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Amanda Knox and Malicious Accusation

Posted on 28th January 2019

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As reported here, by the Guardian, Amanda Knox is in the news again; this time because she has just been awarded damages (€18,400) by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) for failures by the Italian justice system.

What concerns me about the article is the issue (still not resolved) of her conviction for malicious accusation. This law, either in its very concept or in its application in the Amanda Knox case, seems inherently flawed.

Given that, in so many cases in so many different countries, investigators fail to properly look into alternative suspects, pointing the finger of blame at someone else is sometimes the only defence that the accused have. Indeed, in some cases the police actually ask the suspect "if you didn't do it, then who did?". In Italy, however, it seems to be against the law to suggest another suspect.

This issue seems to me to undermine people's basic human rights. It also calls into question the basic legal principle of conviction only when it is "beyond reasonable doubt".

Since most western nations already have legislation against slander and libel, I do not see any reason for there to be additional laws against malicious accusation.

I will be adding Italy to my growing list of countries in which to avoid getting arrested.