Candace Dempsey is a Seattleite who has been blogging in support of Amanda Knox since early 2008. She has also written a book outlining Knox’s innocence, Murder In Italy. Hers is the first presentation in the video Amanda Knox: The Case for Innocence, which you can view in my last post.
Given the forum and Dempsey’s strong opinion on the case, it is perhaps surprising that her presentation is, for the most part, factual and shouldn’t give those who believe Knox to be guilty too much cause for outrage.
There are, though, a couple of occasions where she crosses the line, I think. For example, she dramatically claims that Knox “was held under lock and key without charge for a whole year”. In fact, she was charged before ever being detained – I suspect Dempsey is getting confused between “charge” and “arraignment”. This seems like a bit of a throwback to the the Abu Ghraib-esque depiction of the Italian justice system formerly favoured by Knox’s supporters. Wisely and mercifully, that is something they tend now to distance themselves from.
Another thing that seems a bit misleading in her presentation is the repeated insinuation that Knox was prosecuted based on an improbable theory that she had killed Kercher during a sex orgy that got out of hand. Although there was some speculation about this in the media immediately following the murder, it was a theory that prosecutors swiftly and pointedly dispelled. I think it’s safe to say that this didn’t have anything to do with Knox’s eventual conviction.
Elsewhere, Dempsey does raise some fair points. In highlighting the embryonic nature of the relationships within the circle of foreign students around Knox and Kercher, she points us to something that is worth keeping in mind. Although some of Kercher’s friends testified that they found Knox’s behaviour following the murder suspicious, many of them had not really spoken to her beforehand. It may well be that they judged her unfairly in what were, after all, very unusual circumstances.
Although Dempsey’s presentation is, as might be expected, somewhat slanted so as to invoke sympathy for Knox, she doesn’t really bring out much that actually points to her innocence (although, in fairness, the hard evidence of the case is not part of her brief on this occasion). She highlights, for instance, the use of the “Foxy Knoxy” moniker in the British tabloid press following the murder. But, whilst this may have had a distorting effect on impressions of the case in Britain, it is far from clear that it is something that might have influenced the decision of the court in Italy.
Dempsey also seems strangely concerned about the unfairness of having multiple lawyers on the prosecution team during the trial, as if the interests of justice should require someone to shoulder the burden alone. Either there is something I am not understanding, or else her presentation is very much grasping at straws in its defence of Knox.