There’s another court date tomorrow in the slow-motion appeal of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito. There doesn’t seem to be any specific news as to what might be on the agenda in terms of witnesses called etc – I’ll try to update this post if that happens.
There are two things that are likely to come up, although how much time is spent on them is likely to be down to how much lawyers want to comment on them.
Firstly, private detectives hired by the Sollecito family have come up with evidence suggesting that there was no open-air market on Piazza Grimana, near to the scene of the crime, on the day the murder took place, 1 November 2007. My immediate thought about this is that being a private detective seems like easy money. Apart from that, though, the information is relevant to the testimony of rough-sleeper Antonio Curatolo, who said he saw Knox and Sollecito that night on the basketball court adjacent to the Piazza.
There’s already a question mark over his testimony because, although he seems clear that the night in question was 1 November, there are some parts of what he says in which he may be getting confused between that night and the night before. For example, he talks about it being Halloween and says he saw people in Halloween masks and buses, presumed to be buses hired to take students to nightclubs. But defence lawyers previously called witnesses who suggested that these buses were not running on 1 November. The thing about the market is relevant because Curatolo said that the Piazza was really clean on the night he saw Knox and Sollecito, which led him to think that the market must have been held that day, since street cleaners would have been sent in afterwards.
This underlines what is already known: there’s a lack of clarity in Curatolo’s testimony. It doesn’t seem that he can actually be mistaken about what night he saw Knox and Sollecito, since their movements are accounted for on 31 October. Maybe he’s basically telling the truth but is mixed up on some details – it is nearly three and a half years later now. The defence, though, are hoping to convey the idea that he made the whole thing up, or at least that there are good reasons to doubt his reliability.
Curatolo neither makes nor breaks the case against Knox and Sollecito, though. It’s up to the court how credible they find him and how much weight they want to attach to his testimony.
Another thing that is likely to come up tomorrow is a request for a 40-day delay that has been made by Stefano Conti and Carla Vecchiotti, the experts reviewing DNA evidence in the case. There have been contradictory reports, so it’s not clear exactly where this stands. The best interpretation I can offer is that an interim agreement has been made regarding this, but legal arguments will be held tomorrow. Given his past statements on the matter, the presiding judge, Claudio Pratillo Hellmann (I’ve now decided that there are probably two Ns in his last name but, as with everything in this case, I keep an open mind) seems keen to leave no stone unturned, so it would seem unlikely that he will decline the request.
There may also be discussion about some piece of evidence (possibly a particular component of the computer files that would have been created during the DNA tests) which Amanda Knox’s father claims, in an interview with AFP, that the police are refusing to provide. Is this this a fair representation of what’s going on? If they’re not providing it, should they? If the judge doesn’t decide on these questions tomorrow, I’ll organise a premium rate phone vote.
Update: A tweeter tells me that Monica Napoleoni, chief of the homicide squad in Perugia, is being called to give testimony tomorrow (thanks for the info). This could be about a number of things, but a strong possibility is that it might be regarding the police interviews with Knox and Sollecito just prior to their arrest, which Napoleoni was in charge of.
In other news
Literally dozens of people around the world have been transfixed by the recent travails of Frank Sfarzo, former owner of the Perugia Shock blog, deleted by Google following a notice from a Florentine judge. Well, since copying and pasting is a lot of work for one person, the folks behind the Injustice in Perugia website have been working with Frank to resurrect the blog on WordPress.
This is a process I have been following with some interest. The outstanding mystery is what precise content has prompted the deletion, which is something Frank and his colleagues claim to be pretty much in the dark about. Well, notable by its absence from the reconstructed version of the blog is a recent post by Frank in which he made the bizarre claim that the police now suspect him of being involved in the crime. And his most recent post, in which he accused the police of being habitual murderers and having actively fabricated the evidence against Knox and Sollecito appears in a very much abridged form, in which he makes no such accusations whatsoever. I’m not sure whether it’s entirely safe to conclude that this must have been the offending content but, on the other hand, it would not seem entirely illogical to reach that conclusion either. Perhaps these omissions are just oversight and the content in question will be re-included in the near future.
Meanwhile, the Perugia Murder File website has produced an English translation of the full version of a recent interview given to CNN by Guiliano Mignini, lead prosecutor in the first Knox/Sollecito trial. This gives quite a clear indication of how Mignini was systematically misrepresented in a recent CNN special on the case. It is perhaps more interesting, though, for the insight it gives into the thought processes adopted by investigators in the period immediately following the murder.
Lastly, a reminder to all that you should not be wasting your time reading trivia such as this when our Lord and saviour will be returning to Earth within the next 24 hours. You would be much better advised to help an old lady cross the road or something.