Knox's release received huge public attention across the world

Foxy Knoxy is back in the news again, over six years since Meredith Kercher was found beaten, sexually assaulted and stabbed to death in the flat shared by the two women. I've been following the murder case since the beginning, and the recent re-convictions of Amanda Knox and her then-boyfriend Raffaelle Sollecito are the latest serving of tabloid fodder in a whodunnit beleaguered by uncertainty, inconsistency and dubious forensics.

There does not appear to be any incontrovertible proof tying Knox and Sollecito to the scene of the crime of which they have now been twice convicted. No forensic evidence places Knox in the room, and only one controversial shred of Sollecito’s DNA was found when investigators returned to the crime scene 47 days later: the defence claim contamination; the prosecution, indisputable proof.

I find the prosecution’s arguments tenuous at best, and certainly not proof of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. But there is significant danger in disputing the facts of the case: various judges and juries have examined the evidence and found Knox and Sollecito guilty, twice. Doubting the efficacy of the Italian justice system also smacks of jingoism: unhelpful cries bewailing ‘this would never have happened in the UK/USA!’ abound.

Still, Knox and Sollecito have been subjected to a trial-by-media: think Nigella, Pistorius, Kate and Gerry McCann, whom the media have supported and demonised by turns. It’s a worrying trend, and Knox has been subject to extreme levels of media attention which blatantly prejudice her case.

We have read all about a beautiful young American with a seductive and sociopathic murderous bent, never mind that this is a story built on pure conjecture and ad hominem attacks, and a hypothesis which the prosecution subsequently dropped. Amanda – who, according to friends and family, was a kind but naïve honours student that worked three jobs to pay for her Italian adventure – has been guilty until proven innocent: I accuse Foxy Knoxy, in Meredith’s bedroom, with the lead piping.

With no priors nor background to suggest any criminal tendencies, her supposed overnight metamorphosis into cold-blooded murderer seems unlikely, though, of course, not impossible. But it also happens that the prosecution evidence is weak to non-existent, implausible and illogical. Their most powerful argument seems to amount to: ‘well if it wasn’t them, then who?’.

How then can we condone the upholding of their murder convictions, if we wish – as I would – to be considered innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt? I'm not sure the overturning of the acquittal offers any sort of justice to Meredith and the Kercher family, and I am certainly not comfortable that modern justice systems can condemn their suspects on the flimsiest of evidence, or be influenced by a media baying for blood.

I believe Knox has been judged and condemned by the kangaroo court of popular opinion: the odd pinch of evidence plus a good slug of hearsay, conjecture and insinuation. But I, like everyone else, only have Wikipedia, news articles, conspiracy theories and supporters’ websites to go on in forming my opinion.

Ultimately, I don’t know what happened, nor who is or is not guilty. There is no knowing the effect of the media’s character assassination of Knox on the jury’s conclusions: it boils down to how easily we can be manipulated by the press and popular opinion, but to evaluate this, we once again rely predominantly on speculation.

What I do know is that the press has already assumed the role of judge, jury and executioner. Trial by media can be no less intrusive or damaging to people’s lives, reputations or credibility than an official court conviction. So whatever the result of the legal process, it is difficult to see how Knox and Sollecito will ever be fully exonerated or condemned.

We are, therefore, in a worrying situation. It is no longer possible for those in possession of the facts to determine the outcome of the case: the media lynch mob already wields the power to punish at whim. Even if our right to a fair trial is upheld in court, we remain at the mercy of the press to decide our fate. And if that thought stops you sleeping easy tonight, well, it troubles me too.

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