Amanda Knox retrial: why is the case back in court?
Supreme Court to re-examine theory that Meredith Kercher died in a sex game that went wrong
THE retrial of Amanda Knox over the murder of British student Meredith Kercher is due to begin today in Florence. Knox and her Italian ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito were found guilty in 2009, two years after Kercher's death, but acquitted on appeal in 2011. Italy's Supreme Court has overturned both acquittals and ordered the whole process to begin again – but Knox will not be in Italy for the retrial.
Why has a retrial been ordered?
The Supreme Court says that there were "numerous deficiencies, contradictions and [a] manifest lack of logic" in the decision of the appeal court to free Knox and Sollecito. It has accused the appeals court of dismissing important DNA evidence and glazing over clues. The Supreme Court has also stated that the one person still in jail for the murder, Ivory Coast-born Rudy Guede, who is serving a 16-year sentence, was unlikely to have committed the crime alone.
What will each side seek to prove?
Prosecutors originally claimed Kercher, who was found half-naked in a pool of blood in the Italian villa she shared with Knox in 2007, died in a sex game that "spun out of control". Unlike the appeals court, the Supreme Court has said this is a valid hypothesis and should be re-examined. Prosecutors claimed that Kercher was held down and stabbed after she resisted attempts by Knox, Sollecito and Guede to involve her in an orgy. However, Knox insists that on the night of Kercher's death she was at Sollecito's flat, smoking marijuana and watching a film. Retrial judge Alessandro Nencini will have to decide whether DNA evidence will be re-examined from scratch and whether to re-hear witness testimonies.
What does the Kercher family think?
A lawyer for the family said they are hoping for a "complete, total, neutral and balanced trial, which can then lead to a sentence which, whatever it is, is properly developed and well-reasoned".
Why isn't Amanda Knox there?
Knox, who has always insisted that she is innocent, spent four years in prison before her acquittal, after which she returned to Seattle. She has told America's NBC television: "I was already imprisoned as an innocent person in Italy. I just can't relive that." The 26-year-old has also said she cannot financially afford to go back and forth to Italy. Sollecito, 29, is expected to attend some of the hearings.
What happens if Knox is found guilty?
Italy could request her extradition from the US, but some observers say it would be unlikely to succeed. The US could oppose extradition on the grounds that it violates the principle of double jeopardy. ·