Meredith Kercher’s family says they still have no answers regarding the death of the British student. Link to this video
Amanda Knox is flying back to her native Seattle as the prosecutor who led the investigation into the murder of Meredith Kercher indicated he would seek to overturn her acquittal and that of her former Italian boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, in Italy‘s top appeals court.
The murdered Briton’s family, who will be returning to London on Tuesday after hearing the appeal decision, expressed bewilderment and frustration at the outcome.
Lyle Kercher, her brother, told a press conference: “While we accept the decision that was handed down yesterday, respect the court, and obviously the Italian justice system, we do find now that we are looking at this again and thinking how a decision that was so certain two years ago has been so emphatically overturned now.”
The Italy-US Foundation, which has championed Knox’s cause, said the American was at Leonardo da Vinci airport in Rome boarding a flight to London, where she would catch a connecting flight to the United States. Knox was believed to have been escorted by police through a non-public entrance to the airport.
Giuliano Mignini, the prosecutor who led the investigation, said he was confident the court of cassation, Italy’s highest appeals tribunal, would deliver justice. Lyle Kercher said he understood that Mignini intended to take the case further.
Though Knox was acquitted of murdering her British flatmate, she was given a heavier sentence for slandering her former employer, a Congolese bar owner. In a statement to police, signed without the assistance of a lawyer, she said Diya “Patrick” Lumumba was the murderer. Lumumba spent a brief period in jail as a result.
“What was the motive for the slander if she was not involved in the murder?” asked Mignini.
A fourth person, Rudy Guede, was later found to have been at the scene of the crime. He was tried in separate proceedings and convicted of Kercher’s murder. He lost two subsequent appeals.
Mignini remarked that the court of cassation had accepted the view that Guede did not act alone. The point was echoed by Lyle Kercher.
“If the two who were released yesterday were not the guilty parties, we are left wondering who are the other person or people and for us it feels very much like back to square one,” he told reporters.
The Italian justice system envisages a trial, appeal and second appeal to the court of cassation. But the second appeal normally only considers points of law or procedure.
An appeal to Italy’s supreme court is open to both sides in a case. But Lyle Kercher noted that Mignini would need authorisation from his superiors to go further.
The prosecutor has previously argued that the review of DNA evidence ordered by the appeal court – which cleared the way for the acquittal of Knox and Sollecito – could be ruled null and void by the court of cassation since such reviews must be ordered at a defendant’s first trial.
If the Rome court ordered the appeal to be restaged, it would most likely be held in Florence, said Mignini, who left the hearing on Monday night without making any comment on the outcome. He criticised the media’s focus on the American student.
“I have never seen such media pressure. We can’t go on like this,” he said.
So far the Kerchers’ lawyer has aligned them in court four-square behind the prosecution’s case that the victim died resisting a violent, four-way sex game. But the press conference saw the family hit a more sceptical note.
Meredith Kercher’s sister, Stephanie, said: “We don’t want the wrong people put away for a crime they didn’t commit.” The press conference also revealed that the family’s chief legal representative, Francesco Maresca, had stopped Sollecito’s father from talking to the Kerchers after the verdict.
Maresca said: “Yesterday, in front of the bench in court, did not seem to me to be the best moment.”
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Categories: The Western Press