A court in Cyprus ruled that the confession of a British man about his wife’s death was lawful and can be used as evidence against him.
After a plea agreement on the lesser charge, manslaughter, David Hunter, a retired coal miner from Northumberland aged 75, was not accepted, Hunter is now on trial for premeditated killing.
Janice, his wife, was 74 and died from asphyxiation at their retirement home in Paphos, near the coast resort of Paphos.
Hunter admitted to killing his wife, but his legal team argued that it was assisted suicide at her request.
His defense lawyers also stated that his confession should not be admissible as evidence during the trial.
They said he wasn’t given the right to a lawyer and that he had to keep silent when statements were made against him after he was taken into custody on suspicion of murdering his wife.
His lawyers had called a forensic psychiatrist before Hunter to testify. He stated that Hunter was experiencing dissociation at that time and that Hunter’s statements to medics should not be admissible against him.
However, on Tuesday, a Paphos District Court judge dismissed the defense’s request and ruled Hunter’s statement admissible at his trial.
Hunter was found to be lucid and aware at the time. This was evident by his taking pills and calling his brother after the alleged murder of his wife.
He also stated that he told police and his brother how he had smothered his wife to end her suffering, and then how he took a combination of pills to end himself.
Michael Polak of Justice Abroad, which represents Hunter, stated that the pensioner was “shocked” by the decision.
He said, “We called a psychiatrist to testify and his evidence was completely rejected by the court.”
“In relation to the right of a lawyer in Europe, European human rights law would require David, who is not a citizen of EU, to give an unambiguous waiver of his right.
Hunter’s lawyers stated that Hunter was acting in accordance with his wife’s wishes, who was said to be terminally ill from blood cancer.
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Late last year, prosecutors refused to accept Hunter’s claim his wife requested him to end his life without proof.
Andreas Hadjikyrou, the state prosecutor, told reporters that if they accept this, any other man who murders a woman in the future will be able to say “we had an agreement.”
Mr. Polak stated that the defense team will petition the Supreme Court of Cyprus to review the decision. This could result in the trial being halted before the next hearing, scheduled for 28 March.