Italy’s top court has ordered a retrial after Amanda Knox appealed for the dropping of the slander conviction she received for wrongly accusing a bar owner of murdering the British student Meredith Kercher.
Knox, an American who, along with her Italian ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, spent four years in prison after initially being convicted of the murder, made the request on the basis of a ruling by the European court of human rights in 2019 that found that her defence rights had been violated during police questioning in 2007.
The challenge to the conviction has also been enabled by a reform to the code of criminal procedure made by the government of the then Italian prime minister Mario Draghi in 2022.
Kercher, a 21-year-old student from Coulsdon, south London, was murdered in the home she shared with Knox in the university town of Perugia in November 2007. Her body was found in her bedroom, partly undressed with multiple stab wounds. She had also been sexually assaulted.
I’m on trial in Italy again…and this is a good thing.
As everyone knows, on March 27th, 2015, the Court of Cassation definitively acquitted me and Raffaele Sollecito of the murder of Meredith Kercher, per non aver commesso il fatto—for not having committed the act.
— Amanda Knox (@amandaknox) October 13, 2023
Knox was convicted of defamation and handed a three-year jail term after wrongly accusing Patrick Lumumba, who owned a bar in Perugia, of the crime. Lumumba spent two weeks in jail and was only released after a witness came forward with an alibi for him.
Lawyers for Knox, who received a $4m (£3.3m) advance for her memoir and took part in a Netflix documentary about the case, argue she made the allegation under police duress and did not have legal assistance or an interpreter.
Amanda Knox says media depicted her as man-eating murdererRead more
Carlo Pacelli, a lawyer who represents Lumumba, said his client had not been contacted at any point in the legal process that led to the cassation court’s decision on Friday. “So there will be another trial but nobody has notified him,” said Pacelli.
Knox was also previously ordered to pay Lumumba compensation. “But he never received a cent,” added Pacelli. The allegation led Lumumba to lose his business and move his family out of Italy.
Rudy Guede, who was the only person definitively convicted of Kercher’s murder, was released from prison in November 2021 after completing 13 years of a 16-year-sentence.
Knox and Sollecito were definitively acquitted of the murder in a high court ruling in 2015 that described “stunning flaws” in the investigation that led to their initial convictions.
The retrial for Knox’s defamation conviction is expected to be held in Florence.