The British pensioner accused of murdering his wife in Cyprus has been dealt a heavy blow after a judge ruled that statements he made without a lawyer can be used in his murder trial.
David Hunter, 75, gave several written accounts to police detailing how he strangled his terminally ill partner Janice, 74, after she ‘begged’ him to do it.
His defense team argued that they should be dropped because he was not fit when he was read his rights to a lawyer, suffering from ‘dissociation’.
They say he gave them in a 72 hour period where he had not been psychologically assessed and so could not understand that he could have a lawyer involved.
But judge Michalis Droushiotis told the Paphos court that he and his fellow judges had made a homogeneous decision to allow all statements.
Former Northumberland miner David Hunter, 75, (pictured arriving today at Paphos District Court, Cyprus) is on trial in Cyprus for first degree murder after a plea to the lesser charge of manslaughter failed
David Hunter, 75, (left) is charged with the murder of his wife of 46 years, Janice (right), at their home in Paphos, in December 2021. She was suffering from terminal cancer
Mr Droushiotis ruled that Mr Hunter was ‘lucid’, had ‘free will’ and ‘made statements with his consent’.
They said he could call his brother right after the murder and confess what he had done, proving he was “aware of his actions.”
They dismissed the defense case and also said that when Mr. Hunter was finally assessed psychologically, he did not deny killing his wife.
Michael Polak, of Justice Abroad, who represents the retired Northumberland miner and previously fought for the British woman falsely accused of fabricating rape charges in nearby Ayia Napa, denounced the decision.
He told the Mail: ‘David was shocked and depressed by this statement.
“We brought in a top forensic psychiatrist from Britain to testify, but his testimony was totally ignored by the court.
“We are shocked by this, but we are getting used to it, because during the Ayia Napa case, all foreign experts were rejected at the trial level.
“As far as his rights to a lawyer are concerned, before obtaining evidence from a suspect there must be an unequivocal reading of the right to a lawyer.”
Mr Hunter’s team is considering challenging the verdict in Europe as the prosecution continued with the murder trial.
Mr Hunter is still on trial for first degree murder after a plea deal failed on the lesser charge of manslaughter.
He was photographed in handcuffs on Tuesday upon arrival in court.
Mr Hunter’s wife, Janice, died of suffocation in December 2021 at the couple’s retirement home in the seaside town of Paphos.
A police vehicle outside Paphos District Court in Cyprus, where David Hunter is on trial for the murder of his terminally ill wife, Janice Hunter, in Cyprus
A ruling is expected on Tuesday at Paphos District Court on whether Hunter (pictured) was given his right to a lawyer or to remain silent before statements were taken from him when he was arrested on suspicion of murdering his wife.
In February, the court heard legal arguments from Mr Hunter’s defense team, which argued that he suffered from dissociation, as alleged by a forensic psychiatrist as evidence, and that statements made to medical professionals were inadmissible against him.
The case was adjourned until March 21 to decide whether or not the evidence is admissible at trial.
Mr Hunter signed five affidavits in the 72 hours following the murder, despite not being counseled or undergoing a physiological assessment.
His lawyers say the documents – written on his behalf by Cypriot detectives – should therefore be declared inadmissible.
Polak said after the final hearing: ‘We were very pleased that expert forensic psychiatrist Dr. Vivek Furtado gave testimony regarding Mr. Hunter’s psychiatric condition at the time statements were taken from him.
‘His evidence, which was clear and convincing, was that Mr. Hunter would not have appreciated his rights and the consequences of their waiver at the time because of his psychiatric condition and that it was wrong for him to be interviewed before a psychiatric evaluation had been made. place.
Moreover, the evidence is clear that Mr Hunter’s right to a lawyer, which is strictly dealt with by both the Cyprus Supreme Court and the European Court of Human Rights, was not respected as he never unequivocally waived his right on a lawyer. lawyer, as required by European human rights law.”
Mr Hunter has been on remand for over a year after being arrested and charged with the murder of his wife Janice, who suffered from terminal blood cancer, at their retirement home on the island.
Pictured: David Hunter (right) is seen with his wife Janice (center) and their daughter Lesley
Pictured: David Hunter (right) and his wife Janice on their wedding day
In December, lawyers representing him said they had been led to believe that a plea had been agreed and he would plead guilty to manslaughter on agreed facts – paving the way for a possible release on compassionate grounds.
But instead, the judge of a district court in Paphos, a resort town in Western Cyprus popular with Britons, decided to proceed with his case as a murder trial.
The couple from Northumberland retired to Paphos 20 years ago. When Janice died they had been married for 46 years and she was on heavy medication for the condition her sister had previously died from.
Speaking in September after a court case, Mr Hunter said Janice had been diagnosed with cancer in 2016 and after watching her sister die from the disease she “knew what was coming”.
He said, ‘She wasn’t just my wife, she was my best friend. It’s like a black hole.
“Janice’s sister had died of leukemia and she saw what was coming,” he said. He has spoken of how his wife “begged” him to take her life and spare her suffering.
It is known that after allegedly suffocating Janice, Mr. Hunter called his brother, William, in the UK to confess to killing his wife – before saying he would kill himself with a drug and alcohol overdose.
William alerted police who rushed to his daughter’s home in Norfolk and advised her to video call her father on December 18, 2021.
Mr Hunter has told police that there was a pact between him and his wife that meant he would commit suicide after her death. However, he was found after family members alerted the police and survived the alleged suicide attempt.
Footage released in January showed Lesley Hunter, the couple’s daughter, begging her father over the phone not to commit suicide.
Lesley Hunter (right) tells David Hunter, 75, ‘you can’t leave me’ from her home in Norwich, 4,000 miles from the British pensioner’s retirement villa in Cyprus (left)
Mr. Hunter is seen slumped in a chair and barely conscious as his daughter says, “Daddy, Daddy, just focus on me.” Dad, focus on me.
“Daddy, forget about everyone else. Forget everything else. Focus on me. “Not her. Not anyone else, just me and you, daddy, you love me, you know that. I’m your girl,” she is heard saying in the clip.
‘You have always loved me. I’m your girl. I’m your girl, daddy. I’m your little girl.’
The video was played in court by Mr Hunter’s defense team to show how the father was ‘in a state of shock and doesn’t understand what’s going on’ and should never have been forced to sign police statements.