Posts Tagged ‘law’

The Nencini Papers

September 27, 2017

nenciniDay 5

The Florence Appeal Court has vacated other hearings listed for 25 – 27 November 2013 for the next three days for the Nencini Appeal.

Day 5, 25 November 2013

As a consequence of Hellmann’s decisions being rejected in whole by the Supreme Court, Nencini has a wide scope to cover: almost everything that came up at the 2011 appeal, is having to be dealt with again.

Raffaele Sollecito is present.

Today the lead is taken by Alessandro Crini, for the prosecution. Mignini is no longer involved in the case.  In short, Crini’s aim is to refute the defence’s automatic grounds for appeal.  He describes the Hellmann Court as ‘razed to the ground’ and urges the new court to look at the case as a whole, rather than by piecemeal, as Hellmann did, taking one small part of the evidence at a time and systematically rejecting it.

Criticisms of the previous court out of the way, Crini outlines the problems with Knox and Sollecito’s alibis.  ‘A false alibi is also evidence’, he contends.

CRINI: ‘What is the alibi?   …[…]…  It is a kind of defensive argument that is used by saying no, that “I did not commit the offense” but that “I was somewhere else when someone obviously committed that offence”. 

…[of Knox and Sollecito] it is realized that the alibi is actually false, because it is appreciated that it is false.’

Key is Sollecito’s false claim that he was on the computer that evening.  D’Ambrosio, the computer expert, found no human interaction after 21:10 when the Amélie film crash finished and someone must have clicked on the ‘end’ message.  Sollecito’s internet provider, Fastweb back up that there was no activity that night at the salient time.  In effect, Sollecito’s lies about this is positive evidence against him.

Let’s recap Sollecito’s alibi, as given to the police:

Statement to police 5 Nov 2007 [excerpt]:

QA I have known Amanda for about two weeks. From the night that I met her she started sleeping at my house. On November 1st, I woke up at around 11, I had breakfast with Amanda then she went out and I went back to bed. Then around 13:00-14:00 I met her at her house again. Meredith was there too. Amanda and I had lunch while Meredith did not have lunch with us.
QA Around 16:00 Meredith left in a hurry without saying where she was going. Amanda and I stayed home until about 17:30-18:00.
QA We left the house, we went into town, but I don’t remember what we did.
QA We stayed there from 18:00 until 20:30/21:00. At 21:00 I went home alone because Amanda told me that she was going to go to the pub Le Chic because she wanted to meet some friends.
QA At this point we said goodbye and I headed home while she headed towards the center.
QA I went home alone, sat at the computer and rolled myself a spliff. Surely I had dinner but I don’t remember what I ate. Around 23:00 my father called at my home number 075.9660789. During that time I remember Amanda had not come back yet.

QA I browsed at my computer for another two hours after my father’s phone call and only stopped when Amanda came back presumably around 1:00.
QA I don’t remember how she was dressed and if she was dressed the same way as when we said goodbye before dinner.
QA I don’t remember if we had sex that night.
QA The following morning around 10:00 we woke up, she told me she wanted to go home and take a shower and change clothes.

CRINI: “I have nothing to do with the way of murder, I have nothing to do with Via Pergola, because I was in Via Garibaldi “- the singular -” in front of my computer “, with this lightweight drug pastime”.

Thus, Sollecito has insisted he was on his computer on the murder night, yet there is no trace of the interactions he describes.  In addition, he never has, to this day, withdrawn his claim Knox went out without him until 01:00, and declined to testify in court under oath.  He was no doubt advised by his counsel it would be a mistake to change his alibi.

Pausing for a moment, Sollecito has provided a false alibi from the outset and yet has never amended it, supplied the correct details of what he was doing, nor explained why he said it.

Crini turns to the prosecution star witness, Antonio Curatalo.  He points out Hellmann made the mistake of focussing on the person and ignoring the content of the eye witness testimony.

CRINI: Toxic or non-toxic, Curatolo is confident of his memory, which, let’s say, places the two defendants at compatible times – then there is the issue of the date we will address – in this Grimana Square.

He touches on timings, the time of death, which he believes is more likely 22:30 than after 23:15.

CRINI: ..we’re talking about phones that to be found in the [woman’s] garden around midnight have certainly left the house … that is, they probably left home in the same context as the murder. So even this aspect, let’s say, somehow returns its likelihood to the possibility – as it were to say – that time of 22:13 [when it is last pinged at the cottage]is a time that must somehow already belong to the offence, otherwise we say, the time becomes no longer consistent.  The timetables that derive from this- these indicators are all pretty elastic, the first of which is the time of death , with respect to which, once the defendants have been placed, and in the hourly part of which  Curatolo indicates from ten pm onwards in Grimana Square …

Then there is the issue of the reliability of Quintavalle, who claims to have seen Knox outside his shop circa 7:45 in the morning after the murder and who went to browse around the cleaning section of his grocery store.  The issue here is that it took him a year to come forward and then only at the urging of an acquaintance.

CRINI:  Quintavalle gives us certainty, that is, the certainty of seeing him, as a layman of Via Garibaldi, of having seen Knox in front of his shop at the opening of the blinds, that particular morning. Quintavalle, he’ll remember seeing Knox once with Sollecito, but at that moment he has a stranger, but it makes clear to us that despite the delay in propagation …[…]…he did it I did not say right away, but almost immediately, that is to say later a few days that this photograph began to circulate on printed paper, or it was seen on television, etc., and so on.

Crini is abundantly talkative and it is now 13:15 and proceedings break for lunch until 14:00.

Resuming, Crini  refers to the bloody footprint on the bath mat with no blood leading up to it.  This, he points out, indicates a clean-up in the surrounding area.  He covers the luminol-highlighted footprints in the hallway – identified as those of Knox, Sollecito and Guede – and the one in Filomena’s room as being the most important, as it includes the mixed DNA of Knox and Meredith.  He dismisses the defence’s claim the footprints were not blood.

CRINI:  For a policeman, the most striking feature is precisely the blood pound found on the small bath mat…[…]… the most impressive figure, because it is a unique one, as though it were a spoken word, it is this imprint that we find on this pattern, on this mat, a celestine, greenish mat, that of the small foreigners’ bathroom.

Coming onto the footprints exposed by luminol, which reacts with the iron element in haemoglobin to produce a fluorescent light in the dark:

CRINI ;…[…]…[re Luminol]. in my opinion is the most important element of this whole story – at least in one case we are superimposed on the DNA of the victim, on this footprint, with the DNA of Knox. Then we, to imagine – understand? – that this DNA comes from something other than Kercher’s blood, we have to conjecture that there is a substance that is exalted by Luminol through a reagent X, which is certainly not signalled, but which we hypothesize, and that for the very part that was torn, clearly left either by Knox or by Kercher, of course, or perhaps by Kercher, but in that case then on that point, let’s say, there would be the Knox DNA itself. 

He believes the most incriminating evidence of all is against Knox:

…[…]… So there is a fluorescence in Romanelli’s room, which remarks at the same time – we are not in the victim’s room, we are not in the Knox room, indeed, that of Knox is totally cleaned from this point of view – simultaneously refers to DNA victim and Knox.

…[…]… That in this room of the Italian, in which the presence of the other two is certainly there … yes, precisely in that room they were given a convention the two strangers, leaving their DNA exactly in the same spot in the room.’

In other words, Knox has trailed Meredith’s blood into Filomena’s room and shed her own DNA on exactly the same spot as the victim’s and that they were mixed together.

Next, there is the issue of the staged burglary, the clean-up operation and the attempt to subvert investigators.  Only one person had the motive to go to these lengths, he claims.  He specifies the glass from the window found on top of the clothes and not underneath.  He sets out why the staged burglary is a part of a ‘post factum plan’. The plan he explains is to point to a third party, Guede, as the sole perpetrator.  He doesn’t accept that the fact of the break in at the Milan nursery just days before shows a pattern and argues that Guede would not have broken in to the cottage.

CRINI: It is clear that, by the probability that this is any how a property altogether off limits for him from the point of view of his very easy recognizability, it is of solar evidence. And then it is clear that this hypothetical theft – fake – certainly, it seems the more faked to the extent that it turns out that ex post is known to be that of Rudy rather than a stranger. When the hand print tells me “it’s him”,  what does Rudy think he’s doing trying to rob people at home? But there is not an attempted theft built in this Baroque way, in this way it is absolutely devoid of any actual burglary on the concrete plane. ..[…]… we say the camouflage profile is a profile that involves both scenarios [Rudy’s bloody handprint and the staged mise en scène].

 

After a short break the hearing resumes

Crini points to the behaviour of the defendants, in particular Knox’s various email and memoriale claims, and makes clear that the issue of the motive for the calunnia is still to be determined.  By this, he means whether her falsely accusing Patrick of rape and murder was because of undue police pressure or, ‘aggravated’, as a tactical device to throw suspicion away from her own involvement by subverting the investigation onto him.

CRINI: ‘There is an email sent to a number of people, including one who is a person who then posts this mail to the investigating bodies, and then there are two verbal statements by Miss Knox Amanda, which are – here, here are all – that’s just one of the full night of 05 on 06 and the other on the morning of 06. Those are statements in which you also introduces this character, Lumumba, and it is not that you introduce it so, pour parler, you introduce it to throw out the conditions for him then to be arrested for murder. ‘

Crini has it that Knox didn’t just blurt out Patrick’s name under police pressure, she insisted on underlining it over and over again.  When she handed her privately written and entirely voluntary memoraile to the police she referred to it as ‘a present’.  There is something about her email to 25 people that tells us she knew perfectly well it would find its way back to the Perugia investigators.  Here we have the sense of a puppet-master pulling strings and controlling the narrative.  Amanda Knox is going to tell us how it is, right from the start.

The very late phone call by Sollecito to the police is deemed significant regardless of whether it was before or after the Postale Police arrived.

CRINI: So the Postal Police arrived at 12:35, or, following the on-site (CCTV) camera and analyzed by the Mobile Team, at 12:26. Now, we have a phone call of 12:51 and one of 12:54. 

…[…]… frankly I must say that even if the call had been made five minutes before the arrival of the Postale,  it would still have been a phone call delayed with regard to the state of affairs…[…]… most of all, it seems to me that the thing takes on a completely implausible window dressing,… I use the word “suspect” a very suspicious piece of cloaking from the investigations of the Judicial Police. So, to arrive at noon in a situation such as this …it’s  not convincing, in the opinion of the Prosecutor. 

But even at a time that follows this unexpected arrival of the Post Police, it is an element that… it is not that he says “I’m calling the Carabinieri.” And then he says “well, I’m late but somehow” … No. He says, “we have already called the Carabinieri” and then adds that other element, which the judgments have well underlined, “there was a theft, but they did not steal anything

As well as Sollecito’s various statements, there are those of Knox.  For example, her claim that Meredith’s door being locked was normal.

Crini expresses scepticism about Knox’ story about experience with the faeces in the large bathroom toilet, her shower and seeming indifference to the blood.  There are anomalies between Knox’ and Sollecito’s accounts: she said Filomena’s door was shut, thus could not see any disturbance, whereas he claimed it was wide open, when he arrived at the cottage on the morning of 2 November 2013.  Knox showed foreknowledge of the scream and the sexual assault, even though she had not seen into the room when the door was broken down.  She accused Patrick and included elements of truth about the scream and sex attack and embellished her stories with ‘dreamlike’ references to ‘fish blood’ on Sollecito’s hand.  Crini believes Knox’ calunnia is a deliberate strategy and a clear piece of evidence against her.

Expanding Crini, continues:

CRINI: Now, for heaven’s sake, it is conjectured that Knox did not even look in there [Laura’s room] to see if something had happened,  [Laura’s drawer was hanging open] It is a fact, that he [Sollecito]tells us that that door was open when he arrived. Then it’s a bit strange – you know – that this Knox, when she arrives and gets ready for its shower, finds a situation of doubt, certainly worthy of suspicion, but for this very reason … let’s say this suspect construct does not add that suspicion that would immediately make the need to call the police, right? If you find theft at eleven, at eleven and two minutes you have to call the Carabinieri. 

But of all these things she sees, she does not see the most striking, which, I repeat, was available to her, because … not only, but then also the Mezzetti  room. was a bit tricky. But it was a visual view as the door was still open. And then, in this situation, …there is a bathroom with a flush to pull, there is a bathtub with blood inside, there is a locked door, a situation that then Knox a little suspicious, because Knox says, though, “I’m sorry, so I went out from outside and went to see, trying to figure out what could be in that room”. 

Knox claims she came back to the cottage to find the door open, and despite her uneasiness and the cold November air and no heating, she claims she proceeded to have a shower and change, with door still unlatched in case whoever had gone out to empty the trash or whatever needed to come back in.

CRINI: ..then you come home, to the boy’s house, in Via Garibaldi, and return [together]to Via della Pergola. It is there that at that moment we are aware of the presence of a theft. But at that point we are at that time that it is back to the remarks made by Sollecito…

 So, the combination of all these elements is plainly plausible this eleventh hour tale of eleven to  eleven, with all this set of elements that are, sufficient to induce suspicion. I would say … the theft not seen, frankly would make a clown smile. 

 

Crini looks at the behaviour of the couple as a whole, their individual discrete actions painting a wider picture of deception.

CRINI: The locked door, in a situation that everyone else tells us not to be a normal situation. And this is the first segment of the borderline declarations. Then there is the second segment, because Knox intervenes, spouting the name of Lumumba, we say it’s severely calunniatory, she wants to emphasize this figure.

 This person is jailed, like a murderer, and goes out on the 20th, which is just the day Guede is caught following the call from Benedict’s Skype of 19. So let’s go ahead and consider this thing as well , an element … a little girl. She is a little girl who, however, told Mama that she was a little worried that this wretch was in jail. 

In an intercepted conversation with her mother, Edda Mellas, on a prison visit, Knox had stated Patrick was innocent and yet neither she or her mother did anything about it.

CRINI:, Knox Amanda, says meaningful things, because it provides a context that, in their historicity, of the process, which was not available at that time.  Let’s not miss that English friend’s report, corroborating that Knox makes it known that she has seen Meredith’s position in the room. This is also a source of suspicion,

When the door to Meredith’s room had been kicked down, Knox and Sollecito were to the back of the cottage and were not there to see inside it.

CRINI…[…]… the substance of the words, which they refer to … “Well, that’s all plausible, basically, I mean, there was a theft and say .. what happened happened, surely … you want there to be some kind of violence “? Bah. And why? And why should you go, as you say, in the face of a theft situation, you have to go to the fact that the girl was raped? 

For what reason, if, say, the data is not known to the person concerned, how can she somehow refer to it? And because she must, tell of a scream? …[…]…we see how incongruous it is to say, there are bruises around all parts right in the mouth area . 

 But meanwhile it is important that Knox delivers us two data, she reports two data: the cry of the poor Meredith Kercher, and the dark violence ; which are data that are not normal in the context in which the action has developed. …[…]…

The speech is set in the face of slander, it is in the necessity of having to include other elements that are somehow complementary to slander

Crini elaborates in which way controlling the narrative enables Knox to spin a web of deceit.

 If I shed the slander of a person who may not be there, but maybe it may be plausible if nothing else but the colour of his skin. ..The segments of truth that part of the narrative, precisely. But not as a natural development of the chaos caused by this wretched man climbing the window. No, absolutely no! They describe the process on other bases: the process of aggression that then is over, as it is over. And then you understand the scream, and then you understand the violence. But if I start from theft, there is not much screaming or violence to see. 

 When I blurt out a slander about a wretch [Patrick] who has nothing to do with it, …these pieces of truth that are the ones that emerge from these words – as if to say – uttered by this girl who finds herself in this particular situation and therefore has the need to build this strategy of defence, in particular. 

Drawing in Sollecito’s similarly false narrative and proven false alibi, Crini asserts:

CRINI: And then we also have this other piece, which has no relevance to itself, but it is significant. At a certain point, when we say the accused Sollecito states what he says, that is, “I was at home alone at the computer and I even smoked” – I do not want to repeat the statement, but it seems we are loaded on it – for Knox, Sollecito in her memory, becomes one who had his bloody hands. The fish. …[…]… why do we have to hypothesize this dreamlike component? It appears like a pochettino, a bit ‘baroque, right? a bit excessive, a little bit of weight, a little justification, here is a little justification to make sense of the statements that instead … which instead have a primary meaning from the point of view of the indictment,’

And thus, Crini elegantly sums up Knox’ strategy in particular.  Her calunnia and determination to control the storyline all makes sense within the context of her involvement in the crime:  He has spoken for seven hours.

Nencini adjourns the prosecution submissions to continue for 9:30 tomorrow, together with the civil lawyers.

There is an excellent ‘bird’s eye’ view from the courtroom today from ‘Yummi/Macchiavelli’ for True Justice of Meredith Kercher, well worth a read, together with a photo of Crini.

 

 

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The Nencini Papers

September 27, 2017

nenciniDay 4

On 3 Nov 2013 ahead of the next session, Rudy Guede joins in the press clamour by issuing a statement that ‘Meredith Kercher’s killers are still free.’

Guede, who was born in Ivory Coast and grew up in Italy, made the claim in a letter sent from his prison cell in Viterbo to the Italian TV show, ‘Quarto Grado’.

“I want to point out that whoever committed this terrible crime is still free,” Guede said.

 

Day 4, 6 November 2013  Today the court will hear evidence pertaining to reports by Stefanoni (2007-2008), Conti-Vecchiotti (2011) and Berti-Barni (Rome RIS, 2013).

 

Carlo Dalla Vedova makes a submission to cast doubt on Stefanoni’s report.  This is dismissed by the judge as already having been settled at trial.  Taggliabracci had made submissions that Stefanoni had been ‘suspect-centric’ in her approach and that she had failed to disclose her raw data and controls. According to ‘Yummi (Machiavelli)’ who reports from the case today in person in a tweet :

Dalla Vedova said Tagliabracci was the only Italian source in the RIS report, all others are foreigners, emphasized the American labs [TJMK]

In a thinly veiled sideswipe at Conti and Vecchiotti, Nencini directs Barni to formulate opinions ‘without reference to American standards’.

C& V’s report had been full of references to American standards which led to specious claims by the defence that Stefanoni had not followed ‘international standards’ In ‘The Great DNA Sting’, it is noted.

The Italian Scientific Police follow the guidelines of the ENFSI – the European Network Forensic Science Institutes. Dr Stefanoni observed that they followed these specific guidelines whereas Conti and Vecchiotti basically picked and mixed a random selection of international opinions:

“We followed the guidelines of the ENFSI, theirs is just a collage of different international opinions”.

In other words, Conti and Vecchiotti were not referring to the specific guidelines and recommendation of one particular international forensic organisation despite giving that impression at the appeal in Perugia. They cited a number of obscure American publications such as the Missouri State Highway Patrol Handbook and Wisconsin Crime Laboratory Physical Evidence Handbook. The Italian Scientific Police are under no obligation to follow the DNA protocols of the Missouri State Highway Patrol and Wisconsin Crime Laboratory.

Raffaele Sollecito makes a ‘spontaneous declaration’.  In Italy, these are statements to the court by defendants, which have little evidentiary value, as the speaker cannot be cross-examined on what they say.  Nencini had urged Sollecito to make statements.  He had declined to take the stand during the first instance trial phase.

There had been speculation that Sollecito was preparing to flee the country after he took a holiday in the Dominican Republic, which does not have an extradition treaty with Italy. But his father said his son’s decision to return for the hearing showed he had no plan to escape Italian justice.

We can give credit for Sollecito’s appearance to Francesco, who has suffered a nightmare, by Sollecito’s own account.  In Honor Bound he writes:

Papà was spinning like a dervish to clear my name’

 

He recounts how Francesco was asked for €8K up front from a consultant to monitor the RIS, but who was loath to criticise them.  Another demanded €50K and ‘I’ll get your son out of prison.’

 

Elsewhere in the book, Sollecito relates how his father all but gave up his job as a respected urologist in order to visit his son dutifully in Capenne Prison, ‘for six hours a month’ all the way from Terni.  One gets a sense of the sheer stress Sollecito put his family under and the desperate attempts by his father to get his son to show respect for the court.

 

Addressing the court, Sollecito is reported as saying:

 

First, Sollecito spoke of his Italian family and background and stressed that he was an honest man. He said Knox was his first true love, and he insisted he had no reason to want to murder anyone just a week before his graduation. He added that he has never enjoyed going to parties or drinking alcohol, although he admitted to smoking a joint now and then.

Sollecito also spoke of how difficult it had been for him in prison and how he feels he is constantly scrutinized for anything he does, even traveling abroad.

 

“I never knew Rudy Guede and I only knew Meredith a little bit. It doesn’t make any sense that I would have had any interest in her that could have led to such an atrocious act, against a 20-year-old girl, it has no basis in reality. And this thing, unfortunately, is going on for too many years,” he said.

 

“I humbly request you to please look at the reality of this situation and to consider the immense wrong that has been done,” he told the judges

 

‘Yummi/Machiavelli, the on the spot reporter for True Justice for Meredith Kercher, tweets as follows:

            Sollecito said his family absolutely never had issues with justice. And he is a proud ‘member’ of that family

  1. He also played the ‘national’ card, as he re-emphasized ‘I am Italian’ twice and then addressed the court ‘I am an Italian, as you are’
  2. Sollecito mentioned the defense’s arguments (he has an orthopedical issue with his foot etc.).
  3. The questions of all parties to the experts were intended to elicit information to be used in arguing the unrelated previous finding
  4. He mentioned Meredith’s name only once, to say he barely knew her.
  5. Sollecito talked with a faint voice, a long speech in which he described himself as a victim.

What Sollecito is doing here is manipulating people’s emotions (and indeed, one of the jurors, Genny Ballerini came out later to say she was on his side).  Ballerini, much later, gave an interview to OGGI claiming she thought the prison sentence was ‘too long’.

I myself once felt so sorry for Sollecito, despite being convinced of his guilt, I sent him some funds of £10 through his Go Fund Me page.

 

To see how well Sollecito elicits sympathy, it is worth visiting his book, Honor Bound wherein on p 126 he recounts his visit to Dachau concentration camp, as an Erasmus student in Germany, and compares it with his taking a shower in Capenne:

 

‘I thought about the forced marches and the hymns of joy prisoners were forced to sing.  I thought about the mass slaughter, all those people killed for no reason, just as Meredith had been killed for no reason.’

 

A cold callous psychopath skilled in stirring people’s emotions, or an ill-fated waif unlucky to be in the wrong place at the wrong time?

 

Back to the court room, where people are now beginning to fidget after a long day.  Nencini declares the evidence phase closed.  Aviello’s testimony is to be sent to  the Attorney General’s Office (the state prosecutor, possibly to see if any charges can be brought).

 

The next court dates are 25 Novemebr, for the prosecution arguments, 26 Novemner, the civil parties, 16 December of Sollecito’s defence and 17 December for Knox’.  The closing submissions, rebuttals and deliberations are listed for the 9th and 10th January 2014.  In Italy, courts are expected to give the verdict immediately after this, at the hearing.

 

 

 

Netflix ‘Amanda Knox’ Review: The Italian Job: The DNA Sting

October 24, 2016

vandc

Above: ‘Independent’ Expert Witnesses, Conti and Vecchiotti, fraternise in Hellmann’s Court with Sollecito’s defence. Vanessa, Raffaele’s sister, and their father, Francesco, is pictured greeting Vecchiotti and Conti with beaming smiles.

I have previously written a review about the Netflix film, ‘Amanda Knox’ [2016], see here: https://krissyg1.com/2016/10/01/review-of-the-netflix-film-amanda-knox-2016/

How Conti & Vecchiotti Misrepresent the DNA Facts

Here I plan to expand on the section: ‘’The Appeal to Authority”: the inclusion in the film of geneticist scientists, Carla Vecchiotti and Stefano Conti.

I hope to set out how and why the film misleads the viewer in respect of the appearance of Vecchiotti & Conti.  The choreography used by the film makers to present Knox and Sollecito as ‘exonerated’ and ‘innocent’ based on Vecchiotti & Conti’s narrative in the film will be revealed for the careful script that it is.  I will demonstrate why Vecchiotti & Conti’s declarations in the film are deceptive.  An analysis of Vecchiotti and Conti’s entire role in attaining the release of the pair and the revelation of the hidden agenda that underlies the film will be explored.

Fine Slicing

In the film, Vecchiotti and Conti appear quite deeply into the film, at 1’ 4” of 92 minutes.  The appearance of the ‘DNA experts’ towards the end, enables the film makers to reinforce the image of a great miscarriage of justice, leading up to the grand finale denouement.  Enter Conti.

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Referring to the evidence of Sollecito’s DNA found on the bra, Conti introduces the audience to a key principle of DNA.  It is ‘dust spread everywhere,’ he avers.  To set the scene, we are informed that the Forensic Police (‘Scientific Police’ in Italy) acted chaotically and that the crime scene was an absolute shambles.  We hear an audio voiceover of a supposed scientific policeman saying to another ‘this is absurd, there is unbelievable chaos everywhere’.

So there we have it.  ‘A crime scene must be completely sterile’.

We are roundly informed that this crime scene was not, based on Conti’s word for it.

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Next, enter his co-partner, the other ‘independent’ expert hired by the Hellmann appeal court to evaluate the evidence concerning the DNA identified on the presumed murder weapon knife, and the bra clasp sample: Carla Vecchiotti.

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Carla Vecchiotti claims that the issue of contamination of the DNA ‘was raised by the court’.

Shot moves to the scientific police as she continues, ‘ it could have been by other people’.

She then throws in a red herring.  ‘There was the DNA of two unknown males on the clasp’, which we can dispense with straight away.  In reality they were fragments of DNA, no more than 6 – 8 alleles, and precisely of the type of dust contamination Conti is talking about.   This effectively subverts the issue away from the strong DNA profile of Sollecito found on the clasp.

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Vecchiotti then continues the theme of the film that prosecutor, Mignini, was acting entirely intuitively.  ‘You can’t just make it what you want it to be’.

She claims there are ‘problems with contamination in the laboratory’, yet in court she insisted the alleged contamination was at the collection stage, and not at the laboratory.  A picture of the knife comes up.

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Vecchiotti comments, ‘The Knox DNA profile is a very good one.’

Of the Kercher DNA on the blade she states, ‘It’s so small.  So scarce, the likelihood of contamination is very high.’

From this, she concludes the Kercher DNA is ‘inconclusive’.

The film makers show us the picture at least three times with ‘INCONCLUSIVE’ in bold red letters.  ‘I asked Dr Stefanoni (the forensic police chief in charge of this case) how she concluded this is the murder weapon without any other evidence?’

However, the courts upheld, and Conti and Vecchiotti themselves concurred under oath, that far from being inconclusive, it was a strong profile of Meredith, at 15 alleles.

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Again, Vecchiotti repeats the lie that the laboratory was contaminated, when no such finding was upheld by any court, including Hellmann’s, by referring to Stefanoni stating she had examined fifty of Meredith’s samples at the same time, see above.  She insinuates Stefanoni overrode standards so that they would not have to close the lab up between samples.

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The film then cuts to clips of US media outrage at Vecchiotti’s findings of ‘contamination’, even dragging in Donald Trump, no doubt sucking on a tic tac, with just a small cameo of Mignini for ‘balance’, stating that ‘all evidence’ needs to be looked at, implying that Mignini accepted the alleged contamination and was now trying to deflect from it onto other evidence.  The reader should bear in mind, that in fact, there was no such finding of contamination in Stefanoni’s labs.

Nor does she or her co-partner ever once in the film, and nor do the film makers mention that their report was discredited by the Chieffi Supreme court and Hellmann expunged.

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Having established – falsely – that Vecchiotti and Conti had proven contamination to an unwary audience, the film then cuts to Amanda Knox claiming, ‘There is no trace of me in the murder room…and nothing reliable of Raffaele’.

We are shown a diagram of eight black spots of Rudy Guede’s traces and one white one for Sollecito, some distance away from the body, underneath which, it was actually found.  A police mug shot of Guede appears on screen, whom Knox describes as ‘ a guy who regularly committed burglaries’.

From this we are led to believe Guede is a seasoned criminal career burglar, when as of the time, he had no convictions at all.  The film makers inform the audience it is, ‘a burglary gone wrong’, not a finding by any court, apart from the vacated Hellmann court.  The balance (at roughly six to one against, in terms of time coverage) once again is provided by Mignini who points out its unfairness, given the evidence found at the trial.

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The film then cuts to Conti, who makes an astonishing confession – for a scientific professional expert witness and professor –  stating, ‘What happened inside that room between Guede and Meredith, was not a job assigned to me.’

So now it is out in the open, Vecchiotti and Conti, far from protecting their professional integrity by following their ethical code, which states that they are expected to act with objectivity in their professional role and should safeguard this by recusing themselves should they feel that they have become advocates for a party, in the film do not even hide their partisanship.

Conti  feels confident in this ‘documentary’, now as a global film star, to declare his advocacy for Knox and Sollecito with the above statement.

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The Vecchiotti and Conti sequence of the film ends with a drawn out episode of a supercilious Conti leaning back in an attitude of condescension, no doubt aimed at Mignini, when he concludes,

‘Cicero once said’ – pause – ‘ Any man can err, but only a fool perseveres.’

Next, the film completely ignores that his and Vechiotti’s report was unceremoniously ridiculed by the next level court – Chieffi, Supreme Court – and the pair branded as ‘intellectually dishonest’.  It ignores that the case was remitted back to a completely different Appeal Court, in a completely different area, from Umbria to Tuscany, and under a completely different judge.

In the Netflix film, a diagram showing Knox’ DNA on the knife handle is admired as a strong profile.  Meredith’s DNA on the blade is highlighted as a question mark.  Time and again, the viewer is shown the same diagram with the word ‘INCONCLUSIVE’ above the Meredith DNA in red letters.  The truth is, ALL of the defence experts – including Vecchiotti and Conti – accepted it was a strong DNA profile of Meredith (15-allele) so we see a blatant misrepresentation here, that rather than the confidently strong profile it is, Vecchiotti declares that it is ‘inconclusive’, and leads the viewer to believe this was because of proven contamination.  This deception is underlined by the film makers immediately galloping to the Hellman Court after the Vecchiotti & Conti interview, with wild scenes of Hellmann freeing the pair and declaring them innocent.  The connection is made: the knife DNA – and the bra clasp – is ‘contaminated’ and that is why the pair were freed.  ‘This was the only flimsy evidence,’ is the message conveyed. Thanks to the lurid and putrid imaginings of Mignini and Pisa, those kids suffered, the viewer is told.  Cue mass media bombardment by the outraged Netflix viewers, on Twitter and Facebook excoriating Pisa, mostly, and also Mignini, as having botched up the whole case and ruined the lives of these two kids.

That was the film: now the reality

  • I will look at Vecchiotti and Conti’s true track record, which is appalling. The husband of a murder victim was denied justice for a staggering NINETEEN years, as DNA investigator Vecchiotti, et al, negligently refused to investigate the DNA of the perpetrator of the murder.
  • How did Vecchiotti and Conti get appointed by Hellmann court at all? I reveal how the US contingent of pro-Amanda Knox scientists helped ‘fix’ it.
  • I will highlight the legerdemain ploys adopted by the pair in preparing their report, which predicated Hellmann freeing the pair from prison. It was a moot point henceforth as to whether they would ever return.
  • I will set out Chieffi’s and Nencini’s damning criticisms of Vecchiotti and Conti in the case.  Crini points out, in the Nencini report, that Vecchiotti’s own laboratory fridge did not have a thermometer!
  • I will show how the elaborate ‘heist’ of the judicial system in springing ‘the kids’ from jail happened. A US scientist, using Boise University resources, Greg Hampikian, was bragging to courts in the US under oath, even as Hellmann had been expunged and Nencini had just recommenced the appeal, that, ‘I am still working on the Amanda Knox case’.
  • My analysis exposes the interconnections between US advocates Hampikian, Bruce Budowle and British forensic expert, Dr Peter Gill, with Vecchiotti and Conti, which casts grave doubt on the pair being ‘independent’ expert witnesses at all.

modern-scientific-police-labs-in-rome

Modern Forensic Science Laboratories in Rome

The track record

On 21 April 2016, Carla Vechiotti, together with Pascali, Vicenza and Arberello, was found guilty in a civil suit of gross negligence in the examination of the murder of Contessa Ogliata, dating from 1991, and ordered to pay €150,000 in damages.  Vecchiotti appears to have a reputation for cutting more corners than Stirling Moss, with other cases often quoted, with which she is associated.

Above:  Conti & Vecchiotti laboratores forcible closed down.  Right: Bodies line the corridors

Recently, Conti and Vecchiotti’s laboratory in Rome was closed down due to public health issues. Contamination almost certainly occurred in their laboratory.   Rotting cadavers unclaimed by relatives, were said to have piled up in the corridors.  Stefanoni’s laboratory, which followed all the conventional standards of the day was never proven to have been contaminated.

Carla Vecchiotti’s reputation is in tatters. She has made a number of shocking errors in a couple of murder cases, she repeatedly misled the appeal court – Judge Nencini described hers and Conti’s work as “misleading” and “reprehensible“.

The Hellmann Court (Appeal Court)

judge-claudio-pratillo-he-007

18 Dec 2010  At the Hellmann appeal the defences made three unusual requests, (a) to get an independent review of the DNA and (b) to bring in Alessi to challenge Curatalo’s testimony and (c) Aviello, a mobster.  Hellmann agreed to appoint Conti &Vecchiotti from La Sapienza University in Rome.  In the interim 16 Dec 2010, Rudy Guede was definitively convicted. (a) was challenged by Comodi, saying there were many experts for both sides already.  Hellmann argued a judge did not have sufficient expertise to evaluate the experts’ opinions.  Having achieved the appointment of Conti &Vecchiotti , Conti &Vecchiotti [‘the experts’] delivered the coup de grâce: claiming  international standards were not met, contamination could not be ruled out, and that the DNA profile of Meredith could not be reliable.  The pair made the claim the DNA could have ‘come from dust’, and rebutted by Stefanoni, who said in that case, there should have been contamination elsewhere, not just on the bra clasp.

braclasp

Contamination from the laboratory was completely ruled out, contrary to the claims made in the Netflix film, after which, ‘the experts’ moved to a stance that the contamination happened before it even got to the laboratories.  At the hearing, Conti was constantly asked what the criteria were for alleging contamination, to which he replied, ‘Anything is possible’.  As a scientist, a proper evaluation of probability was expected of him.

In their report they claimed, ‘The electrophoretic profiles exhibited reveal that the sample indicated by the letter B (blade of knife) was a Low Copy Number (LCN) sample, and, as such, all of the precautions indicated by the international scientific community should have been applied.’

It transpired ‘the experts’ had decided to use the US standards of Bruce Budowle and supported by Gill, et al., that the threshold for Low Copy Number (LCN) DNA should be raised to 200 picograms, from the hitherto conventional 100 picograms.  In addition, ‘the experts’ argued, the US standard of 50 RFU’s should be used in place of the then Italian standard of 30 RFU’s.  Analysis of DNA below these levels introduces a higher risk of ‘background noise’; contamination from alien sources, i.e., everyday dust, which may contain DNA fragments.  Hellmann, ‘the experts’ and the US scientists getting involved, by virtue of ‘the experts’ quoting extensively from their papers, erred in presupposing that Dr Stefanoni knew nothing about these issues.  Professor Novelli, for the state, challenged the claim that there was any contamination.  Indeed ‘the experts’ were unable to demonstrate this other than by quoting lengthy academic papers which had little to do with mundane case law and more to do with ivory towers.  Vecchiotti, born 1951, with a long CV from medical student days, would have known what Italian standards were, yet tried to subvert them in retrospect.

A complaint was lodged by the prosecution about the pair being seen to openly fraternise with Sollecito’s defence team during the hearing, a strict Bar Standard ‘no, no’ for an independent expert witness.

‘The experts’ refused to analyse a further sample of DNA found on the knife, giving the reason it was LCN, and they ‘didn’t want to make the same mistake as Stefanoni.’

rsakrg

Above: Raffaele Sollecito;  Amanda Knox;  Rudy Guede

Hellmann accepted Vecchiotti & Conti’s findings and acquitted Knox and Sollecito, declaring them ‘innocent’, aside from the calunnia for Knox, together with finding that Guede acted alone, as a ‘burglar disturbed.’

For the film makers, this defines the end of the film.

The Chieffi Court (Supreme Court)

The next level of appeal court overturned completely Hellman’s findings.  It rebutted that the DNA sample of Meredith’s was ipso facto low quality just because it was LCN.  ‘The experts’ had claimed, relying on their US sources, that LCN sampling should only be done on special projects, such as missing persons or cadaver identification, and that there was not the technology as it was ‘too innovative’.  Chieffi did not buy this, pointing to embryology studies.  He scoffed at the idea of ‘the experts’ being more expert than Professor Novelli or Dr Torricelli.  He censured Hellmann for failing to consider their equivalent expert knowledge.

Chieffi was particularly critical of ‘the experts’ refusing to test the remaining knife sample, calling their reasoning, ‘intellectually dishonest’.  25 March 2013, Chieffi ordered the case back to the Appeal court to consider the DNA evidence again, amongst other issues, and that the knife sample be tested.  One suspects ‘the experts’ were loath to test the sample in case it turned out be further DNA of Meredith, and this may be why Chieffi smelt a rat.

The Nencini Court (Appeal Court)

nencini

Nencini made it clear in a newspaper interview it was not within his remit to criticise ‘the experts’, but rather, to assess the legal rectitude of the Massei court decision, which Hellmann patently failed to do.  However, criticise he does.  He directs Barni, witness for the police, that ‘no US standards’ are to be quoted.   In upholding the findings of the Massei court, he makes the following point in his reasoning about the DNA of the knife and bra clasp:

  “… The consultant holds furthermore that the most appropriate technical approach to interpret the genetic profile arising from trace 165B and to avoid subjective interpretations is to “call upon”, meaning to consider as valid, all of the alleles with RFU > 50, independently of their position or whether or not they might be stutter. Once the complete profile is determined, given that there may also be more than

two contributors to the trace, we feel that the only statistical approach that can be used adequately here is the RMNE (Random Man Not Excluded) method. This statistical approach makes it possible to estimate the possible error due to a chance compatibility, meaning that of a person chosen randomly from the population and who by pure chance is fully compatible with the genetic characteristics of the individual represented in the trace. The higher and nearer to 1 that probability is, the more likely it is that the profile could be the result of a random choice and thus the higher the probability of an error in the attribution of the genetic profile to a given individual. In this case, as seen in Table 5, the profile of Raffaele Sollecito is compatible at all the loci analyzed in the mixture of DNA found on Exhibit 165B.

The probability that a random individual from the population would also be compatible (the inclusion probability) [245] was calculated, and came out to be equal to 3.05592 x 10^-6, which is about 1 in 327 thousand. This computation is considered to be extremely conservative, since all of the allelic components are taken into consideration together with their frequency in the reference population.” (Pages 15-17 of the technical report submitted at the 6 September 2011 hearing before the Court of Assizes of Appeal of Perugia.)

The same investigative method was also suggested by the consultant of the Prosecutor in relation to the interpretation of the genetic profile of the markers located on the Y chromosome of trace 165B. Here again, all alleles with RFU>50 were considered, giving the following table:

Table 3. Profiles of Chromosome Y taken from trace 165 B

Marker

Exhibit
165B

Raffaele
SOLLECITO

DVS456

13.15

13

DYS3891

12-13

12

DYS390

22-23-24

22

DYS3891

29

29

D’tS458

14-15-17

15

DVSI9

14

14

DVS385

13-14-16

13-14

DYS393

12-13-14

13

DYS39I

9-10-11

10

DYS439

11

11

DVS635

21-22

21

DVS392

11

11

V GAT,t 114

11-12

11

DYS437

14-15

15

D’t’S438

9-10

10

DVS448

19-20-21

20

 [246] On the basis of the data in the above table, applying the method of statistical calculation indicated above, Prof. Novelli estimated the probability of a chance inclusion of a random person from the population in the mixed profile, together with the chance compatibility of this random individual with the major contributor to the Y chromosome, as about 1 in 3 billion.”

He upholds that the Forensic Police, aside from some human error, acted correctly and dismissed defence claims that Stefanoni had withheld raw data, and as claimed by ‘the experts’, citing documentary proof the information had been deposited.  Nencini reinstated the convictions, 31 January 2014, and dismissed the claim of contamination.  The sample on the knife ‘the experts’ had claimed was ‘starch’ and ‘too low LCN’ was successfully tested and found to be that of Amanda Knox.  None of this is mentioned by Vecchiotti & Conti in the film and nor do the film makers point it out, leaving their audience to believe ‘the experts’ claim of ‘contamination is proven’.

A key finding was that Professors Novelli and Torricelli had already been the target of the criticisms raised specifically by Prof. Adriano Tagliabracci, technical consultant for the Sollecito defense, at the first instance trial court, and thus was a matter settled (res judicata).  This is important to note, for Marasca later describes Tagliabracci in glowing terms as ‘world renowned’ when he reinstates the Hellmann findings in this matter, at the next level.  Nencini observes, ‘Finally, it is observed that Prof. Tagliabracci’s criticism is founded on an unproven and unprovable suspicion, namely that the biologist doing the work being already in possession of reference samples supposedly used the “suspect-centric” method.’

tagliabracci

Professor Adriano Tagliabracci

Nencini also found that the second instance [Hellman] court undervalued the fact that the tests carried out took place during the preliminary investigation [of which the Defence was notified and had the right to attend], that at the time of those tests, there were no objections concerning the sampling and laboratory activity, nor was a pre‐trial hearing requested regarding the testing, all of which proves agreement with the [laboratory] procedures.

Is Contamination Possible?

There were NO full male DNA profiles on the bra, apart from Sollecito’s and Guede’s.  Vecchiotti and Conti, significantly, in the film, try to detract from this highly incriminating scientific fact, by making reference to everyday dust fragments, as if that could possibly account for it.  The assertion by Conti in the film that ‘a crime scene must be kept sterile,’ is meaningless for there are many environmental pollutants at every crime scene.

prof_david_balding

Professor David Balding

Expert forensic geneticist Professor David Balding, and who, until October 2009 was Professor in Statistical Genetics at Imperial College, London, where he still retains an affiliation as Visiting Professor commented as follows. He is an editor of the Handbook of Statistical Genetics.

“Sollecito’s alleles are all represented and these generate the highest peaks, but there are some low peaks not attributable to him; so at least one of the additional contributors of low-level DNA to the sample was male.”

“They correctly criticised the scientific police for ignoring these: many do appear to be stutter peaks which are usually ignored, but 4 are not and definitely indicate DNA from another individual.  The extra peaks are all low, so the extra individuals contributed very little DNA.  That kind of extraneous DNA is routine in low-template work: our environment is covered with DNA from breath and touch, including a lot of fragmentary DNA from degraded cells that can show up in low-template analyses.  There is virtually no crime sample that doesn’t have some environmental DNA on it, from individuals not directly involved in the crime.  This does create additional uncertainty in the analysis because of the extra ambiguity about the true profile of the contributor of interest, but as long as it is correctly allowed for in the analysis there is no problem – it is completely routine.” (David Balding).

in some cases we have peaks that correspond to a fourth person.”

“The fourth person is not Guede, it seems. This mystery fourth person hasn’t been mentioned much”. (Luciano Garofano, Darkness Descending).

“But because Sollecito is fully represented in the stain at 16 loci (we still only use 10 in the UK, as the legal threshold, so 16 is a lot), the evidence against him is strong.”

In this case all the peaks associated with Sollecito seem clear and distinct  so I think there can be no concern about the quality of the result as far as it concerns him or Kercher.”

The Italian Scientific Police follow the guidelines of the ENFSI – the European Network Forensic Science Institutes. Dr Stefanoni observed that they followed these specific guidelines whereas Conti and Vecchiotti basically picked and mixed a random selection of international opinions:

We followed the guidelines of the ENFSI, theirs is just a collage of different international opinions”.

In other words, Conti and Vecchiotti were not referring to the specific guidelines and recommendation of one particular international forensic organisations despite giving that impression at the appeal in Perugia. They cited a number of obscure American publications such as the the Missouri State Highway Patrol Handbook and Wisconsin Crime Laboratory Physical Evidence Handbook. The Italian Scientific Police are under no obligation to follow the DNA protocols of the Missouri State Highway Patrol and Wisconsin Crime Laboratory.

Professor Novelli also pointed out that contamination has to be proved:

The contaminant must be demonstrated, where it originated from and where it is. The hook contaminated by dust? It’s more likely for a meteorite to fall and bring this court down to the ground.”

Professor Torricelli testified that it was unlikely the clasp was contaminated because there was a significant amount of Sollecito’s DNA on it. Professor Novelli analysed the series of samples from all 255 items processed and found not a single instance of contamination, and ruled out as implausible that a contaminating agent could have been present just on one single result.

There was an independent review of the forensic evidence in 2008.

Dr Renato Biondo, the head of the DNA Unit of the Scientific Police, reviewed Dr Stefanoni’s investigation and the forensic findings. He testified at Rudy Guede’s fast-track trial in October 2008 and confirmed that all the forensic findings were accurate and reliable.

stefanoni

Dr Patrizia Stefanoni, leader of the Forensic Police, addressing Sollecito defence team.

He also praised the work of Dr. Stefanoni and her team.We are confirming the reliability of the information collected from the scene of the crime and at the same time, the professionalism and excellence of our work.

So, now we have a pointer as to why Conti introduced his presentation by claiming ‘DNA is spread like dust.’  To mislead the general public viewers of the Toronto International Film Festival 2016 – endorsed ‘documentary’ into believing the DNA evidence of the bra-clasp and knife was ‘contaminated’.

To sum up, then, WAS there any possibility of contamination, as Vecchiotti and Conti are now claiming in the film?

  1. Conti and Vecchiotti didn’t prove there had been any contamination.  Judge Chieffi pointed this out.
  1. Conti and Vecchiotti lied to the appeal court – Judge Nencini pointed this out – and they didn’t test the DNA sample despite the fact they were specifically instructed to do so.
  1. Numerous DNA experts believe the bra clasp is strong evidence – Professor Balding, Professor Novelli, Luciano Garofano, Professor Torricelli and Dr Biondo.
  1. It’s impossible that the knife was contaminated.
  1. There is no universally accepted DNA standards for collecting and testing DNA evidence. DNA protocols vary from country to country.
  1. Conti and Vecchiotti cited obscure sources, They didn’t refer to the specific guidelines of an international forensic organisation.
  1. Conti and Vecchiotti excluded contamination in the laboratory.
  1. The defence experts had no objections when the DNA evidence was tested.
  1. Vecchiotti made calamitous errors in other cases and her lab was closed down.
  1. Does anyone really believe Sollecito’s DNA floated on a speck of dust under Meredith’s door and landed on the exact part of her bra clasp that had been bent out of shape during the attack on her?                                              –  THE MACHINE

The Marasca-Bruno Supreme Court (Final)

marasca-bruno

Above: Italian Supreme Court Judges, Fifth Chambers, Genaro Marasca and Paolo Bruno

In the final Marasca-Bruno Supreme Court short 48- page reasoning, from March 2015, the guilty verdicts as upheld by Massei and Nencini are overturned, and Vecchiotti & Conti‘s report reinstalled.

The second reason [the first reason being: The first reason challenged the violation and inobservance of the criminal law], highlights a problem of great relevance in the circumstance of the present judgment, that is the right interpretation of the scientific examination results from a perspective of respect of the evaluation standards according to article 192 of the criminal procedural code and the relevance of the genetic evaluation in the absence of repeatable amplification, as a consequence of the minimal amount of the sample and, more generally, the reliability coefficient of investigations carried out without following the regulations dictated by the international protocols, both during the collecting phase and the analysis. Particularly, anomalies were challenged in the retrieval of the knife (item 36) and the victim’s brassiere hook, which do not exclude the possibility of contamination, as correctly outlined in the Conti-Vecchiotti report, ordered by the Perugian Court of assizes, which also notified the unreliability of the scientific data, precisely because it was not subject to a further examination. It was also denied that the retrieved knife would have been the crime weapon.”

Thus, we see the Chieffi Supreme Court directly challenged by a sister chambers and the criticisms of Vecchiotti and Conti swept aside, as though they had never happened.

Marasca writes:

‘In fact, no trace of Sollecito was found in the room of the murder. The only element of proof against him was represented by the DNA trace retrieved on the brassiere hook of the victim; trace of which relation with the indicted was actually denied by the Vecchiotti-Conti report, which, in this regard, had accepted the observations of the defense advisor Professor Tagliabracci, world-renowned geneticist.’

It further states:

‘12) Also erroneous was the interpretation of the results of the genetic evidence on item 36) …[…]

14) Obvious also was the flawed reasoning on the results of the genetic investigations on the bra hook, …[…]… With regard to the possible contamination of the item, the appeal judges overlooked the photographic material placed before the court, which clearly demonstrated the possible contamination, regarding the way the hook was treated, with a “hand to hand” passage carried out by persons who wore dirty latex gloves. Furthermore, a second amplification was not carried out on the hook …[…]… With regard to this, the objections by the defense and the contrary conclusions of the defense adviser professor Tagliabracci, were not considered.’

In other words, the DNA evidence for the knife and the bra clasp is completely dismissed.  We see no proper rationale by Marasca, just a few handfuls of abstractions along the lines of Conti’s famous, ‘Anything is possible.’

peter-gill

Dr. Peter Gill

It takes on board Gill’s theories of ‘secondary’ and ‘tertiary’ transfer of DNA, when Gill himself appears to have overlooked that he himself wrote, that ‘this is highly improbable after 24 hours have passed’.

If Marasca’s rulings are considered bizarre, then light is shed when one realises that Bongiorno, for Sollecito, was given NINE times longer to present her appeal than any of the other parties, so it is fair comment to assume its reasoning is based on Bongiorno’s appeal points.  In addition, her 306 page appeal was appended with Gill’s advocacy report, and whom was never cross-examined.

The resuscitation of the hitherto presumed decaying corpse of Vechhiotti & Conti is remarkable, given the cadaver of their report to Hellmann was picked raw, first by the First Chambers Supreme Court (Chieffi) and then Nencini.

Vecchiotti and Conti have risen like Lazarus from a car crash, shrouded in the malodorous cloth of something fishy.

How the Sting was pulled off

Freelance journalist Andrea Vogt, who reported extensively on the case, said of the Marasca reasoning:  ‘In my opinion, their report is superficial at best and intellectually dishonest at worst, when even the most minimal amount of Quellenkritik is applied’.

Andrea Vogt writes an incisive analysis of the US influence on the Conti & Vecchiotti reports, which I cannot better here, so do read it for yourself:  http://thefreelancedesk.com/the-secret-u-s-forensic-defense-of-amanda-knox/

However, I will repeat her prophecy, ironic in hindsight:

  “If Knox is acquitted at the end of this month, the quiet American hand in her forensic defense will be heralded as the turnkey that made the ultimate difference in her case. But if she is convicted, there are legitimate questions to be asked about exactly what public resources were spent on this international defense.”

Vogt uncovered what appears to be a whole secret network that she was unable to penetrate through the fog of Freedom of Information law, which enabled Hampikian to claim ‘trade secrets’ as a project of Boise University, where his laboratory is based, to evade the question of, ‘Who was funding his Amanda Knox advocacy work?’

hampikian-tv

If then, it is clear beyond any reasonable doubt that both Meredith’s and Sollecito’s DNA is strong and background contamination ruled out by the trial courts, why then does the film revisit the discredited testimony of ‘court experts’ Vecchiotti & Conti?  We can link this back to the film makers own self-professed strong pro-Knox beliefs in her innocence.  Thus we have come full circle.

The defence managed to convince the now expunged Hellmann court to appoint ‘independent experts’; the Chieffi Supreme Court ruled that, whilst this was within Hellmann’s remit, it did not provide adequate reasoning for doing so.  Vecchiotti & Conti, remarkably, in their report, relied heavily on US standards, thus making the straw man claim that Italy hadn’t followed them, notwithstanding their strong academic and legal background in Italy.  This therefore cannot have been due to ignorance, so we have to point to their own volition to be influenced by strongly Knox-advocates.  For example, Hampikian, funded by Boise University grants and protected by a blanket of secrecy, citing ‘trade secrets’ when journalist Andrea Vogt requested information under the Freedom of Information statutes.

In addition, Bruce Budowle, a more conservative ex-FBI forensic expert, was heavily relied upon, together with peers Gill, et al.  It was at this stage Gill may have got roped in.  His later book draws on Vecchiotti &Conti’s Hellmann’s Report.  Thus, we see a band of pro-Amanda Knox advocates determined to influence the so-called ‘independent’ experts, even when both Hampikian’s and Budowle’s reports were rejected as depositions by the courts.  Even when ‘the experts’ were spiked by the Chieffi Supreme court, Hampikian was still averring, ‘I am involved in the Amanda Knox case’.

Friends of Amanda Knox even today lovingly quote Hellmann despite his de facto ex-communication from the judiciary.  Little surprise we see the film makers eager to include Vecchiotti and Conti, who made it all possible for the birds to fly.

On the subject of Dr Peter Gill, who is widely regarded as having influenced the Fifth Chambers, via Bongiorno’s Appeal, to which his theories were attached, is now drawing on Vecchiotti and Conti as his main source, so we have a case of the experts’ racing car, as it were, driving the man, referred to devoutly by the defence, as ‘the father of forensic science’.

Dr. Naseer Ahmad of PMF.net was moved to comment:

 ” – A look at his sources show that the chapter on Meredith Kercher was directly influenced by the Conti-Vecchiotti report.
– He argues contamination, but doesn’t prove a path of transmission.
– He cites papers on secondary transfer of DNA, but misses the point his suggested routes, RS>door handle>investigator’s latex glove>bra clasp is tertiary transfer.
– He argues the low cell count of Meredith’s Kercher’s DNA on the knife suggests contamination without considering that rigorous washing with household bleach might degrade it. (Yet miraculously those cells did provide a full match with Meredith’s DNA)
– The shoe box belonging to Meredith story has been shot down.
– He clearly has not read Inspector Gubbiotti or Finci’s testimonies, which removes all possible paths of ‘innocent transfer’.
– Reading the actual research papers he cites, there is no way that such significant amounts of DNA could actually transfer to the bra clasp.
– He did not review Patrizia Stefanoni’s Scientific Report or any of her notes, instead relying on the IIP translated C&V report and Hellmann decision.
– He refers to the Meredith Kercher wiki, but never even looked at the DNA segments which would have alerted him to problems with the C&V report.
– He may have had indirect input from Sollecito’s first DNA expert, Vincenzo Pascali, and Carla Vecchiotti, but does not seem to know of Vecchiotti’s colorful record of falsifying evidence.

Last, and worst of all, he did not refer to the Supreme Court decision annulling Hellmann even though the translation was widely available almost ten months before his book was published. There is no way he could not have known this, since we had been in contact with him since earlier this year. It is unconscionable that he chose this route to promote his theories. Elsevier under its new ownership and editorial policies seem to have allowed any number of self-published books to be written. If Professor Gill had written a scholarly text book it would have to be reviewed by an editorial board and sent for peer review, which might have led to professional experts critiquing and hopefully pointing out his errors. Instead, he wrote a slim, unreviewed ‘popular’ book to promote his own theories, which, embarrassing perhaps for him, is being critiqued and torn apart by lay persons, ahem.

Misleading DNA Evidence – Reasons for Miscarriages of Justice, Peter Gill, Academic Press.

Quote:

Recommendation 1: The expert should provide the court with an unbiased list of all possible modes of transfer of DNA evidence (pg 20).”

The irony is not lost.

meredith

R.I.P

Meredith Susanna Cara Kercher (28 December 1985 – 1 November 2007)


Sources:
Thanks to Naseer Ahmad.
Thanks to The Machine, for the section on ‘Contamination, is it possible’
The Machine’s analysis of ’50 of the most common myths still promoted’ can be read here:
http://truejustice.org/ee/index.php?/tjmk/comments/fifty_of_the_most_common_myths_still_promoted/
http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/Main_Page
http://www.perugiamurderfile.net/viewforum.php?f=1
The Nencini Sentencing Report: http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/The_Nencini_Sentencing_Report_(English)
The Chieffi Sentencing Report:
http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/The_Supreme_Court_of_Cassation_of_Italy_Sentencing_Report
The Massei Report: http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/The_Massei_Report_(English)
The Marasca-Bruno Report: http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/The_Marasca-Bruno_Report_(English)
My thanks to everybody who helped me with material.

New Term, New Course Modules

February 13, 2010

I reckon the best way to tackle a new topic is when you get a new text book:

1. First flick through it very quickly. If you see anything interesting stop and read it, as you would any non-fiction book read for leisure. Why force yourself to read turgid stuff that makes your eyelids heavy?

2. Then, look down the contents page. If you see something interesting (who knows, “Internal Audit” might be of interest) then read that chapter first.

3. Next, instead of starting at Chapter 1 and boring yourself rigid by Chapter 3, start at chapter four, which will take you straight into the relevant part of the course. Chapters 1 to 3 are often mere “introduction” or “recap of assumed knowledge”. Easy to get bogged down at the start and wasting time on them so skip it until later, when you come to revise.

4. Have a quick read of the last chapter for an idea of the more obscure “higher marks”.

5. For an overview, best read the passnotes quickly first, before the textbook, to put the topic into context, then put away in a drawer until the exams as they are not much use.

BUT…I have just been looking at the new Kaplan cards and they are absolutely gorgeous: I have already spread them about in front of me on my desk at work. They are in “mind map” flash card style in different colours.

Anything that makes studying is more of a pleasure, has to be good.


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