Amanda Knox has spent most of her adult life branded a murderer. Earlier this week, the highest court in Italy quashed the convictions of 27-year-old Amanda Knox and her former boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, of the murder of British student, Meredith Kercher. Ms. Kercher was found naked and stabbed to death in the apartment she shared with Knox in Perugia, Italy. Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito were the prime suspects in her killing.
In a case that has proved bizarre, intriguing, and at times farcical, Amanda Knox and Sollecito were convicted of the murder, cleared on appeal, re-arrested, re-convicted, and finally this week Italy’s highest court brought an end to the case by clearing the couple once and for all of carrying out the killing.
In yet another bizarre twist, the BBC reports that whilst the conviction of Amanda Knox for murder has been overturned, she remains convicted of trying to blame bar owner Patrick Lumumba of the crime. Knox was jailed for three years for that crime, and the judge confirmed that the sentence for that crime would stand. Knox will not have to return to prison, as that sentence has already been served.
There is no doubt that Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito have been through a long and difficult ordeal since Meredith Kercher’s murder, and the Telegraph claims today that both will now seek “hefty compensation.” It isn’t yet clear exactly how much compensation Knox will seek, but it is likely to run to several million dollars.
According to the National Monitor, lawyers for Amanda Knox confirmed that she would “be seeking compensation for wrongful imprisonment.” Raffaele Sollecito’s father has also indicated that his family would be seeking compensation saying, “You could hardly quantify a compensation figure, it has been such an awful business. We were pilloried.”
Whilst Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito have had their conviction quashed, the Independent reports that the Kercher family feels a “great sense of bitterness” over the court’s latest decision. Franceso Maresca, a lawyer for the family, claimed that Italy’s supreme court appeared to have acted beyond its jurisdiction, in this case noting that it is only supposed to rule on technicalities.
Many people feel that the Knox case has been botched by the Italian authorities from beginning to end. It would seem that the initial investigation, the trials, and re-trials and the media coverage have all been poorly handled. In any criminal case, it is up to the prosecutor to prove the case beyond any reasonable doubt, and the Italian courts have now ruled that this was not proved in Amanda Knox’s case.
Just as importantly, the case must be conducted in a way that is fair and impartial to all parties. Again, the courts have decided that the process was not fair to Knox and Sollecito, but is should be noted that Amanda Knox still stands convicted of a serious offense for which she was imprisoned. Knox still seems likely to be awarded millions as a result of her ordeal whilst the Kercher family, who lost a daughter, receive nothing.
Many will ask if this is justice.
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