Court in Cyprus set to rule whether David Hunter confession obtained lawfully

A court in Cyprus is set to rule on whether the confession of a former Northumberland coal miner accused of murdering his terminally ill wife was obtained lawfully.

David Hunter, 75, remains on trial for premeditated murder after a plea deal on the lesser charge of manslaughter collapsed.

Hunter’s wife Janice, 74, died of asphyxiation in December 2021 at the couple’s retirement home in the coastal resort town of Paphos.

On Tuesday, a ruling is expected at Paphos District Court on whether Hunter was provided with his right to a lawyer or to remain silent before statements were taken from him when he was arrested on suspicion of killing his wife.

In February, the court heard legal submissions from Hunter’s defence team arguing he was suffering from dissociation, as claimed by a forensic psychiatrist in evidence, and that statements made to medical professionals were inadmissible against him.

The case was adjourned until March 21 for a decision as to whether the evidence is admissible or inadmissible within the trial.

The trial is set to continue on Tuesday after a judgment has been delivered.

Michael Polak, a spokesperson for Justice Abroad – a group that defends Britons facing legal troubles in foreign countries, said after the last hearing: “We were very pleased to have had expert forensic psychiatrist Dr Vivek Furtado give evidence in relation to the psychiatric state of Mr Hunter at the time when statements were taken from him.

“His evidence, which was clear and compelling, was that Mr Hunter would not have appreciated his rights and the consequence of their waiver at the time because of his psychiatric condition and that it was wrong for him to be interviewed before any psychiatric assessment had taken place.

“Further to this, the evidence is clear that Mr Hunter’s right to a lawyer, which is treated strictly by both the Cypriot Supreme Court and the European Court of Human Rights, was not respected as he never provide an unequivocal waiver of his right to a lawyer, as required by European human rights law.”