An Italian judge has said the murder conviction against Amanda Knox in the slaying of her British roommate Meredith Kercher was overturned because evidence used by a lower court against the American and her Italian boyfriend didn't hold up.
"Even taken all together," the prosecution's evidence does not "prove in any way the guilt of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito for the crime of" killing British student Meredith Kercher, Judge Claudio Pratillo Hellman wrote, CNN reported.
Giving reasons Thursday for an October ruling that reversed the convictions against Knox, 24, and her former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, 27, Hellman also slammed police and prosecutors for their harsh treatment of Amanda Knox during questioning.
Pratillo also said it was wrong that the American had been portrayed negatively for performing cartwheels in a Perugia police station as she waited to be questioned over the murder, and for practicing yoga. According to the Telegraph:
The "gymnastic exercises", he said, were her way of relieving stress rather than a sign of callousness or lack of compassion towards Miss Kercher.
He also said that Miss Knox had been unfairly criticized for buying a G-string, rather than more conservative underwear, in the days after the murder, when police refused to allow her back into the house she shared with Miss Kercher and two Italian legal secretaries.
Buying the underwear was not a sign of "insensitivity" or "an inclination towards obscenity" Judge Hellmann wrote, but a necessity because the University of Washington student had nothing else to wear.
Knox and Kercher shared a house in Perugia, Italy, in 2007, while the two — 20 and 21 respectively at the time — studied at a school for foreign students. Kercher's semi-naked body was found in the house in November that year. Her throat had been slashed.
Hellman's 144-page report identified several shortcomings in the prosecution's case, including, the HuffPost reported, "no murder weapon, faulty DNA, an inaccurate time for the killing, and insufficient proof that Knox and Raffaele Sollecito were even at the location where the crime occurred."
The judge pointed out that at Knox and Sollecito's initial trial, the prosecution used the word "probably" 39 times.
At that trial, Knox, of Seattle, and Sollecito, who is Italian and was 23 at the time of Kercher's murder, were found guilty of killing and sexually assaulting Kercher and sentenced respectively to 26 and 25 years in prison in 2009.
An Ivorian drifter named Rudy Guede — who admitted having sexual relations with Kercher but denied killing her — was convicted separately of her murder.
According to the Daily Mail, Hellman was also critical of sloppy and unfair interrogation methods, writing that:
"The obsessive interrogation [by police went on for hours, both day and night, and was carried out by several people on a young girl who at the time did not speak or understand Italian.
"Her rights were ignored and she was not even appointed a lawyer, a right which she had seeing as she was being accused of a serious crime.''
Hellman said his report that it was not up to the jury to reconstruct what had happened, CNN reports.
"What matters in reaching the ruling is only the lack of proof of guilt of the two defendants," he wrote.