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Legal Vocabulary: Amanda Knox acquited for Meredith's murder

The difficult legal vocabulary in bold is explained in a glossary after the article Legal Vocabulary: Amanda Knox acquited for Meredith's murder Meredith Kercher, a 21-year-old British student was sexually assaulted and brutally murdered in her own bedroom in the little Italian university town of Perugia in 2007. In a procedure that put the Italian judicial system under the spotlight, the fact that there was a homicide victim was almost overlooked in extraordinarily tense courtroom scenes that focused on Amanda Knox. The American student, who was Meredith’s housemate and 20 at the time of the killing, was hoping to overturn her 26-year sentence, along with her then boyfriend Rafaelle Sollecito, for Miss Kercher’s murder. Earlier in the day’s proceedings, Knox gave an emotional speech to the jury claiming that she was completely innocent. After eleven hours of deliberation, judges upheld her appeal and she was acquitted along with the other defendant, Sollecito. However, the jury also came to the verdict that Amanda Knox had committed defamation and slander against the Italian Police (who she claimed had hit her during her interrogation) and her ex-boss, a local bar owner, who she had accused of the crime. She was ordered to serve 3 years in jail and pay €20,000 damages to Lumumba, the bar owner. As she had already served 4 years in jail, she was free to leave. After being hugged by her defence counsel, Knox, sobbing and stumbling, was hustled quickly from the courtroom, as the lead prosecutor commiserated with the Kercher family. At the original trial, The Italian Supreme Court ruled that Meredith was killed by a group of assailants, but now there is only one person in prison for the killing, Rudy Guede. He was found guilty of the crime and is currently serving 16 years after opting for a fast-track trial, and thereby a reduced sentence, in 2008. From the beginning, this case has received massive global media attention due to “Foxy Knoxy’s” beauty, personality and odd behaviour in the days after the murder. Additionally, the ever-changing testimony, contrasting statements, unsubstantiated alibis, unreliable DNA evidence undermining the prosecution, questionable motive and supercharged emotions have given the media endless reasons to run this story. However, after all is said and done, there are no winners in this case as the Kercher family members are still stoically waiting for the truth to emerge about what happened on that night to their beloved daughter, Meredith. (This is another example of a story that you can read in your own language and then from English media for a free English lesson.)  

LEGAL VOCABULARY

Assaulted
physically attacked
Murdered
unlawful killing of a human by sb else
Homicide
same as murder
Victim
a person harmed, injured or killed as a result of a crime or accident
Courtroom
the place in which a court of law meets
Overturn
to reverse a legal decision
Sentence
the punishment given to sb found guilty of a crime
Innocent
not guilty of a crime
Deliberation
long and careful consideration and discussion
Judge
a public official who decides on cases in a court of law
To uphold a decision
to confirm
Appeal
an application to a higher court to reverse the decision of a lower court
To acquit sb
to free sb from a criminal charge by a verdict of not guilty
Defendant
sb accused in a court of law
Verdict
a decision from a criminal case
Defamation
the act of damaging sb’s good reputation
Slander
the crime of making a false spoken statement damaging sb’s reputation
Interrogation
being questioned by police for a long time
To accuse
charge sb with an offense
To order to serve
to say sb must go to prison for a specific time
Damages
money awarded as compensation for loss or injury
Defence
the case presented on behalf of sb being accused in a lawsuit
Counsel
lawyers conducting a case
Prosecutor
a lawyer who conducts the case against a defendant in a criminal court
Trial
a formal examination of evidence by a judge in order to decide guilt in a case
To rule
to say authoritatively and legally what the truth is
Assailant
sb who physically attacks another
Fast-track trial
court case that gives more rapid results than usual
Case
legal proceedings from a court of law
Testimony
a statement (sometimes by a witness) given in a court of law
Statement
sb formally saying what happened in a court of law
Alibi
a claim that sb was somewhere else when a crime took place
DNA
the material in all living things which carries genetic information
Evidence
the information given to establish facts in a court case
To undermine
to damage or weaken sth
Motive
a reason for doing something
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