Knox v. Italy (Application No. 76577/13) (Judgment in French, Italian and Romanian only)

The judgment is only available in French. Find the press release in English below.

Excerpt(s) from the press statement can be found below the document(s).

Art. 3: Effective investigation – Lack of an investigation into allegations of ill-treatment by the police during the questioning of a person in a state of shock: violation

The Court held in particular that Ms Knox had not had the benefit of an investigation capable of shedding light on the facts and any responsibility, further to her allegation that she had been ill-treated on 6 November 2007 at a time when she had been entirely under police control. In spite of her repeated complaints, no investigation into the alleged treatment had been forthcoming. the Court reiterated in this context that Article 3 of the Convention required in such a case that an official investigation be carried out in order to identify and punish anyone responsible.

Article 6-3-c:Defence through legal assistance – Use in evidence of a malicious accusation, made to the police by a person in a state of shock, without access to a lawyer:  a violation of Article 6 §§ 1 and 3 (c) (right to legal assistance)  restriction of Ms Knox’s access to a lawyer at the police interview

The Court further observed that at the hearing of 17 December 2007, Ms Knox had stated that she had been deprived of sleep until she incriminated D.L. and she had also complained about the limited choice of food offered to her during the period in question. Moreover, the extreme emotional shock that she had sustained during the police interviews had been mentioned in her statement and in that of the interpreter of 13 March 2009. Ms Knox had alleged, in particular, that she had been treated aggressively and with contempt, and that she had been slapped, subsequently repeating her allegations in identical terms at the hearings of 12 and 13 June 2009, then constantly complaining about those conditions in her ordinary appeal and her appeals on points of law.

the excessive duration of the police interviews, the vulnerability of Ms Knox and the psychological pressure she had sustained, thus hindering the spontaneity of her statements, together with her general state of oppression and stress. It concluded that the applicant had genuinely been subjected to a real degree of torment, placing her in an unbearable psychological situation

It also noted that R.I., a police officer, had hugged Ms Knox, had stroked her hair and had held her hands in his own, thus clearly behaving inappropriately, especially when considering that, in that context, she had made accusations subsequently characterised as malicious which had resulted in her conviction. In the Court’s view, the above-mentioned conduct, which shed light on the general conditions in which Ms Knox had been interviewed, should have alerted the national authorities to the possibility that her dignity and capacity for self-determination had been impaired.

The Court therefore found that the facts complained of by Ms Knox, which supported an arguable allegation that she had sustained degrading treatment, at a time when she was entirely under police control, had attained the minimum threshold of severity to engage Article 3 of the Convention.