Cyprus trial of Briton accused of murdering his wife is delayed until September

16 June 2022, 12:54

Nicosia
David Hunter’s trial in Nicosia has been put back until September (Andrew Matthews/PA). Picture: PA

David Hunter, 74, is accused of killing his wife, Janice, who is said to have been suffering from blood cancer.

The trial of a British man charged with the premeditated murder of his sick wife in Cyprus’ coastal resort town of Paphos was pushed back until September on Thursday, with defence lawyers arguing that David Hunter should instead be charged with assisting a suicide.

State prosecutor Andreas Hadjikyrou said the postponement was the result of a court scheduling conflict and will resume on September 9.

Hunter, 74, will remain in custody until then.

Justice Abroad, a group that defends Britons embroiled in legal difficulties in foreign countries, says the case against Hunter, 74, is likely the first euthanasia case to be tried on the east Mediterranean island nation.

David Hunter court case
David Hunter is accused of murdering his wife Janice at their flat in Paphos (Lesley Cawthorne/PA)

It comes as lawmakers debate whether to decriminalise euthanasia, amid strong opposition from conservative circles, including the influential Orthodox Church.

Hunter’s wife Janice, 74, died in December 2021 at the couple’s retirement home in Paphos where many of the up to 60,000 British expatriates live.

Justice Abroad spokesman Michael Polak said Janice was on heavy medication for a type of blood cancer.

He said Cyprus’ attorney general George Savvides rejected a defence request to reduce the charge to assisted suicide, which would likely keep Hunter out of jail, without providing any reasoning for his decision.

“No one believes Mr Hunter should go to jail for this,” Polak told the Associated Press.

Speaking to the Daily Mirror newspaper, Hunter’s daughter Lesley said that her mother had “begged him for a long time (to assist her death) and was very clear about what she wanted”.

But prosecutors say there’s no tangible evidence, like a written note, to suggest that Hunter’s wife had ever asked him specifically to help her die.

Prosecutors also disputed that there was any medical diagnosis proving that Janice Hunter suffered from leukemia or “blood cancer”.

They also said defence lawyers turned down a deal to have Hunter plead guilty to a lesser charge of manslaughter that would have resulted in a prison sentence of only a few years.

Polak countered that the burden remains on prosecutors to demonstrate a motive as to why Hunter would want to murder his wife. The Briton had been so distraught after his wife’s death that he attempted suicide, according to Polak.

He said there was an “unofficial” offer to get Hunter to plead guilty to manslaughter, but there would be “no point” in putting a man of his age in prison, dismissing a suggestion by prosecutors that anything short of manslaughter charge would create a negative legal precedent.

By Press Association

Latest World News

See more Latest World News

Ukraine Russia Nuclear Plant Explainer

Zelensky accuses Russia of ‘nuclear blackmail’ after shelling at power plant

Rudy Giuliani speaking

Rudy Giuliani targeted in criminal probe of 2020 Georgia election

Trump FBI

US Justice Department opposes unsealing document for Mar-a-Lago warrant

Heathrow airport to extend flight passenger cap

Heathrow airport to extend flight passenger cap until end of October half term in bid to limit chaos

Soldiers’ equipment

Three Britons among five people on trial in separatist-controlled Ukraine

Latvia US

US defence secretary tests positive for Covid-19 for second time

R Kelly

R Kelly jury selection begins over trial-fixing allegations

Russia Navalny

Kremlin critic Navalny says he is in solitary confinement

Kenya Election

Kenya’s deputy president Ruto declared election winner

Ikea Shanghai

Shoppers rush the doors in Shanghai Ikea after flash Covid lockdown ordered

Russia Ukraine War

Russian shells slam into eastern Ukraine, killing three

Norway Bridge Collapse

Drivers rescued as bridge in Norway collapses

The propagandist posted images of himself at the HQ on Telegram

Ukraine blows up Russia's 'Wagner mercenary HQ' after street sign gives away location

Armenia Explosion

Death toll in Armenia fireworks depot blast reaches six

Afghanistan

Afghanistan marks one year since Taliban seizure as woes mount

Adele Milloz

World champion ski mountaineer Adele Milloz dies after fall while climbing in the Alps