Saturday, January 22, 2011

The Fourth Appeal Hearing Today Saturday: The Main Items On The Court’s Agenda

Posted by Peter Quennell

Not very much drama is expected. This hearing is mainly organizational.

The mood of the defense lawyers will be interesting to watch. Also whether Sollecito lawyer Giulia Bongiorno is a show or a no-show. And we may find out if the possible defense witnesses Mario Alessi and Luciano Aviello will actually testify. 

Two DNA experts nominated by Judge Hellman at the last appeal hearing on 11 December for the genetics testing of the bra clasp and the knife will appear and be sworn in and charged with their assignment.

Stefano Conti and Carla Vecchiotti of La Sapienza University in Rome will be asked how long they believe they will need and it is expected that they will ask for two to three months. 

And the court will establish a timetable for the testimony of several new defense witnesses who may challenge one or two components of Antonio Curatolo’s statement. Nick Pisa bizarrely mis-reports on this in the Daily Telegraph:

He had told the court he remembered the night “clearly” as he saw student revellers queuing up to catch buses to nightclubs on the outskirts of the city.

However defence lawyers have established that he could not have seen the students, as the night Meredith was murdered was a bank holiday with venues being shut and no buses running.

Have established that he could not have seen the students? Really? There were other buses than the disco buses running that night. Students were definitely around.

If prisoners Mario Alessi or Luciano Aviello are indeed put on the firm list to testify that’ll be a pretty sure sign that the defenses are really clutching at straws, as in each case their known claims are contradicted by dozens of evidence points .

The prosecution has interviewed both of them and those interviews have not been made public.  Here are more wrong and seemingly irrelevant claims bizarrely reported by Nick Pisa.

Retired British university professor David Anderson, who lives near Perugia and who has taken an interest in the case, said: “The conviction of Amanda and Raffaele is scandalous as neither has the psychological profile of a killer.

“The investigation was flawed from the beginning with many mistakes being made and there is no DNA, no real motive, no weapon and no credible witnesses at all.”


Some of the irrelevant and inaccurate claims made by David Andersen to whom Nick Pisa is giving credence. Andersen was himself a party to a court bungling and is seemingly taking it out on the Italians.


Knox and Sollecito were subjected to long interviews through the night of November 5, 2007. The police in Perugia were looking for a fast resolution to this horrific crime.

Like Kiszko, Amanda and Raffaele were outsiders. For some reason, the police and prosecutor knew a black man was involved and it was they who, using prolonged interview techniques, got Amanda to falsely implicate Patrick Lumumba.

Many questions surround Rudy Guede, who has also been convicted and was clearly at the crime scene, but it seems to me grossly unfair to blame Amanda for naming Lumumba, if this was suggested to her while deprived of sleep, during extreme interrogation in a foreign language by 12 police officers.

Any doubt over this, as well as over whether Amanda was lying when she said she was hit by a policewoman, could be eliminated by referring to the tape recordings that by law the police were required to make. These we have yet to see.

Neither Italian nor foreign media did the couple any favours. They seem to have triumphantly accepted reported idiosyncrasies in Amanda’s behaviour as confirmation of her guilt. Those photographs that suggested she might be a wronged, frightened victim of appalling circumstance somehow didn’t make it into the papers.

Fortunately, some of the most contentious issues are now being re-examined and I have enough confidence in justice in Italy to believe that Knox and Sollecito will soon be exonerated, their lives doubtless scarred but, it is to be hoped, not ruined, as Kiszko’s was. But we should never underestimate the extent to which people in powerful positions will fight for their professional survival.

As a result of startling miscarriages of justice in England - including the Kiszko case - measures were taken to prevent the misuse of power (‘abuse of process’) by those in authority.

There is now the Crown Prosecution Service, separate from the police, while the United States has rigorous Rules of Disclosure. Under these constraints, in both countries the case against Knox and Sollecito would never have made it to court. Italy, I fear, still lacks such safeguards.

Some good can still come of these young people’s sufferings, if Italy reforms its system, to guard against abuse of process in the future.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 01/22/11 at 12:05 PM | #

Amanda’s psychology has been much discussed but not that of her mother, father and stepfather.

It must be dawning on them, if it had not dawned a long time ago, that the chances of Amanda’s conviction being overturned are slim to non existent and yet they persist with round after round of interviews and engagements, and encouragement to their acolytes, ostensibly in support of the claim that Amanda is innocent.

What will be their position once the appeals have been exhausted? Will they stop seeking publicity? I expect that the answer is no.

So what are they getting out of it? Leave the money aside. What psychological needs and necessities are driving and being addressed by the campaign (waged in the teeth of the evidence) and are these different from those which others might have who find themselves in the position of having a daughter jailed abroad for a lengthy term?

I was much struck by a photograph of Curt Knox looking on approvingly as Judge Heavey, in support of Amanda, and extolling Curt’s character, addressed the local Rotary Club.That was the face of a man who looked contented - as if Heavey’s return to the fold was helping to address the problem of a self image that had been taking too many knocks of late.

Is Bruce Fisher’s book one of those that they would rather not have been written?

Is this all for Amanda, or has it long since been a battle to save egos that have been welded to Amanda’s cause?

Posted by James Raper on 01/22/11 at 08:57 PM | #

Interesting reflection. I come back time and again to the 10-year-long white hot feud between Curt and Edda that might - might - have contributed to Amanda’s seeming messed-up hard wiring. They would not like the impression to be out there that perhaps they should be sitting in the next cells. And so… this.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 01/23/11 at 12:52 PM | #

Hello Peter - do you know where I can read more about the “white hot feud” between CK and EM?  Thanks.

Posted by all4justice on 01/23/11 at 09:32 PM | #

I really enjoyed this video. Courtroom vibe before getting down to business felt relaxed, convivial.

It’s good to see the faces of Conti and Vecchioti. Much is now in their hands.

Posted by Hopeful on 01/23/11 at 11:42 PM | #

Hi all4justice,

I think Pete was partly referring to the fact that Edda Mellas had to take Curt Knox to court to collect child support on a number of occasions. Barbie Nadeau mentioned it in article for The Daily Beast:

I’ve been reliably informed that Curt left Edda when she was pregnant with Deanna, that Curt was pretty much an absent father and that Curt and Chris Mellas hate each other. I suspect all of the above caused serious friction between Curt and Edda.

Posted by The Machine on 01/24/11 at 01:15 AM | #

I wish Amanda had gotten the help she needed before throwing her life away and ending another. in that regard, I feel bad for her. Please note that this isnt me defending her I want Knox to spend her life in prison

Posted by DougPDX on 01/24/11 at 01:53 AM | #

The video is important for showing us an Amanda in performance mode. She may have entered the courtroom “with head bowed,” as elsewhere reported. Yet here she has cast off modesty to give a performance full of allure & erotic charm.

Quite as if the mere presence of her lawyer is enough of a turn-on for Amanda to display her wiles. Apart from the extraordinary animation of her face (going through such a range of expressions) she makes sure to draw attention to herself with conspicuous movements of the hands.

Not the least trace of apprehension or remorse. She enjoys herself in this mode.

Peter’s reference (under knife video) to the post by Giustizia comparing Amanda & Scott Peterson shows well how the amiable & self-gratifying feelings Amanda displays are evidently compatible with psychopathic un-feeling, indifference & a remorseless brutality.

Posted by Ernest Werner on 01/26/11 at 05:31 PM | #

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