Supreme Court of Cassation March 25, 2015
Summary of the Supreme Court session, March 25, 2015
Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito were provisionally convicted of the murder of meredtith Kercher in 2009. In 2011 their appeal against that conviction was heard and was provisionally upheld. However, the Supreme Court subsequently quashed the findings of the appeal court and the appeal was re-heard in 2013. That court rejected their appeals and upheld the earlier conviction. Under Italian law, they are entitled to a further level of appeal to the Supreme Court. That is the purpose of today's hearing.
The Supreme Court of Cassation is divided into several judicial sections and this case was heard by the judges of Section V. The case was heard by a panel of five judges: the President is Gennaro Marasca, one of the Section Presidents of Cassation and member of Consiglio Direttivo, a sort of Executive Board of the Supreme Court, making him one of the most experienced judges in Italy. He was born in 1944 and has been a Magistrate since 1970.
Those present in the Court included Raffaele Sollecito and his legal team, headed by Giulia Bongiorno. Amanda Knox was not present but was represented by her own legal team of Carlo Dalla Vedova and Luciano Ghirga. Also present was Diya "Patrick" Lumumba, the bar owner who was initially arrested for the murder on the basis of Knox's allegations, and his lawyer, Carlo Pacelli. Although Knox has already been found definitively guilty of the crime "calunnia" against him, and has served her sentence in prison, she has never paid the civil damages that were awarded against her, and so Lumumba continues to maintain a role in the case.
The session opened at 10am CET in a crowded courtroom and the President immediately moved the court to the much larger Great Hall, to accommodate all the journalists and members of the public. He also banned the use of mobile phones and the sending of tweets from the court. First to speak was the Realtor Judge Paolo Antonio Bruno, who presented the case to the court. It was clear that he knows the case extremely well, speaking without notes. He caused some surprise to commentators by his opening remark that the trial had "not many certainties" beyond the girl's death and one definitely convicted, echoing remoarks made by Judge Zanetti, in the discredited 2011 appeal.
The Prosecution case was presented by Assistant Prosecutor General, Mario Pinelli: he is in his late 50s and has had a career both in the Abruzzo region (Avezzano where he was born in 1957, and L' Aquila) then Naples in the Procura Generale then was promoted to Cassazione. He is very well acquainted with cases involving murders and organised crime. His position is that the Florence appeal court's verdict "respects the indications set by the Cassazione". He highlighted some of the main points of evidence, saying that the lower courts had established that the break-in was staged and that it was crazy (demenziale) to imagine that Rudy Guede had climbed the wall multiple times, as would have been necessary to break into the cottage. The minor crime of theft has now expired according to the Statute of Limitations, so he asked for the sentences to be adjusted, without remand, to 28.3 yrs for Knox and 24.9 for Sollecito.
Next to speak was Marco Pacelli, on behalf of Patrick Lumumba, then Fabio Maresca for the Kercher family. He confirmed his agreement with the prosecution case and said that, after 8 years, he hopes this is the last time he has to make the same arguments. He called for the Judges to confirm conviction so that "Meredith Kercher can be finally remembered outside of a courtroom".
Carlo dalla Vedova opened the defense case for Amanda Knox and launched a blistering attack on the state of Italian justice system and the problem of "the neverending trial." Luciano Ghirga, also for Knox said that the scientific evidence favors Knox, as there is no trace of her in the "murder room".
The court was adjourned until Friday, when Sollecito's defence will speak and the judges will decide the case.
Tweets from the courtroom
We captured live tweets from courtroom in Rome where the appeals of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito were heard.
Tweets include those from:
- Kristeva: PerugiaMurderFile forum's own citizen reporter.
- Andrea Vogt: the freelance reporter who has provided unbiased reporting throughout the case
@KristevaPMF: I have arrived. Outside Section V Sollecito, father and Greta. Poor reception. #amandaknox
@KristevaPMF: @andreavogt has just arrived and speaking to Avv. Ghirga #amandaknox
@KristevaPMF: Spoke to Avv. Maori & asked him who general prosecutor is and he doesn't know yet. there are 2 sessions today #amandaknox
@KristevaPMF: American British Journalists are all talking to Avv Dalla Vedova now. #amandaknox
@KristevaPMF: Remo Croce looking nervous is pacing outside the hall #amandaknox #raffaelesollecito
@KristevaPMF: #RaffaeleSollecito smiling and looking very relaxed. #amandaknox
@andreavogt: Raffaele Sollecito is here in court, speaking with his lawyer Giulia Bongiorno. #amandaknox lawyers and Patrick Lumumba also present.
@KristevaPMF: All British and US journos speaking to Avv. Dalla Vedova #amandaknox
@KristevaPMF: I was expecting a larger crowd between public and reporters #amandaknox
@KristevaPMF: Avv. Maresca has arrived. #amandaknox
@BLNadeau: Rome high court in session. Phone/tweeting not allowed in court. #MeredithKercher #AmandaKnox #RaffaeleSollecito
Long gap in tweets as no tweeting allowed in court
@andreavogt: Court president gennaro Marasca calls break until 2:30. PG mauro Pinelli has another hour of args. Args & ruling could be Friday.#amandaknox
@KristevaPMF: CT president interrupts general prosecutor for a 45 min break. Phones banned, constant check by police #amandaknox
@KristevaPMF: President Judge says verdict will be on Friday as tomorrow other cases are discussed in section. #Amandaknox
@KristevaPMF: I just saw #RaffaeleSollecito walking by with Bongiorno. She was carrying a trolley #amandaknox
@KristevaPMF: Realtor Judge P. A. Bruno laughs once and while getting names wrong such as Hallowo instead of Halloween. #amandaknox lol
@KristevaPMF: #RaffaeleSollecito only seemed nervous when Prosecutor discussed computer, footprint on mat and bra clasp #amandaknox
@KristevaPMF: Paolo Antonio Bruno knows the case extremely well without ever looking at his notes #amandaknox
@KristevaPMF: Prosecutor is rather dry and reads fast a previously prepared exposure of whole case against #amandaknox & #RaffeleSollecito
@KristevaPMF: They initially started in a very small room packed with people & then moved us to the gorgeous Aula Magna #amandaknox
@KristevaPMF: Hearing will start again in 30 minutes. I repeat that verdict is coming in Friday #amandaknox
@KristevaPMF: Ok sorry. It could actually end tonight. But if not on Friday. depends how long lawyers talk #amandaknox
@andreavogt: Cannot tell how the court is leaning. Reviewer made hurtful and helpful comments to both sides. Still could go either way.
@KristevaPMF: Prosecutor finds Rudy's climbing up wall 4 numerous times "demenziale"
@Machiavelli_Aki: The Prosecutor General is Mario Pinelli. President Judge is Gennaro Marasca.
@KristevaPMF: Back in session. No phones. c u later
@Machiavelli_Aki: Prosecutor General said the Florence sentence "respects the indications set by the Cassazione"
@Machiavelli_Aki: PG says courts, based on findings "correctly established that the theft was staged".
Long break in tweets
@KristevaPMF: Prosecutors has ended. He asked without remand 28.3 yrs #amandaknox and 24.9 for #raffaelesollecito
@KristevaPMF: Pacelli now on civil case for Patrick Lumumba #amandaknox
@KristevaPMF: Bongiorno has asked to speak on Friday so most likely verdict will be then. #AmandaKnox #RaffeleSollecito
@andreavogt: There is a sense among some observers that the Court is differentiating between positions of #amandaknox and raffaelle Sollecito.
@andreavogt: Maresca: I am representing the Kercher family in court for the 8th time. I hope this will be the last arguments I give on their behalf.
@andreavogt: Maresca: It is time for the Kercher family to finally be able to remove this poor victim from the law courts. #amandaknox
@KristevaPMF: Maresca has now concluded. Confirms all points made by Nencini, the general prosecutor and Galati. #amandaknox
@KristevaPMF: Maresca Asks the Supreme Judges to not send #RaffaeleSollecito to United Sections. #amandaknox
@KristevaPMF: Maresca was brief and concise and said that after 8 years he hopes this is the last time he has to make same arguments
@KristevaPMF: Maresca says that everything asked by #amandaknox and #RaffaeleSollecito has already been asked at Perugia and Florence trial. Enough.
@KristevaPMF: Maresca makes a big point about pages re Conti & Vecchiotti and calls them on their lie. #amandaknox
@KristevaPMF: Maresca asks Judges to confirm conviction so that #MeredithKercher can be finally remembered outside of a courtroom #AmandaKnox
@andreavogt: Carlo dalla Vedova has launched a blistering attack on the state of Italian justice system and the problem of "the neverending trial."
@andreavogt: Lawyer Luciano Ghirga: The scientific evidence favors #amandaknox (no trace of her in the murder room).
@andreavogt: Ghirga: "its not that we want to blame the poor black guy, its that you cannot rule out a single aggressor."
@andreavogt: Dalla Vedova for #amandaknox: How can we tolerate in Italy that trials can go on forever? Convicted, acquitted, convicted, acquitted...
@KristevaPMF: Hearing back on Friday at 9am. Dalla Vedova concluded. still To be heard Maori and Bongiorno #amandaknox
@andreavogt: Hearing over for the day. Raffaelle Sollecito's defense will continue Friday, march 27. #amandaknox
@KristevaPMF: There is so much media and cameramen outside it's impossible to get out. #amandaknox
- PMF reporter Kristeva reporting live from the courtroom
- Biographical information provided by PMF poster, Popper
- Tweets from Barbie Nadeau
- Machiavelli_Aki tweeting from the court
- Andrea Vogt tweeting from the courtroom.