Tuesday 28 February 2017

Prosecutors file appeal against Knox acquittal for Kercher murder

Nick Squires in Rome

Italian prosecutors launched an appeal yesterday against the acquittal of Amanda Knox and her former boyfriend for the murder of British student Meredith Kercher in the university town of Perugia.

The Court of Cassation is expected to make a ruling on the case, which has inspired books, films and worldwide interest, towards the end of the year.

Prosecutors in Perugia filed the 111-page appeal to Italy's highest criminal court, the Court of Cassation in Rome, more than four months after Ms Knox (24) had her guilty verdict and 26-year prison sentence overturned on appeal.

Raffaele Sollecito, her ex-boyfriend, also had his guilty verdict and 25-year jail sentence quashed.

Ms Kercher, of Coulsdon, Surrey, was found stabbed to death in the house she shared with Ms Knox and two other women in the Umbrian hill town in November 2007. Her body bore more than 40 injuries and lay in a pool of blood on the floor.

Prosecutors claimed she had been killed during a drug-fuelled, frenzied sex attack by Ms Knox, Mr Sollecito and a third attacker, a local drifter named Rudy Guede.

Guede, originally from Ivory Coast, is serving a 16-year sentence -- reduced on appeal from 30 years -- and is the only person in jail for the crime.

The convictions of Ms Knox and Mr Sollecito were thrown out by an appeals court in October, with the judges and jury deciding that the DNA evidence and witness testimony used to convict them was unreliable.

But Giovanni Galati, a Perugia prosecutor, insisted yesterday that the acquittal contained "omissions and many mistakes" and said he was "convinced" that Ms Knox and her then boyfriend carried out the killing.

The Court of Cassation is not authorised to summon new evidence -- it will make its decision purely on the evidence that has already been presented in court.

If the court's panel of senior judges accept prosecutors' arguments then a retrial could be ordered. Prosecutors would then request Ms Knox's extradition from the US under a 1984 extradition treaty between the two countries. It would be up to the discretion of American authorities as to whether they approved the extradition.

Mr Sollecito said through his lawyer that the prosecutors' decision to appeal his acquittal would ensure that the "living hell" he had experienced over the last four years would drag on.

Drawing on the diaries she kept behind bars, Ms Knox is writing a book about her experiences, which is believed to be the subject of a multi-million dollar bidding war by American publishers. (©Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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