Bias claims after judge in Amanda Knox trial talks to Italian media

PUBLISHED : Monday, 03 February, 2014, 9:38pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 04 February, 2014, 7:40am

The judge who reinstated Amanda Knox's conviction for the murder of Meredith Kercher has been lambasted by defence lawyers after giving an interview to Italian newspapers in which he criticised her co-accused's defence strategy.

Alessandro Nencini last Thursday sentenced Knox to 281/2 years and her ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito to 25 years in prison for the British student's killing. His remarks, published by three newspapers on Saturday, were reportedly described as "inopportune" by the chairman of the judges' governing body, the CSM.

But Sollecito's lawyers went further, saying they were appalled by his words, with one saying the CSM should not only consider bringing disciplinary action against him but also question the legitimacy of the verdict itself.

"The conviction is the result of a clear bias on the part of the judges against the defendants, and in particular against Raffaele Sollecito, and that interview proves it," defence lawyer Luca Maori told Corriere della Sera.

Maori said Sollecito's legal team would consult him about what action to take. They and Knox's lawyers have said they will appeal against the verdict.

Nencini told Corriere della Sera that Sollecito's decision not to testify may have worked against him. "It's the defendant's right, but it certainly deprived the process of a voice," Nencini was quoted as saying. Knox did not appear at the trial, but sent a letter to the court saying she feared wrongful conviction.

The newspaper said Nencini consented to the interview because he knew the sentence would create a media storm. The case has been top international news since Kercher was found in a pool of blood with her throat slit on November 2, 2007, in the apartment she shared with Knox, an American student, in the university town of Perugia.

As the case has moved through the court system, prosecutors have offered differing explanations for the killing, asserting in the first trial that Kercher was killed when an erotic game went awry and in the latest trial saying the violence was rooted in a long-standing disagreement over cleanliness. Both Sollecito and Knox deny involvement.

Nencino did not give a specific reasoning behind the verdict, saying the court settled on a motive that would be made clear in the written explanation, expected within three months.