Tuesday, 4 October 2011

No room for doubt

It alarms me that people are so ready to make instant judgments on people in court cases when all they know about the case is whatever sensational bits and pieces the media choose to report.

For months every ill-informed Tom, Daphne and Hermione have been holding forth on the innocence or guilt of Amanda Knox, the American woman accused of murdering her roommate.

Either she's totally innocent, a crucified victim of the corrupt Italian legal system, or she's thoroughly guilty, an evil witch who's trying to wriggle out of well-deserved incarceration.

It doesn't matter if your grasp of the facts is woefully small. It doesn't matter if you've never met her and have no personal knowledge of what happened on that fateful day.

However ignorant you are, you're entitled to your knee-jerk reaction and your scornful dismissal of anyone who, heaven forbid, might keep an open mind on the subject.

Personally, I have no opinion on Amanda Knox's innocence or guilt. How could I possibly know the truth? Even the lawyers and the judges can't decide. Three years ago she was convicted, now she's been acquitted, but the case will trundle on to the Supreme Court for yet another decision.

But such uncertainty doesn't impress those whose minds are firmly made up on the basis of some mysterious personal insight, some sort of sixth sense that tells them what others aren't privileged to know. I just hope they never end up in the same position as Amanda, persecuted day in and day out by such self-righteous know-it-alls.

Pic: Amanda Knox

25 comments:

John Gray said...

an interesting post... one of many I suspect that may be around....

This case has been made famous by pretty faces.....


pretty faces of the deceased and pretty faces of the accused...

makes for great news and great television...
am I being cynical?

Nick said...

John - Yes, thoroughly cynical, but also true, I'm sure. The endlessly anguished face of a young woman who denies a gruesome murder. What more could the media want?

Suburbia said...

You are right, how can we ever know the truth?

Nick said...

Suburbia - What annoys me is how the media always treat a conviction as the ultimate truth, when at the end of the day it's just a legal judgment which might eventually prove to be totally wrong.

nursemyra said...

You're right, we'll probably never know.

Nick said...

Myra - We won't. The only people who know the truth are Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito. And maybe the real murderer.

Scarlet Blue said...

I think John is on the money. Pretty faces, sex and intrigue sell papers and are the stuff of hollywood blockbusters.
Sx

Princess said...

Isn't truth always the first victim?

Macy said...

And as usual the most strident views seem to be held by the least informed.

e said...

Have you ever sat on a jury? I have, and unfortunately, most people have to be reminded to be patient and think about how they would want a jury to think if their positions were reversed and they were on trial...The overarching concern was not getting all the facts or keeping an open mind but rather how quickly the matter could be resolved so that we could go home. Scary, innit?

secret agent woman said...

This happens all the time. And having done some jury duty, I know how badly the process can go. It's far too easy to assume you know the truth.

Nick said...

Scarlet - Indeed, we'll probably get the Amanda Knox movie in a year or two.

Princess - It often is where the media are concerned.

Macy - People become absolutely convinced they know the real story, when all they know is a few circumstantial details.

e - I've sat on a jury twice in London. Actually I was surprised how conscientious they were and how thoroughly they examined the evidence. But all juries are different, I guess.

Secret Agent - So your experience of a jury was negative as well. As you say, people assume they know the truth when all they know is a few media titbits.

Jenny Woolf said...

Human nature, I suppose. We all have opinions on countless things we know nothing about - or at least, I do, I am afraid. I wonder if Amanda Knox has inspired most comment amongst women or men. Would be interesting to know.

Nick said...

Jenny - That's a very interesting question. I suspect women, because of how she is seen to affect the image of women. Even if in reality she's speaking and behaving entirely as one individual woman.

Baino said...

I have a problem with publicised trials. I mean how can you possibly make a judgement even sitting there watching it unfold, so much 'evidence' is unadmissable or not discussed. And how does a jury remain unbiased in this electronic age. Then the press gets hold of it and it's a shit fight all round.

Wisewebwoman said...

Am I ever happy I missed this one, Knox who, when? Is it important I know this and why are the media feasting in judgement?
Oh right, it pimps stuff.
XO
WWW

Nick said...

Baino - True, how can a jury remain unbiased when there's so much prejudicial reporting in the media? Chances are you'll enter the courtroom with a preconceived view that's hard to shift.

www - Not important at all, she was accused of murder, just like thousands of other people. Except that in her case she's young and pretty so the media can't get enough of her.

Liz said...

I'm with you on this, nick. How can outsiders be so sure when they only have part of the story?

Nick said...

Liz - Exactly. All sorts of detailed evidence is presented in court which the public never hears about. We seldom get more than the edited highlights.

Roses said...

I'm so glad you posted on this and I am in total agreement with you.

No one knows what happened, only that a young woman is dead in a horrific manner.

Might be a miscarriage of justice, might be that she got away with murder.

One thing: it's been a helluva media circus and I do wish people would be more circumspect with their thinking.

Nick said...

Roses - People just don't put themselves in the other person's shoes. Suppose you or I were accused of murder or some other serious crime? How would we feel if thousands of people were publicly insisting on our innocence or guilt regardless of due legal process?

Grannymar said...

How can a jury be sure they are getting the straight truth or the circumstances issued in a way to suit the whichever side is holding court (pun intended) at the time?

Nick said...

Grannymar - They can never be certain of the truth. Whatever verdict they arrive at isn't dependent on the (often elusive) truth so much as which lawyer puts the most persuasive case.

blackwatertown said...

It was certainly a flawed case - flawed in how it was investigated and prosecuted. As to the verdict - who knows?
The sadness seemed submerged by the prurience and glamour.

Nick said...

Blackwater - Very flawed, in all sorts of ways. Prurience and glamour were certainly more evident than due legal process.