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Amanda Knox awaits Italy top court ruling on Kercher verdict: latest

If the decision goes against Amanda Knox today, it will set up a potentially ticklish diplomatic situation for Britain if – as is being widely speculated in the press here – the US drags its feet over any Italian extradition request to return Ms Knox to Italy for trial. Philip Hammond, the Foreign Secretary, was in Washington today and was asked whether Britain would feel an obligation on behalf of the family of Meredith Kercher, the British victim in the case, to put pressure on the US to meet any extradition request expeditiously. Mr Hammond was clear that the UK would expect the US to behave properly over the request, in keeping with international law. “Sometimes the rules-based system delivers an outcome which you find inconvenient, and the test of our democracy and our commitment to the rule of law is that, when inconvenient things happen, we still comply with the rules. “The British government does this all the time. We get court judgments that we don’t like, but we don’t try to dismiss the court judges, we accept the court’s judgment. So we will always be arguing for compliance with the rule of law.” 16.12 As the judges deliberated behind closed doors, Patrick Lumumba, the Congolese-born bar owner who was falsely accused by Amanda Knox of murdering Miss Kercher, spoke to The Telegraph. Eight years on, I remain convinced that at the very least Amanda was there on the night of the murder and that she knows exactly what happened. She said that I, a black man, had sexual contact with Meredith. That was false, but three weeks later it emerged that another black man, Rudy Guede, had had sexual contact with poor Meredith. It suggests that Amanda knew what happened. I’m convinced that her conviction will be upheld. She ruined the lives of many people. She is the only one who has emerged the winner – she is rich, famous, she’s become a celebrity. My life was destroyed after being falsely accused. I lost my job, my business. It affected my health. Three years ago Mr Lumumba moved with his wife and two children to Cracow in Poland, where he works in the music industry. 16.05 There has been a great deal of discussion as to whether an upheld conviction for Miss Knox would result in her extradition to Italy from the United States, writes the Telegraph’s David Lawler: The US does have an extradition treaty with Italy, and Italian authorities may well call on the US to extradite Miss Knox should her conviction be upheld. But there is a snag – many legal experts believe that Miss Knox’s more recent trial should be treated as an instance of double-jeopardy, which would make her extradition illegal under the treaty, which states that “Extradition shall not be granted when the person sought has been convicted, acquitted or pardoned, or has served the sentence imposed, by the Requested Party for the same acts for which extradition is requested.” The US has refused to extradite individuals convicted in Italy before, but this would be

the first instance involving private citizen convicted of murder. 14.58 Raffaele Sollecito will not return to the supreme court in Rome to hear the judges’ decision. Instead, he is on his way to his home in Bari, in the southern region of Puglia, to await the verdict there, according to Corriere della Sera. He is travelling with his girlfriend and his father, Francesco, a doctor. 13.42 Mr Sollecito sat behind his lawyer in the ornate court room, looking pale and nervous, writes Nick Squires: Mr Sollecito faces 25 years in jail while prosecutors want to send Miss Knox to prison for 28 years. Miss Kercher, 21, was murdered in Nov 2007 in the hillside villa she shared with Miss Knox and two Italian women. Her throat had been slit and her body lay in a pool of her own blood. She had been in Perugia a matter of weeks, having embarked on a year’s study at the University for Foreigners. Miss Knox has said she has no intention of ever returning voluntarily to Italy, whatever the outcome of the court decision. She has been contributing articles to a local newspaper, the West Seattle Herald, and working in a book shop. Mr Sollecito still lives in Italy and last year graduated from the University of Verona with an advanced degree in information technology. 11.51 The closing statements have concluded and judges have retired to consider their verdict. 11.17 Raffaele Sollecito, left, flanked by his father Francesco, arrives at Italy’s highest court building, in Rome. 10.40 Nick Squires reports from Italy’s highest court in Rome: The boyfriend of Amanda Knox had no motive for murdering Meredith Kercher and no reliable DNA evidence links him to the crime, his lawyer told Italy’s supreme court today. Giulia Bongiorno gave an impassioned two-hour address in which she insisted that Raffaele Sollecito was innocent. Traces of his DNA on Kercher’s bra strap were inadmissible as evidence because of contamination and shoddy treatment of the crime scene. And there was no other DNA trace of Sollecito in the room where Kercher was stabbed to death. Nor did the presumed murder weapon, a kitchen knife, match the wounds on Kercher’s body, she said. Sollecito’s wrongful conviction was the result of a ‘tragic cascade of errors’ in the police investigation and subsequent trials, Ms Bongiorno told the panel of judges. She said Sollecito was ‘an innocent’, likening him to Forrest Gump. The bra clasp – a key piece of prosecution evidence – was only found by police after 46 days and had been kicked around the bedroom where the murder took place. ‘I call on you to throw out his conviction’, she told the judges in a frescoed courtroom with a gilt ceiling and marble pillars. 10.30 (All times GMT) On Friday, Italy’s highest court is due to decide whether to uphold the convictions of Amanda Knox and her Italian former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito for the murder of British student Meredith Kercher in 2007. Knox and Sollecito have already spent four years in jail for the murder, but were released on appeal before being reconvicted last year. A third person, Rudy Guede is currently serving a 16-year sentence for Kercher’s murder. The court will decide if the guilty verdicts of Knox and Sollecito will be upheld or if there will be yet another appeal. Sollecito is awaiting his verdict in Italy but Knox remains in her hometown Seattle, in the US. Amanda Knox, left, with her former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito in 2007

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