Saturday, 1 February 2014

Justice must be seen to be done, or society as a whole suffers.

Amanda Knox has been hitting the headlines of late for the murder of Meredith Kercher, since her conviction for murder was reinstated in an Italian court, after a retrial in which the evidence was closely reviewed.

Just like the most courts in the western world, this was a transparent, fair, and unbiased retrial, following a fair, balanced, unbiased and transparent trial and its resulting appeal.

The guilty verdict therefore, is fair and just.

The US, like most countries, refuses to extradite its citizens to other countries if there is a possibility that a death penalty might be imposed. That's quite reasonable, and very understandable.

In this case however, there is no chance of a death penalty being imposed whatsoever. Unlike the US court system, in EU countries, of which Italy is a member, there is no recourse to a death penalty - right or wrong, and there are many opinions on the topic, life imprisonment is the maximum penalty permissible in the EU.

Therefore, there is no reason that Knox should not be locked up in Italy. Yet, she's publicly refused to go back to that country. The only recourse to this cowardly behaviour is for a warrant for her extradition to be issued by the Italian courts.

If the US then fails to honour, or permit, that extradition, then punitive action should be taken throughout the EU: For instance, the UK-US extradition treaty, which many have said is unbalanced in favour of the US to the cost of British subjects, should be torn up, and the members of the EU should follow suit by tearing up their own extradition treaties with the US.

Yes, this will cause one hell of a diplomatic ruckus, but the point MUST be emphasised with a hell of a lot more than politely worded letters of complaint, which invariably have little or no effect. Instead, as the US tends to understand grand gestures, since it tends to make them a lot, a set of EU-wide grand gestures with some actual meaning and effect and teeth, which tearing up these treaties would have, should be ready in the wings, should Knox fail to be extradited to face her sentence.

In the final analysis, it must never be forgotten that an innocent British subject, Meredith Kercher, was murdered, and that the Italian courts have found Knox guilty of that horrendous crime. Justice MUST be seen to be done, or society as a whole suffers. Knox has had her trial, her appeal, and her retrial (this last in absentia). As a now convicted murderess, she must now face the consequences of her actions - her sentence.

There can be no alternative.

Footnote: This will be hardly a surprise to anyone, but according to reports in the media, apparently she's planning to appeal this fresh affirmation of her conviction. It remains to be seen if this will succeed or fail.

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