Top News

Amanda Knox faces preliminary slander hearing

American university student Amanda Knox (R) leaves the court after she was found guilty at the end of the murder trial session Perugia December 5, 2009. REUTERS/Max Rossi

PERUGIA, Italy (Reuters) - Amanda Knox, the American student convicted of killing her British flatmate in Italy three years ago, returned to court on Friday to face judges who will decide if she should be tried for slandering police in the case.

Knox, whose original trial created a global media sensation, was sentenced to 26 years jail in December for her part in the murder of Meredith Kercher after what judges said was a frenzied sex game which spiralled out of control.

Knox was blocked from view by officials as she entered the court from a police van and the preliminary hearing lasted barely an hour before being adjourned until November 8.

Knox was charged with slandering police after accusing officers of beating her during the original investigation. Friday’s hearing into the slander charge was separate from the murder case itself, which is due to go to an appeal hearing on November 24.

But her lawyer Luciano Ghirga said it could have a potentially significant impact on the main case.

“For us the night in the police station is the real start of the trial,” Ghirga said. “It is also when the (media) character of Amanda was born,” he said.

“She has hardened herself, she has become more unhappy and less serene,” he said. “I hope we can help her to find her serenity back before Nov 24 and that she doesn’t lose her courage. This would not help us.”

Kercher’s partly unclothed body was found on November 2, 2007 locked in her blood-spattered bedroom in the house she shared with Knox and two other students in the university town of Perugia. It had a deep stab wound in the throat.

Knox’s ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito and another man, Rudy Goede were also convicted for their part in the murder.

Reporting by Antonio Denti, writing by James Mackenzie; Editing by Charles Dick