Convicted student Amanda Knox is escorted by guards as she arrives for a hearing in her appeals trial at Perugia's courthouse yesterday

The appeal against a murder conviction by American student Amanda Knox resumed yesterday in Italy, with the court expected to issue a key decision on whether to allow a review of the case's evidence and new witnesses.

Defence lawyers are seeking an independent review of forensic evidence, including on contentious DNA evidence found on a knife allegedly used in the murder, and new witnesses.

Knox was convicted last year of sexually assaulting and murdering her British roommate, Meredith Kercher, and sentenced to 26 years in prison. Her co-defendant and ex-boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, was convicted of the same charges and sentenced to 25 years.

Knox (23), was hunched and pale as she was escorted into the courtroom. Her mother was in court and said she would stay to spend Christmas with her.

The hearing was held just two days after Italy's highest criminal court upheld the conviction and 16-year-prison sentence of the third person charged with the murder, Rudy Hermann Guede of the Ivory Coast.