Amanda Knox fails to overturn slander conviction in Italy

Amanda Knox before verdict
Amanda Knox before the verdict. (Image: Reuters)

Amanda Knox has lost her bid to overturn a slander conviction in Italy.

The American woman was eventually cleared of the brutal 2007 murder of her flatmate, 21-year-old Meredith Kercher, in the apartment they shared in the Italian university town of Perugia.

But she was only released, in 2011, after four years in prison in Italy.

The slander conviction for wrongly accusing a Congolese bar owner who employed her part-time of the murder during an interrogation was the only charge against Knox that withstood five court rulings that ultimately exonerated her.

Meredith Kercher
Meredith Kercher. (Image: PA)

 

The Italian court found Knox guilty of slander and issued a three-year sentence.

She had been sentenced to three years for wrongly accusing the bar owner, Patrick Lumumba, of the killing of Ms Kercher in an earlier case.

She will not serve any more jail time as the sentence counts as time she has already served in prison.

Knox cried and hugged her husband after the verdict was read out in court.

Her lawyer said: “Amanda is very upset, she was hoping to finally clear her name.”

Knox had argued in court in Florence this week that her slander conviction should be overturned because of her treatment by police.

Along with her ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, Knox was convicted of the murder of Ms Kercher in 2007. Both were acquitted of the crime in 2011 and then fully exonerated in 2015.

She has since established herself in the US as an advocate, writer, podcaster and producer – with much of her work drawing on her experience in the Italian legal system.

While Knox and Mr Sollecito were definitively acquitted of murder by Italy’s highest court in 2015, her conviction for slander against Mr Lumumba was not rescinded.

Diya "Patrick" Lumumba at Italy's highest court building, in Rome, Friday, March 27, 2015. Pic: AP
Diya ‘Patrick’ Lumumba (left). (Image: AP)

 

A year later, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled a long night of questioning days after Ms Kercher’s murder violated her rights because she was questioned without a lawyer or official translator.

In light of this, Italy’s Supreme Court overturned the slander conviction last year and ordered a retrial.

Amanda Knox. Pic: Reuters
(Image: Reuters)

 

The new trial, which started last April, focused on just one piece of evidence: Knox’s four-page handwritten statement that the court examined to see if it contained elements to support slander against Mr Lumumba.

He was held in jail for two weeks after Ms Kercher’s death before police released him and he has since left Italy.

The letter, which Knox wrote in a 53-hour span of questioning over four days starting on 6 November 2007, reflects a state of confusion.

“In regards to this ‘confession’ that I made last night, I want to make clear that I’m very doubtful of the verity [sic] of my statements because they were made under the pressures of stress, shock and extreme exhaustion,” Knox wrote.

Rudy Guede, from the Ivory Coast, was convicted in 2008 of the sexual assault and murder of Ms Kercher. His DNA was found at the scene. Guede was released from prison in 2021 after serving 13 years of a 16-year term.

He was recently ordered to wear a monitoring bracelet and not leave his home at night after an ex-girlfriend accused him of physical and sexual abuse. An investigation is ongoing.

Former Perugia public prosecutor Giuliano Mignini, who led the investigation into Ms Kercher’s murder, told Sky News during the opening hearing that “there may still be a culprit who took part in the murder and who has not been discovered yet”.

Source:  Sky News news.sky.com

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