Thu, Feb 16, 2012 - Page 6 News List

Italian prosecutors file Knox challenge

The Guardian, ROME

Italian prosecutors have filed an appeal against the acquittal of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito for the murder of the British student Meredith Kercher in Perugia.

Knox and Sollecito were initially handed 26 and 25-year sentences for the fatal stabbing of Kercher in November 2007.

The pair were acquitted on appeal in October last year after a court ruled that Knox had been pressed to make compromising statements during interrogation and that key DNA evidence was poorly handled.

Under Italian law, both prosecutors and the accused have the right to take cases to a second appeal at Italy’s Supreme Court, and Tuesday’s filing was expected. Depositing the 111-page appeal, the prosecutor Giancarlo Costagliola said: “I immediately had the feeling that the appeal decision was profoundly unjust and now I am convinced that it should be annulled.”

A local drifter, Rudy Guede, was given a definitive conviction in a separate trial for his role in the murder.

Reacting to news of the appeal, Sollecito said: “This is a story that never ends. For me it’s a real torment which has lasted for four years.”

The Supreme Court will not reconsider evidence and cannot convict, but will examine whether correct legal procedures were followed. Should it decide procedures were violated, it will order a retrial.

Prosecutors have previously questioned whether the appeal court was within its rights to order the review of DNA evidence that proved crucial to the acquittal.

Carlo dalla Vedova, a lawyer representing Knox, said: “Hypothetically speaking, should there be a new hearing, it would be held in Florence. But I doubt the Supreme Court will rule before the end of this year. Then you would need months to fix a new hearing and neither the supreme court nor the court in Florence could order the defendants to be taken into custody before a final verdict, which would be three to four years from now.”

Knox moved back to her home town of Seattle after serving four years in jail in Perugia.

Knox is still on trial in Italy charged with falsely claiming that Italian police hit her during her interrogation.

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