There is an appeal to the Supreme Court right now and before discussing John Kercher’s book, let me refer to the case in abridged terms.
Basically, criminal cases like this in Italy usually see prosecutions pushing it uphill to overcome the pro-defendant, anti-victim bias in recent years – the cases of Sonia Marra and Melania Rhea are two worth looking at.
An example closer to home was in the Mail yesterday:
It’s difficult to understand the brain, the way it operates, in people like that and I’m not referring to the perpetrator.
Despite all of this, the conviction of Knox and her two sidekicks was overwhelming, independently confirmed by 19 justices. You can’t get much more convincing than that. The evidence was just too much and too damning, the defendants changed their alibis each time new evidence came out, the forensic side was quite acceptable but hardly important in the overall, as over 140 points of evidence condemned the killers.
Justice had been done and the Kerchers could now rest easy.
The subject of the current appeal is that Judge Hellman was underqualified to conduct such an investigation, as were his so-called independent experts who’ve since been thoroughly debunked and that there were various finer points of procedure which Hellman allegedly mucked up and that is being discussed now by the third appeal court – the court of cassation.
One major blunder of Hellman’s was to push the line that there was only one perpetrator. Now it doesn’t matter whether you or I agree on this or not – the point is that the Supreme Court, those hearing this current appeal, originally accepted that there had been three perpetrators, certainly more than the one.
As John Kercher asks in his book, if there is more than one, then who are the others? Someone from outside who never appeared at any time during the exhaustive investigations and subsequent trials?
There is also a tendency in Italian justice for the Supreme Court to more or less agree with the original conviction which had to be based on evidence, to “rebalance”, whereas the first appeal phase is a circus, as we’ve seen. In short, Hellman refused the prosecution permission to even present their evidence! Yet he allowed the defence to present their two points and not be questioned on any of the others.
This current appeal is a whole different ballgame which neither the Knox and American media camp nor Berlusconi can influence any more and so it is by no means cut and dried that the Supreme Court will throw out this latest appeal plus one more thing - the prosecution this time have roped in a heavyweight of the Italian justice system at the Supreme Court level and the State can pack a punch when it’s riled.
Now this isn’t to say that the Supreme Court will uphold the appeal because it is being heard on technical judicial points, not on the case itself and none of us can comment on that with authority.
I left a comment yesterday at TJMK:
Clearly the Supreme court considers the new appeal only on its merits but it doesn’t hurt to have this book out in public and it wouldn’t be hard for what the book says to become mainstream.
To say that the courts would not be aware there is an account out there respectful to the lower and supreme courts is a bit naive – they would be well aware and it’s hardly going to prejudice Meredith’s case.
This can only be to the good, this book and he is a fine writer to boot.
Posted by James Higham on 04/27/12 … Peter Quennell, webmaster, replied:
Agreed 100 percent. Italian prosecutors face one of the toughest tasks in the world. The Italian justice system began with the Post WWII constitution already strongly favoring defendants and then successive governments (espec Berlusconi’s) made it much much more-so.
There is a mood in Italy that the system has “liberalized” too far and that almost all victims get pushed right off the stage, espcially at first appeal level.
To correct this imbalance would involve some changes in Italian law, such as eliminating juries at first appeal level, and stopping defendants making self serving “spontaneous statements” to the court as Amanda Knox did repeatedly – to her great advantage as it worked out.
Books like John Kercher’s are not uncommon in Italy, or in the US for that matter: making the victim a presence in the room. Many websites try that too.
In the US there are confrontational TV shows like Nancy Grace’s that often say a lot of good things about the victim and a lot of bad about the presumed perp.
In Italy the equivalent shows are not confrontational and they can include suspects and families and lawyers from all sides and some very good reporters. (The best Italian reporter on Meredith’s case is Giuseppe Castellini of Umbria Joiurnal.)
Our Italian lawyers all say that the Supreme Court (and the President who can if he wants have a role) often re-balance, so in all three cases convictions may eventually stand. But what hard work and how tough for those hurt.
And that’s the issue – the hurt of the victim. Whilst a full and fair defence is always an absolute necessity for justice to be done, this was not accorded to the prosecution in the first appeal and that is very far from justice being done, whichever way you stand on the actual case.
Thus it leaves the family, as articulated by the father, in a no-man’s land. The excerpt which you can read by clicking on the pic above right is really heartrending for any parent and probably for many others too. He outlines what he was doing on the day, about her phone call, about agreeing to call her the next day, of a phone call in the evening saying the Italian press were on about an English girl killed in Perugia. You don’t need me to tell you how that would have felt.
This book will do one thing, if nothing else – it will put Meredith front and square, not as a bloodied murder victim of those three sub-humans [whoever did it] but as a human being who had her life snuffed out on a whim. John Kercher is careful not to jump one way or the other as we have done – we can do that all we like – but to concentrate on his daughter and so he should. He has not done promotional things for big money although the pressure was intense on them to do so, as Knox has done.
It’s a measure of the Knox camp’s utter incapacity to act as humans that they’ve vilified John Kercher already for profiting from Meredith’s murder. Watch closely to see any sign of him doing that whatever.
Knox isn’t guilty because of her obnoxious family or even for her own lowlife ways – she’s guilty because the Supreme Court accepted there were three perpetrators and 19 justices concurred that they were the ones originally convicted.
If the appeal is upheld, then comes the long process of extraditing Knox and that will be tough on the Kerchers. If it’s not upheld, on purely legal technicalities, then it leaves the whole case wide open again. What a nightmare.
Here is the post on this site in which the comments section lays out many of the points in the case. Check the sidebar here for links to TJMK, PMF and the Massei Report.