybe you among them, thought maybe one or other had been too heavily leaned on and in the sentencing report were hoping for Cassation invalidation.)

If cassation dont smack the appeal verdict down for that reason alone (as Yummi explains in what James quoted) it will have negative precedent effect across the entire Italian court system.

But let us say they do see a way to get further along into the appeal arguments.

They then confront various minefields and hurdles including three different minefields re C&V. They would have to “survive” all three if ther H&Z verdict is to be upheld.

One is that it is illegal to appoint consultants at second level (who of course brought no more special expertise to the case than all the other DNA experts including Italy’s best).

Another is that in several different ways C&V’s methods were questionable, irregular, or (in my terms)) incompetent and reduced to quoting obscure US handbooks. 

And a third is that it was illegal for H&Z to ignore the prosecution’s request for the trace DNA left on the big knife to be retested. If its Meredith’s RS and AK are 100% cooked.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 01/26/13 at 11:15 AM | #

Hi James, a wonderful, succint post, and I am waiting to read more from you.

You said:“what, pray, was the point of :-
1. Ordering a review of the DNA evidence….
2. Re-hearing Curatolo
3. Hearing from Aviello and Alessi
……other than that they were seeking that elusive “reasonable” element of doubt.”

The whole appeal process seen in hindsight, as you describe, clearly shows that the dice were loaded and that the crap players knew how they would land.

The funny thing is that:
1. the DNA “experts” didn’t do what they were asked to do (re-test the DNA)
2. witness Curatolo was not reheard, but rather mocked by the court
3. Aviello and Alessi are hardly “reasonable” elements to be introducing “reasonable doubt” in any judicial process

I hope and pray that the final appeal will get things back on track. In any case, the excellent documenting of this case here and on the PMF sites will help ensure that the Truth doesn’t get swamped by a pro-Knox PR and book marketing campaign.

Posted by Kermit on 01/26/13 at 02:19 PM | #

What is a “Lord of the Flies” attack?

Posted by aethelred23 on 01/26/13 at 08:50 PM | #

Aethelred, it’s a reference to Golding’s “Lord of the Flies” book, which you’re likely familiar with - it’s about a group of boys stranded on a deserted island and their subsequent descent into savagery, as their attempts to organize themselves into a lawful society fail due to desire to attain power, fear, distrust, etc. Several of the boys are either tortured or killed by the group.

Posted by Vivianna on 01/26/13 at 11:33 PM | #

Just read brmull’s comment that Maresca may leave the case.

Were he to do so that would truly be a great disappointment.  He has looked after the Kerchers, defended them and their interests very well throughout. 

I wonder why he would leave them at this point - or even after March as it seems likely that the case will continue awhile yet.

Posted by thundering on 01/27/13 at 01:48 AM | #

In Lord of the Flies the group worked one another up to kill a boy. The group dynamic of a Lord of the Flies attack is a known psychological phenomenon and has been discussed on PMF though under our Motives and Scenarios categories we dont really have a post on it.

The simulation movie shown by the prosecution in summation at trial which an anonymous person recently tried hard to discredit represented a long struggle with Meredith of that nature.

http://truejustice.org/ee/index.php?/tjmk/comments/dr_galati_please_check_out_what_looks_like_a_mischievous_defense/

Not surprising, that discredit attempt. The simulation had people crying in Massei’s closed courtroom. It was not shown in the Hellmann court. If it had been, a not guilty verdict might have been impossible to conceive.

Premeditated intent to kill under almost all nations’ law doesnt have to be weeks or days in the past, it can be simply minutes or even seconds.

By the end of the attack Judges Micheli and Massei both saw premeditated intent. At least by one of them. Both judges decided it was Knox, and both Guede and Sollecito seem to be saying in code that the death blow wasn’t by them - they are not “real” murderers.

But simply by being part of what was driving the presumed nightmare spiral the law says they would have equal guilt.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 01/27/13 at 08:55 AM | #

Is March 25th the day when Cassation announces a decision or the date when the review starts? If it’s decision day I assume there will have been ongoing to review up to that point. If so, is there input from defence and prosecution lawyers?

If the defence gets to say anything, how will they defend the acquittal position? Surely that will be like starting the trial all over again, almost.

Posted by Smacker on 01/28/13 at 12:20 PM | #

Hi Smacker. The Cassation decision should be announced on the same day, thought as usual we’ll all wait some weeks for the detailed reasoning.

If the prosecution appeal is rejected, the defenses wont have a requirement to rebut all of the above.

However, if the prosecution appeal is accepted, the case will be sent back to Perugia, or more likely Florence, to get right in the ways that Cassation mandates.

Such a move would be a big loss for the presumed perps right from the start, because any repeat appeal trial will give the prosecution what it wants: new judges, and a properly circumscribed focus.

Remember Judges H&K didnt actually allow the defenses a wide focus at first appeal. Really only the DNA and Curatolo. (Weirdly, the judges themselves re-expanded the scope!)

If the DNA consultancy is thrown out, and no retesting allowed, the appeal would seem to be reduced to looking at transcripts of the late Curatolo who, though good, wasnt a smoking gun witness. 

So it possibly wont matter if defence dont talk at all at Cassation, though they probably will. Of course AK’s lawyers have her own appeal of her felony conviction to present.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 01/28/13 at 03:00 PM | #

I am also curious to know how the process goes.

Will it be again arguments and back and forth debates? (back to the school?)

I thought they are simply going to see whether the law has been followed to the letter (and the spirit, just in case!)- in that case there is not much room for manipulation at all.

I am not a lawyer, but I feel that it will be difficult to steam-roll Galati’s objections- without damaging their own credibility. It will be tough, if not impossible, to find a middle ground. If Galati’s objections are accepted, which they should in principle at least, then what are the options they have? Can they still uphold the H&Z verdict?

If they decide to drag on this for months, there will certainly be doubts raised.

Posted by chami on 01/28/13 at 03:11 PM | #

The Cassation decision is scary for AK and RS. If the appeal is accepted it would seem from what you wrote that Cassation will essentially straight jacket the new trial so as to avoid the shambles of the last trial….“However, if the prosecution appeal is accepted, the case will be sent back to Perugia, or more likely Florence, to get right in the ways that Cassation mandates”.

That is not good for AK and RS, at all.

Posted by Smacker on 01/28/13 at 03:30 PM | #

Thanks Peter, you have clarified before I posted but did not see. I took time to compose!

If the appeal is dumped, what you think they will write in the report? Something like “the points raised in the appeal document are all valid but does not alter the material facts on ground” or something similar.

For example, how important are these technicalities?

Well, we just have to wait another 2 months!

The flies like an arrow,
Fruit flies like a banana

Posted by chami on 01/28/13 at 03:34 PM | #

Will we know the names of the Cessation judges before the day of the announcement?

Posted by Spencer on 01/29/13 at 03:13 PM | #

Reading everything, keeping an eye on it.  You saw, of course, in the Mail today about Knox’s book coming out.

Posted by James Higham on 02/12/13 at 05:21 AM | #

Hi Chami

We cannot think of a scenario for Dr Galati’s entire appeal simply being rejected. It is in too many layers, as Yummi has described, and Cassation have zero record of shrugging off complex multi-layer arguments like this.

The real question is how deep they will go before sending it back down. My own betting is that they wont go very deep because the illegal scope described by Yummi, James Raper and Cardiol in various posts here goes to the guts of Italian jurisprudence and could cause problems in thousands of cases down the years if allowed.

If they act as above, simply on scope, they wont even get down to the guts of the DNA consultancy report because the whole consultancy itself will have been thrown out.

In a way that would be a pity because Stefanoni clearly showed that it was Meredith’s DNA on the blade, and if the remaining sample is tested (as H&Z refused) Meredith’s DNA profile will presumably again be the result. Case over in the most definitive way possible.

By the way both Galati and Mignini are riding very high with the Supreme Court, much respected and trusted there, as none of the RS or AK team are.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 02/12/13 at 10:28 AM | #

Hi Spencer and James.

We know the name of the lead judge at Cassation who will be the one to listen to oral argument and announce the decision but need to check whether this should be put out. Looking good.

Yummi ha a post coming on what happened last Friday - Cassation throwing out very, very definitively the entire trumped-up Florence case against Giuttari and Mignini.

This was much reported in Italy and was a popular outcome. They are sitting very pretty to pursue suits against Sollecito, Spezi, Preston, Fischer, and anyone involved with Knox’s book.

Either the Knox people are getting bad legal advice (Dalla Vedova, who is not a criminal lawyer, seems to specialise in bad advice) or the promises of a Knox book and interview are just macho smoke.

The very extensive nature of the suits against Sollecito (there are maybe 40 defamatory passages in his book, we will identify them) will come as quite a shock, a negative Cassation finding will too.

When those happen, dont be altogether surprised if neither the promised Knox book or promised interview occur on time. Both would be bad moves as the dummy Sollecito is now finding out.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 02/12/13 at 10:36 AM | #


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