Vedova walks through his vindication of Amanda Knox

Carlo Dalla Vedova, the lawyer of once convicted murderer Amanda Knox, speaks to the Law Soc

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.

  • VoiceofEurope

    Of course Carlo Dalla Vedova knows the truth. He knows his former client is guilty.
    Dont get fooled !

    • Carlo Dalla Vedova evidenced his belief that Amanda Knox is innocent by noting her consistency of statements. It is normal practice of defense lawyers to avoid asking their clients of their innocence or guilt. It doesn’t help defense lawyers doing their job to know that answer, but that doesn’t dictate what they believe about those clients.

      • Charlie

        The lawyer’s opinion is irrelevant. So long as their client tells them they are not guilty, they run the case on those instructions. They are the mouthpiece of the client. They are never going to tell the press they think their client is guilty. They would tell no one that. It is irrelevant anyway so long as they put their case as best they can.

        The judges decide on guilt or innocence, or in the UK or US, the jury.

      • Charlie

        The key point is that if a client tells their lawyer they are guilty, in the UK at least, they can no longer represent that client as their overriding duty (found in their code of conduct) is to the court.

        • In the U.S., the attorney represents the client with whatever plea the client agrees to whether or not the client has told the attorney of his or her guilt. What the attorney cannot do knowing the client is guilty is put that client on the witness stand claiming innocence. Of course the defendant is not required to testify in his or her own defense, and such refusal to testify is not supposed to indicate guilt.

  • Ms. Francis is right that the statements the police had Amanda Knox sign were false confessions, but Amanda wasn’t the one leading them to the wrong man. They accused her of lying when she initially denied meeting Patrick and going to the cottage. They insisted she had forgotten what happened, and demanded she tell them what she thought would have happened if she had gone to the murder with Patrick. In fact the 5:45 AM statement even acknowledges that Amanda was imagining what could have happened, but the police coerced her to sign the statements as though they were truth they were not.

    • Charlie

      Though listening to the transcripts of her prison visits, she tells her mother she knows Patrick is innocent well before the police discover it and she does not tell the police at any stage. I can see why the court didn’t overturn that conviction at any point.

      • Amanda Knox did not tell her mother that Patrick was innocent and she could not have told the police that either. Amanda was not at the murder to witness who killed Meredith, and she was not with Patrick at the time to know he was not at the murder.

        What Amanda told her mother and what she did tell the police in her First Memorandum was that the statements in which she accused Patrick was unreal and unreliable. The police should not have used those recanted statements to have arrested Patrick, but they needed a black man to use to tie her to the murder. The police didn’t release Patrick until they had Guede another black man in custody to take Patrick’s as Amanda’s accomplice in the crime

        Guede committed on his own.

        • Charlie

          From looking at the transcripts of her conversation with her mother whilst imprisoned she does say she feels bad for Patrick indicating she knows he is innocent. At that time he was still in custody. I suspect that is one key reason her conviction remains.

          I’m not sure about the “black man” theory noted? The police had no evidence a black man had murdered Meredith at that time?

          I certainly don’t agree Guede committed the murder alone. In reviewing the evidence and looking at what the Supreme Court said it is certain there were more individuals involved.

          • Charlie

            One key reason for that was that Guede’s bloody footprints led out of the apartment after the murder but someone returned, or stayed, to move the body, undress the body, position the body to look like rape and to cover the body with a duvet before locking the door with Meredith’s own key. Someone used a sock to move Meredith’s handbag onto the stripped bed presumably to avoid leaving fingerprints and also left Amanda Knox’s light partially under the bed. It is a fact of the case that these things occurred so the lone wolf theory fails dramatically on that evidence alone and on testing of the further evidence. No English Court would have sustained a lone wolf theory and the Italian court did not either.

          • Charlie

            I suspect the Italian police will eventually reopen the investigation

          • Fredly

            There’s no oroof that someone had to come back later to do staging. The luminol footprints they tried to tie to Knox and Sollecito all tested negative for blood and Kercher’s DNA. All of the bloody footprints belonged to Guede. The prosecution tried to say that Knox used the knife to kill Kercher. How could she remove every trace of herself and Sollecito from the blood, but leave Guede’s prints and DNA behind? And then she refuses to name him in interrogation? The case is laughable. It would have been thrown out of an American or British court.

          • Charlie

            No English Court would have found the two were definitively at the scene of the crime but not involved if they did not give evidence for the Prosecution.

          • Charlie

            It is an interesting point. It is conceivable that the staging was done just after the time of the murder as according to the evidence the bidet had been used and had blood in it, so had the sink, which also had blood in it (Amanda’s and Meredith’s mixed blood apparently) and there was a bloody footprint on the bathmat (determined not to be Guede apparently) which could indicate someone had showered. Evidentially, none of that could have been Guede as he tracks his blood out of the room whilst wearing his shoes.

            It is always curious that there was apparently an abundance of Sollecito’s DNA on Meredith’s bra clasp. Given DNA in grubby places is used to convict serious criminals sometimes decades after the crime it is strange that it was such a contested piece of evidence.

          • Fredly

            Go to Steve Moore’s Injustice in Perugia page if you haven’t been there before. It’s involved, but he explains why the mat footprint is more than likely Guede’s and why the bra clasp was more than likely contaminated.

  • carlofab

    Police knew within ten days of the arrests that they had arrested three innocent people.
    Forensics found no trace of any of the three in the murder room. Bloody fingerprints there identified Rudy Guede, who had entered Amanda’s apartment through a window to rob the place, and murdered Meredith when she returned unexpectedly. But police had already paraded three innocents through Perugia with honking horns and flashing headlights, and at a sensational press conference with the mayor and chief of police in attendance had declared “case closed!” Everything that followed was a cover-up that dug them deeper into a hole until there was no turning back. Police and prosecutor were ultimately willing to send two innocent students to prison for a quarter of a century to save face.

    Nina Burleigh writes that Italians have an expression for this level of embarrassment, which in Italy is akin to the cuckolded husband: “To admit they had been wrong was not an option. ‘The imperative which they implicitly obey in all their decisions,’ wrote Barzini, of his fellow
    countrymen, is no farsi far fesso – not to be made a fool of. To be fesso is the ultimate ignominy, as credulity is the unmentionable sin. The fesso is betrayed by his wife … falls for deceptions and intrigues. […] By filing slander suits against not only Amanda Knox but also her parents, by kicking them while they were down, the Perugians reminded the world that vendetta is an Italian word.” [Burleigh, The Fatal Gift of Beauty, pp. 305-6.]

    Judge Hellmann (who first acquitted the students) wrote that Amanda’s false accusation against Patrick is evidence she has no idea what happened in Meredith’s room the night of the murder. If she had been there, she would have known Patrick was not, and that he was either at his tavern or at home with his family, with a solid alibi either way. She would also have known that Rudy Guede was the killer, and would have had no reason not to name him. Hellmann found her guilty of the calumny only because motive for that offense (even under duress) is irrelevant in Italy. The European Court of Human Rights is currently looking at the unrecorded police interrogation that produced her pointless and false allegation.

  • pat a.

    “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. ”

    Actually, that never happened. Police never told either one of them that the other “confessed;” nor did they ever accuse Knox of murder. Sollecito changed his story (he was the one called in that evening, and had already demonstrably changed his story before being called in) and (reportedly) when this happened Knox was told “he’s taken away your alibi.” They never accused Knox of the murder during this questioning session.

    • VoiceofEurope

      Yes. Absolutely. Both, Knox & Dalla Vedova are transporting the untruth ! Day by day. Even after 10 years. And yes, Dalla Vedova knows Knox is guilty. Remember only the – very telling – exchanges of glances with Curt Knox when it came to the “declaration of innocence” during the press – speech of little Deanna Knox in 2011.

      • Alexthekay

        Don’t you feel a complete prat with these endless silly lies?

        • VoiceofEurope

          Ha …. this from the mouth of an unteachable valiant Knox – Soldier, …. obviously unable to weigh evidence and see the facts & the truth !

          No, I don’t “feel a complete prat”. Of course not !

          Truth makes me and all my comrades unassailable ….

          • Alexthekay

            Your obsession with this innocent woman reflects on you, not on her. You ought to consider getting a life.

  • ProfessorAnderson

    This is only part of the story, and I have no doubt that as with many innocent Italians in prison for murders they did not commit, but for a major campaign outside court, these two would still be in prison serving life sentences. Nigel Scott and I, in our book ‘Three False Convictions, Many Lessons’, (2016, Waterside Press) argue that structural weaknesses in our essentially psychopathic medieval justice systems allow at public expense well paid Constitutional Negative Empaths, to force judicial truth’ to trump real truth. In this they are aided by press and public basking in confirmation bias and the schadenfreude of a witch trial.

    This was a simple case of a break-in by a known recidivist thief armed with a knife who was after money, which then went horribly wrong when a young woman came home and locked herself into her flat. And there is a crime within the crime – why was the system constrained to turn a simple crime for which there were oceans of evidence, into an impossible one for which there was none? Such miscarriages will continue until politicians address the urgent need for reform of the system itself, something with which I know Carlo della Vedova does not agree, at least he didn’t when I spoke to him in 2011..

  • Purple

    Patrick became involved when the police misinterpreted a text she sent to him on the night of the murder, thinking ‘see you later’ meant that she would literally see him that night. She didn’t introduce his name into anything.

  • Charlie

    How could she have sought compensation for three of the years she was in prison when the Supreme Court upheld the conviction for slandering Lumumba amd accompanying three year sentence? Surely she could not. That was a sentence validly served. That would then leave one year for which to claim compensation re the murder conviction, but she was definitively convicted of slander.

    Any good lawyer defends their client the best they can if their client says they are innocent. The burden of proof is on the prosecution to properly prove their case. We need rigorous court systems testing evidence boldly or the decision can be wrong. That safeguards everyone. He is just doing his job.

    However, in this case it seems, based on the specific evidence against her and her boyfriend from the beginning of the investigation, had she been tried in the UK (and probably the same for the US), the evidence would have been overwhelming for a murder conviction for both of them.

    Sadly the dreadful tabloid press reporting in the UK resulted in this woman’s family reacting quickly to obtain PR help for the daughter, and family’s, image. This created puff and led to mass public opinion on the case. It had little to do with the evidence in the case.

    Reading the judgments, as a lawyer, it seems the Supreme Court was right to conclude that she was at the flat at the time of the murder. Based on the evidence, a UK court would have found them both guilty of murder and they’d have received lengthy sentences.

    Sadly, looking at the background of the victim, Meredith Kercher, she seems to have been an extremely bright, capable young woman with strong values. She studied at one of the best UK universities and had solid career goals. Her life was brutally ended and it is very sad to see that justice has not yet been done in this case.

    My suspicion is the police will reopen the file one day and they’ll find DNA evidence or other evidence to settle the case. DNA can last a long time and convictions can be given decades later on the basis of DNA evidence alone.

  • Charlie

    They were never exonerated. They were acquitted on the grounds of insufficient evidence (after being convicted twice).

    If tried in the UK, or US for that matter, looking at the wealth of evidence against the two they likely would have been convicted and received lengthy sentences. An appeal would have been unlikely to have succeeded.

    At the time of the final decision there was real tension that there may have been a diplomatic row with extradition requested (the accused now being in the US) plus Italy had a microscope on them on the international stage. It had become political.

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