The sensational decision to clear Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito of the murder of Meredith Kercher has been received with predictable and understandable hysteria and not just from those closest to the case. Since the tragic and brutal murder of Meredith Kercher in 2007 the high profile case has gripped the attentions of the press and public across the world. Whilst Miss Kercher has almost been forgotten, Amanda Knox has achieved a status of infamy usually reserved to serial killers and mass murderers.
On her social networking site Miss Knox gave herself the nickname 'Foxy Knoxy' presumably as a nod to her looks and sexuality which, as with many young women on social networking sites, she used to gain attention and 'friends'. 'Foxy Knoxy' soon became a moniker adopted by both the tabloids and broadsheets in all too often sensational newspaper coverage regarding the case and the accused.
Whilst Miss Knox's moniker and sexual antics may have provided them good headlines and attracted readers this was not in my opinion in the best interests of justice. Indeed if the murder trial had been in the UK, many of the reports would have been deemed prejudicial and therefore amounted to contempt of court. Yes, her behaviour and reputation may have indicated that she was a narcissist and perhaps has questionable behaviour and perhaps one could go as far to say morals, but not necessarily more than many of her peers and certainly is not, in itself, evidence of her being a murderer. But her good looks and titillating behaviour proved too much of an opportunity for many mainstream publications and indeed threw most bloggers and users of social networking sites into a frenzy creating two camps, those pro Foxy Knoxy who felt the saucy sexpot was being unfairly judged and those who felt she is as the Prosecutor in the appeal said a she devil capable of murder for sexual satisfaction. The two sides often clashed viciously and since yesterday's decision their war of words has actually exploded over the internet.
The Prosecutor in the case (who himself faces allegations of wrongdoing and legal action for allegedly interfering with the course of justice in other cases he was involved in) seemed to have decided Miss Knox's guilt at the outset. And I believe his stance was based primarily on a moral judgment and dislike of her character. If one was being very harsh one could even go as far as to say that it seemed the hard evidence was merely supplemental and superfluous pesky legal requirements to his initial 'findings' and judgment.
It goes without saying that the combination of this judicial approach and media reports towards Knox equated to a vicious character assassination and resulted in a moral judgment of her that somehow extended to a legal judgment. Her portrayal as a sexually deviant she devil who killed Mereditch Kercher in a sex game that went horribly wrong has led many to claim that her conviction should have been upheld despite the fact that the original conviction of her and Sollecito was based on flawed and unreliable evidence.
Many are debating what the next step will be in this sorry saga. The Prosecution have made clear their intent to appeal the decision, such appeal will be the final stage of appeal allowed within the Italian justice system. In all likelihood it is unlikely that any such appeal will ever properly transpire given that Miss Knox will be safely back in the United States and it is highly unlikely that the US powers that be will agree to any extradition request.
As I said on ITV1's Daybreak yesterday, I don't believe we will ever know what really went on that fateful night and whether Rudy Guede acted alone or with others and if with accomplices, who they were.
What I am very sure of is that the manner in which this prosecution has been handled and the press reports have made it very difficult for justice to ever have been conducted properly. In turn this has denied Meredith Kercher and her family the justice and resolution they deserved. One can only hope that they take some comfort from the fact that Rudy Guede is in prison for his crime. Although a reduced sentence of 16 years for providing statements implicating Miss Knox and her boyfriend is a pitiful sentence for such a brutal crime especially given yesterday's acquittal.
As for Miss Knox she may never have to face a re-trial or the prospect of another stint in an Italian jail but due to the manner in which her case has been handled and her 'acquittal', it also follows that she and her co-accused will never be fully free from the dark cloud of suspicion that still hangs over them. Miss Knox may well become a millionairess from media deals and interviews and indeed from her behaviour and that of her family and supporters during the trial has shown every indication she will lap up her new found role as the innocent vixen. However, even if she is truly innocent those monies are blood money of sorts. I suspect in many ways she will be a pauper for life.
I wonder if those involved in the prosecution (who appeared to pay less attention to legal laws and more attention to their own moral laws) the media and the public who so like to be armchair judges will ever consider the implications of their reporting and campaigns on this case. Perhaps if they could for even one minute feel the pain of Miss Kercher's family they would think to act differently in similar situations.
One can only hope that out of such a tragedy and farcical legal proceedings will come a change in attitude and responsibility by all those involved who have, albeit perhaps inadvertently, added to the Kercher family's pain through their actions.