Italy's top criminal court has issuing a scathing criticism of the country’s prosecutor for presenting a “flawed and hastily constructed” case against Amanda Knox and her former Italian boyfriend.
The Court of Cassation said on Monday it had thrown out their 2007 conviction for the killing of British roommate Meredith Kercher, 21, as there was no proof they were in the bedroom where she was fatally stabbed.
In March, the high court declared that Ms Knox, now aged 28, and Raffaele Sollecito, now aged 31, did not murder the Briton. The finding was stronger than one that one saying there was insufficient evidence, the Associated Press said.
Under Italian law, the Court of Cassation is obliged to issue a formal written explanation for its March decision. On Monday, it said there was an “absolute lack of biological traces” of Ms Knox, an American, or of co-defendant Mr Sollecito in the room or on the victim's body. It slammed the quality of the prosecution’s case from the start.
The court said the path the case took was “objectively wavering, whose oscillations are ... the result also of stunning weakness or investigative bouts of amnesia and of blameworthy omissions of investigative activity”.
It said had the investigation not been so shaky, “in all probability” the defendants’ guilt or innocence could have been determined from the earliest stages.
“The international spotlight on the case in fact resulted in the investigation undergoing a sudden acceleration,” the judges added.
Had the Cassation Court upheld a 2014 decision by an appeals court, Ms Knox would have faced 28 years in an Italian prison, assuming she would have been extradited from the United States. Mr Sollecito had been facing 25 years.
Ms Knox and Mr Sollecito were first convicted by a Perugia court in 2009, and then acquitted after a first appeals court trial. They were convicted again in 2014, after a separate Cassation Court panel overturned those acquittals and ordered the Florence appeals.
They had always proclaimed their innocence. A man from Ivory Coast, Rudy Hermann Guede, was convicted in separate proceedings and is serving a 16-year sentence.
In June, it was announced Ms Knox would stand another trial for allegedly slandering police.
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