In 2007 Amanda Knox and her ex-boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, were arrested and convicted for the murder of Meredith Kercher, a British student studying in Italy. After spending four years in jail, in 2015 the sentence was overturned by an Italian court due to “absolute lack of biological traces”. Carlo Dalla Vedova was Knox’s lawyer and last Friday he spoke to TCD Law Soc.
Vedova began the event by accepting the Praeses Elit award from the Law Soc, he graciously mentioned his team “I need to share this with all the people that have been working with me”. He followed this by introducing himself as being the lawyer of “one of the most followed cases in the world”.
He gave a background of Meredith Kercher’s murder and those involved in the case. Vedova then immediately began highlighting what he believed to be issues in the case from the media to the police’s procedure.
Vedova emphasised how there was a language barrier, as Knox was American, and the police spoke Italian. How she was interviewed for long periods of time and late at night. How she was, apparently, physically hit by a policeman. Noticeably, how there was no tape of Knox’s confession. Vedova questioned 45 police officers and each claimed it was due to lack of organisation. And how “only after four days from the discovery of the body” the case had been closed, with Knox marked as the guilty party. Furthermore, he seemed frustrated by the police’s method of playing Knox and her ex-boyfriend off each other, by telling one of them the other had confessed.
Vedova seemed to be emphasising the incompetence of the police and “the mistake of the authority” when several witnesses came forward claiming that the initial man arrested for Kercher’s murder had been in a bar at that time. The police replaced this suspect with Rudy Guede, the man later convicted of Kercher’s murder.
Vedova’s skills as a lawyer and intelligence were clear by this point as he shifted the blame onto the police, failing to emphasise how the police were lead to the initial man by a false confession, Knox, his client gave.
Vedova explained that the media had played a huge part in influencing people’s perceptions. He stressed that the media should be respected and that their role is not only important but necessary, even when, with modern technology, journalists may have their focus on meeting a deadline and the facts may not be completely accurate. He stressed how today lawyers and police alike face the issue of witnesses going to a journalist instead of authorities and how it is difficult to establish the reliability of this account and how it can sway public perception.
The case was eventually taken to the Supreme Court where Vedova claimed that “we were able in the appeal to show there was no evidence”, and thus the ruling was overturned. He pointed out that as humans we make mistakes, and Knox’s initial ruling had been one. They had “twelve, fifteen hearings” before they got to the Supreme Court, illustrating his resilience as a lawyer and person.
Vedova seemed confident of Knox’s innocence, citing that she “never changed” her story, and was more interested in discussing the media’s role and the police’s apparent lack of procedure. He finished talking about Knox by portraying her in a highly positive note, saying they didn’t sue for compensation of the state for her four years false imprisonment despite the financial burden it had placed on her family.
During the question and answer portion, Vedova stated “I never ask, I don’t want to know” when it comes to a client’s innocence or guilt. He said in the way doctors have a duty to treat, lawyers have a duty to defend. He encouraged law students to work together not only with their team but the court, asking for respect of the courtroom “like it is mass”.
There is no doubt in my mind that Carlo Dalla Vedova is a brilliant lawyer with his ability to capture the audience’s attention with the information he wanted to give, which put his client in the most innocent and positive light while still sticking to the facts. For every reason of convicting Knox guilty he had a counter argument which was always sound and filled with logic.
He placed doubt in my mind whether her court ruling and public condemnation had been the influence of the media and faulty police proceedings, and whether we were ever really sticking to the facts.