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Italy: Amanda Knox retrial judge apologises for controversial interview

last update: February 03, 17:03

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Florence, 3 Feb. (AKI) - An Italian judge who last week convicted US student Amanda Knox and her Italian ex-boyfriend of murdering Knox's British flatmate Meredith Kercher apologised Monday for an interview in which he which he commented publicly on the verdict.

Alessandro Nencini, the chief judge at Knox and her former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito's retrial for Kercher's murder gave an interview to several Italian dailies at the weekend about their sentences of 28 and a half years and 25 years respectively.

Among Nencini's comments were remarks stating that if Knox had gone to work on the evening of Kercher's killing, the murder would most probably never have happened.

But he seemed less convinced of Sollecito’s guilt and said the Italian could have helped his case if he had submitted to cross-examination. The computer science graduate had spoken to the court only in statements.

The interviews were controversial as Italian courts do not generally comment on cases before publishing their written reasoning for a verdict, which are issued up to three months afterwards.

Judges in Italy are banned from commenting publicly until after the final appeal to the Supreme Court, which in Knox’s case will not happen until next year.

Defence lawyers have interpreted the comments as evidence that the panel of judges and jurors was biased, claiming the judges would have acquitted Sollecito if he had incriminated Knox.

Last week's ruling by the Florence appeals court, which reversed Knox and Sollecito's 2011 acquittal, is expected to be appealed by the defendants.

The ruling has not been enforced, although Sollecito has been banned from leaving Italy. Knox, who lives in the United States, did not attend the trial and is expected to fight any extradition request.

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