The Knox/Sollecito appeal adds to the list of examples that highlight the schism created by the information superhighway (although, it more likely highlights a separation already within society); the internet can be simultaneously enlightening, and a return to the dark ages. On the one hand you have the wonderful access to information garnered by the technology as provided by a diligent army of truth defenders (lawyers, skeptics, WikiLeaks, etc.). On the other, the immediate accessibility to a mainly unmoderated platform for publishing uninformed views. It does beg the question, if people on one side of the internet are conscientious in forming their opinions, then why is the other so willing to make judgements without studying the freely available evidence? Is it not in our nature to be inquisitive, and in our modesty to be sure of our facts?
The Knox/Sollecito appeal against their conviction for the murder of Meredith Kercher was the outcome of a criminal investigation. To that end, the basis for a correct conviction was the evidence, and by definition that evidence must always be proven factual. Therefore, to be certain of the facts, it was essential to dismiss all the rhetoric from this case: the ad hominem attacks (“sex-loving she-devil”), the politics (anti-Americanism), class (rich vs poor) and race issues (white Knox and Sollecito vsblack Guede and Lumumba), and reduce the case to it’s simplest form, where the remaining facts were all that mattered.
Irrespective of this, prosecutor Mignini pursued a tact that clearly indicated an ulterior motive. He played an Inquisition-type game with his delusions of satanic sacrifices and carnal conspiracies. Even the thought that this was allowed is horrifying. As with any murder trial, the responsibility was huge here: the consequence of getting it right is whether two young people are free to live their lives, or be incarcerated into middle age.
It is therefore an equally huge relief that the appeal was successful. Not only did it reverse the original sentencing and freed Knox and Sollecito with immediate effect, but it also exonerated them entirely of any involvement in Kercher’s murder, and all this in Catholic Italy where they still entertain talk of witchcraft by counsel. It is as much a win for rationalism over superstition, as it is a win for justice over corruption.
To repeat, going by the evidence as the only basis for passing judgment on the case, in his statement the judge make it clear that there is no question that Knox and Sollecito are innocent of any involvement in the murder. Yet, however unequivocal this most recent judgement, a large section of society seems adamant not to accept the clear fundamental evidence that proved Guede’s guilt (in addition to the irrefutable DNA evidence, his inability to account for his bloody handprint on the pillow is most damning), and Knox’s and Sollecito’s innocence (admittedly, confusion over their statements and implication of Lumumba did not help, but panic and police coercion account for it, and cross-contamination of evidence was the only way their DNA became implicated).
Thus, Knox and Sollecito did not “get away with it” as claimed by the antagonists directing the extreme hate and bile particularly at Knox, via the #AmandaKnox and #MeredithKercher Twitter hashtags or their alternatives. The other themes almost entirely relate to American Imperialism and Knox’s sexuality and the personal wealth that she stands to earn from this experience. So, why do these people feel qualified to judge this case without apparent reference to the evidence, but rather focussing upon fatuous aspects from beyond the courtroom?
Some examples of these attacks follow this copy of the original judge’s Sentence of the Court of Perugia which is included here for your own information, as the only relevant documentary evidence in the case.
To highlight the continuing apparent ignorance and hyperbole surrounding this case, the following tweet screen-shots were collected from the #AmandaKnox Twitter hashtag on the evening of the 5th October, 2011, i.e., fully 2 days after the appeal verdict.
Writer. Darwin, science & more. 4 books: Piospheres, Darwin in Scotland, Serial Killers. Current project is THE DISSENT OF MAN. Born near London, raised near Primrose Hill and in Lincolnshire, and studied at the Universities of Bangor, York and Edinburgh for degrees in Biochemistry, Bioelectronics and Biological Computation, and a PhD in African Ecology. Mainly working in British and African universities, but also in Spain, Brussels, Mongolia and Australia, to date, publication history is mostly in academic journals, on aspects of computational biology, pastoralism and on Charles Darwin and evolution. However, also written for several national newspapers, various governments, several major record labels and independent book publishers. Fiction has appeared at the Edinburgh International Book Festival and poetry is at the Human Genre Project. Lives in Edinburgh, with partner and their two daughters.