Now, I'm really not one to say, 'I told you so'...okay, that's a lie. I am. I LOVE IT. So here we go.

I fucking told you so.

Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito, after spending nearly 4 years in an Italian prison for killing Meredith Kercher, have been fully acquitted of the murder charge levelled against them by a corrupt and inept prosecutor, Giuliano Mignini.

I stayed up to watch the verdict and, despite my erratic internet connection and zero knowledge of Italian, was able to witness the judge confirm that the charges were being dropped 'because they did not commit the crime' and see Amanda Knox collapse into the arms of her defence team with a relief that I don't think any of us will ever be able to understand.

In the days leading up to the verdict, I would try and put myself into her shoes. And I don't even mean as someone who stood falsely accused, let's just disregard her innocence or - lack of - for the moment. She was building up to a moment in time that would either leave her in an Italian jail cell until middle age, leave her in an Italian jail cell for the rest of her life (as Mignini had requested) or send her back to her home country, with all her friends and family, and where she had spent the first, event-free 20 years of her life where nobody had ever accused her of murder.

How she must be feeling now, I have no idea. My first thoughts turned to food, to be honest. 'She's going to eat the shit out of some Italian food before she leaves', I kept thinking. She must be on cloud 99, never mind cloud 9.

But she will surely never be the same after this. Prison must take something out of you, whether you are guilty or not, and 4 years of it must really change a person. She will no longer trust anyone like she would have before, never know whether people actually believe she is innocent. If it were me, I'd be paranoid as hell for the rest of my life, scared to ever let myself get anywhere near a situation whereby someone might accuse me of some awful crime. I just hope she is able to find happiness somehow.

And for Sollecito as well, seemingly ignored by his home media during this trial and certainly largely ignored by the foreign media, his future must be uncertain. I wonder if he will be able to move on, in the country where the crime took place under a system that wrongly imprisoned him for 4 years? I'd be so angry, bitter, resentful. I wonder if he can let these emotions go? I wonder if the Italian people will be able to accept their justice system's own verdict? I suppose only time will tell.

So, did they do it? I never thought so, but only those present at the scene will ever really know. Rudy Guede, the man who's DNA was the only one represented at the crime scene is serving 16 years for the murder but has never formally admitted his involvement. But a denial carries little weight when forensic evidence puts you at the crime scene and you fucking run to Germany the day after the crime. Knox and Sollecito's denials always seemed a trifle more convincing - because nobody could prove that they did it.

It is the responsibility of the prosecutor to prove guilt, not for the defendant to prove innocence. That is why I was so angered throughout the trial and subsequent appeal, and why only very shallow digging will unearth that dreaded whiff of corruption that so often underpins Italian society. Sig. Mignini, for example, has recently been convicted of abuse of office. More specifically, he was found using illegal wire taps to support his evidence in another trial. Because of his right to appeal, however, he was not prevented from doing his job and so you are left with the quite frankly hypocritical situation where a convicted criminal is prosecuting suspected criminals. Mignini was gunning for Knox from the very beginning, when he realised the media exposure that would come from a sex crime involving two beautiful foreigners, a studious looking Italian boy and a token black man. No problem that the first black man to be implicated (Patrick Lumumba) had an alibi! Just substitute in Guede, literally invent some bullshit about a sex game and the occult, and you have yourself a prosecution case! They had no evidence that even placed Knox or Sollecito at the crime scene. All they had was some odd behaviour at the police station (cartwheels by Knox, exactly what a murderer would do after being arrested for murder, right?) an unexplained turning off of their mobile phones on the morning following the murder and no alibi except each other. There was nothing else. But of course, they were charged due to a lack of other leads.

This lack of evidence was brought up by the father of Raffaele Sollectio on national TV, 45 days after the body was found. The host of the show, a widely respected Italian journalist, suggested that, were Sig. Sollecito to be correct regarding the prosecution case's weaknesses, then 'somebody would pay'. The day after the show was broadcast, the prosecutors announced that they had found one of Meredith Kercher's bra clasps upon which they had discovered the DNA of Sollecito. At appeal, an independent trial deemed this evidence inadmissible, as it was "not supported by scientifically validate analytical procedures". It was complete and utter bollocks, in other words.

As well as this farcical and borderline criminal behaviour, the 'tag-team' questioning of Knox conducted by the Italian police in the middle of the night, where they relentlessly bullied her, denied her either a rest or a lawyer, confused and coerced her before forcing her to implicate herself and Lumumba (she has served a 3 year sentence and will pay a fine for this crime of slander) was disgusting and again casts doubt on the already pathetic evidence the Italians were using to prosecute. I was accused of not showing enough respect for the Italian justice system when I wrote my first blog. Now I wonder if I actually showed it far too much. The American press has certainly suggested the Italians have made a hash of it, but from a country that recently executed an innocent man and released a guilty woman...let's just say that their glass house is in danger from their own stones.

The Italian judges presiding over the appeal had two options for acquittal. They could have freed the pair due to a lack of evidence. In this case, they would not have been declared innocent, but the court would admit that there was not enough evidence to convict and so they would have been freed. Or, there was the second option. The one that they chose. To fully acquit them of their crimes, and admit that their conviction were, in fact, incorrect. 'They did not commit the crime', the Judge told the court. Knox will return to America today as a completely innocent woman, with 4 years of torment to contend with. But the prosecution team has been dealt a full-force and incredibly humiliating blow.

The question must surely be asked - and in Italy, to the people who are responsible for this miscarriage of justice, it must be asked over and over again - why were they even charged with the crime in the first place?

At the end of all of this (and despite the prosecution having the option of an appeal, one has to suspect that this will now be the end of it), Meredith Kercher is no more alive than she was before. There has still been a beautiful, intelligent, innocent life extinguished for no bigger reason than some mobile phones and a sexual kick. Her family has every right to be confused, as they have said since the verdict, but hopefully they will accept the appeal verdict as much as they seemed to accept the guilt of Knox and Sollectito after the initial trial. If they want to blame someone or something for their 4 years of torment, and the lack of closure they must now feel as further confusion and doubt is cast over the events of that fateful night four years ago, then blame Giuliano Mignini and his entirely inept prosecution team.

But for Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito - a young couple who were guilty of nothing more on the night that Meredith died than enjoying a cheeky spliff, some pasta and a shag - their lives, that have been on pause for the last 4 years, can finally start again.

Love, Smithy x


Forte said...

Hmm seem to remember being critical of your last post on this case. I stand corrected. the Italian prosecutors were a disgrace and shame on them for being so pathetically inept.I guess we'll never know whether Knox was involved in the murder of this poor girl and my feelings are with the family. can't help but think deals have been done behind the scenes here but feel lucky to be a part of the UK and our justice system (for a change)

Postman said...

Okay, maybe the justice system isn't perfect, but you gotta admit Tookie Williams had it coming.

And as for why Amanda Knox was convicted, I'm sure the Italian government just wanted to keep her around for a few years so they could wank off to her picture on the news.

Smithy said...

Nobody had it coming to them.

No Government that commits an act so violent as to kill one of their own citizens can then expect those same citizens to act in any other way than that - violently.

Postman said...

Smithy, you're talking like Tookie was an innocent man, and the U.S. goes around offing innocent people just for kicks. Tookie was a criminal. A cold, heartless, baby-eating monster. It was he who committed wrong in the first place, and no one can sanely decry the justice visited upon him. Such people as Tookie, and Stephen Wayne Anderson and Ted Bundy and all the rest, deserve death. And furthermore, they earned it. They brought it upon themselves by their actions. It is within a government's rights to rid itself of citizens it deems as an irredeemable danger to society (by due process of course). You will never convince me otherwise.

And there's a sort of unwritten rule in the States that if the government fails to represent the people's interests, it's within the people's rights to violently rebel, revolt, and generally raise hell until their demands are met. The Whiskey Rebellion didn't come off quite as planned, but it achieved the desired result. And Americans might all be speaking with Southern drawls, wearing cotton clothes and maintaining slaves if the South had had better infrastructure and a more diversified economy during the Civil War.

You don't let people get away with shit. Not criminals, and certainly not the government. (Oh wait, those two things are the same.)

Postman said...

And another thing: since when has lethal injection been considered violent?

Smithy said...

Murder is a violent act, in whatever form it occurs.

Look, I'm not going to debate the death penalty with you. I know with your belief system that I'd never be able to convince you otherwise, and I do respect your opinion.

But I also know in my heart that the death penalty is wrong. It is outdated and barbaric, and one day will be looked back on with as much shame as slavery and segregation. I just hope I live long enough to see that day.

Postman said...

Yeah, and I'm hoping I live long enough to see commercial flights to Mars commence. Doesn't mean it's going to happen.

Let's not debate. We've already made our feelings clear to each other in past conversations. Just answer me this: what's the alternative? Imprisonment? Banishment? Having Batman swoop down and knock all these evil guys off ledges?

Smithy said...

Both of our wishes WILL come true, Postman. But I bet that mine comes true first.

One word - rehabilitation.

Perhaps my views are a little idealistic, I'd be the first to admit that is the case. But we are all human beings - fantastic apes, as Ricky Gervais puts it - and not one person on this planet has the right to end my time upon it, no matter what I have done. I firmly believe that in the deepest parts of my soul.