Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 23 August 2014

Why Amanda Knox's spin shouldn't deny justice for Meredith

Clever campaign: Amanda Knox

Her website informs us that, "Amanda Knox is a New York Times and USA Today's bestselling author ..." Actually she is a convicted killer who wrote a book about the murder and then made a fortune on the back of sale of the same.

Or, as Amanda puts it herself (after she gets round to listing her own favourite reading material "in no particular order") she is "involuntarily, a public persona, known as a defendant in the internationally infamous and controversial trial for the murder of Meredith Kercher."

It's almost as if the best-selling author's claim is the important bit. The real reason we know the name Amanda Knox. Not that convoluted stuff about becoming involuntarily tangled up in an infamous trial.

She is undoubtedly a pretty girl. But so too was Meredith Kercher. There is a picture of Meredith on the Knox website. "Thank you for caring about the both of us", Amanda says re, "the injustice of her (Meredith's) death and the injustice that has been brought upon my life in the shadow of her murder".

The picture of Meredith is credited to "the Kercher family". Given what we know of the Kercher family's belief in Amanda Knox's guilt, it's difficult to imagine that they actually supplied the photograph for display on the site. But that's the cleverly subliminal message.

And the Amanda Knox PR campaign has been clever from the start. The fortune spent has yielded up sympathetic coverage, in America especially, for that martyred victim of injustice formerly known as Foxy Knoxy.

The latest simpering interview, after last week's decision by the Italian appeal court, featured her interrogator holding teary Amanda's hand, as the latter sought to rally homeland support against her possible extradition.

Will she be extradited? Should she be extradited? It's hard to see how the US could refuse to co-operate with a European and NATO partner which has previously complied with requests the other way (including the case in 1998 where crew of a US jet which hit a ski lift cable in the Alps killing almost two dozen people were returned to America for trial).

Italy's justice system may differ from America's but there is nothing to suggest it is any less scrupulous, fair or prejudiced against random, innocent Americans. Despite what Ms Knox may imply.

The Italian courts have found her guilty. And the Kercher family very obviously believe the Italian courts have got it right. By any reading of this story Knox does, as they say, have questions to answer.

She initially pointed the finger at an entirely innocent man. But for the grace of a solid alibi, Patrick Lumumba would now be serving a life sentence. No PR offensive can quite sugar coat that one.

And you do wonder if Knox's expensive and artfully spun campaign might actually rebound upon her.

Thus far it's going well.

A majority of Americans appear to back her (if only on the grounds that she's good-looking and, well, American).

But there must be many Americans too, uneasy about the hand-holding, fawning interviews. They will compare the carefully constructed, flawlessly made-up image of la Knox with the open, dignified Kerchers (no fist-pumping celebration at the verdict, just raw, ongoing grief, there).

This case is also America's trial. Public opinion swayed by clever PR should not be allowed to trump justice.

On her website, in that list of favourite books Knox reels off (before getting round to even alluding to Meredith's murder) she includes the fairy tales of Hans Christian Andersen.

Read into that what you will.

'SHE POINTED TOR FINGER AT AN INNOCENT MAN. NO PR CAN SUGAR COAT THAT'

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