The final stages of Amanda Knox's appeal against her murder conviction began with the prosecution calling for new evidence to be admitted that would back the original verdict - and ensure the American student spends 26 years behind bars for the gruesome killing of her British flatmate Meredith Kercher.
Both Knox, 24 and her Italian ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, 27, were in the Perugia courtroom to hear prosecutors defend their conviction for the November 2007 murder, in which it is claimed Kercher's throat was slashed after she refused to take part in a sex game.
Before the northern summer break, Knox and Sollecito, who deny any guilt, won a review of vital evidence, including disputed traces of DNA found on a knife that prosecutors say was used in the murder, and on the clasp of Kercher's bra.
The expert witnesses employed for the review, Dr Carla Vecchiotti and Stefano Conti from La Sapienza University in Rome, testified the tiny quantity of DNA available was not sufficient for reliable analysis. They also said there was no trace of blood on the knife identified as the murder weapon.
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But in the hearing, prosecutor Manuela Comodi claimed some of the original findings had not yet been presented to the court. And she called on these checks on the validity of the DNA tests to be allowed as evidence to back the conviction. This request was contested by the defence, who claimed it had been made too late. The judge, Claudio Pratillo Hellman, will decide whether it can be admitted.
During cross-examination however, Vecchiotti insisted her review had revealed serious failings in the original forensic evidence. She said investigators had "evaluated a quantity of DNA that no one in the world would try to analyse".
And the Kercher family lawyer, Francesco Maresca, questioned the new defence evidence in relation to the original analysis of Kercher's bra clasp said to contain Sollecito's DNA. Vecchiotti replied that it contained too many different traces to be reliable, noting that apart from the victim's DNA and that of Sollecito, she had found small traces of at least 16 other people; including herself - presumably as a result of contamination. "Anyone's DNA could be on there," she said tersely.
Sollecito's lawyer Giulia Bongiorno said later: "I believe that today's audience has definitely shown us that DNA evidence can only be considered incontrovertible if certain conditions have been adhered to."
The appeal verdict is expected at the end of this month, or in early October.
A third person, Rudy Hermann Guede, has also been convicted for his part in the murder, following a separate, fast-track proceeding and appeal.