Lawyers say Briton who killed wife had rights abused

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Defence lawyers on Tuesday challenged a Paphos court ruling rejecting that a British man accused of killing his terminally ill wife was denied rights to a lawyer and was not fit to be questioned.

Lawyers claimed authorities had taken a statement from a vulnerable foreign national without the presence of a lawyer.

The Paphos criminal court dismissed the argument last week after holding a trial within a trial to decide whether 75-year-old David Hunter was treated fairly while in police custody.

Lawyers are appealing to the Supreme Court after the criminal court ruled against the defence application to exclude confession evidence based on Hunter’s right to a lawyer.

“This submission may allow the Supreme Court to determine whether the Paphos Assize Court has applied the law properly…they can order the decision to be reversed.

“It is the defence position that this is a breach of the European Directive on the Right to Access to a Lawyer, which provides that a waiver must be ‘given voluntarily and unequivocally’,” said a statement by UK-based Justice Abroad handling his case.

The criminal court ruled there was no unequivocal waiver of a right to a lawyer.

Hunter’s defence team on Tuesday requested the trial hearing be adjourned until the Supreme Court decision.

“The right to a lawyer is treated with particular strictness by the European Court of Human Rights and Court of Justice,” said lawyer Michael Polak of Justice Abroad.

“We will continue to take every step to achieve justice for David,” he added.

Following the taking of the statement from Hunter by police, he was committed to a psychiatric hospital for 10 days.

The defence argues that he was in no fit state to be interviewed when he was and that this would have been the conclusion of a proper assessment had one been carried out.

Hunter is facing a murder charge in the death of his wife, Janice, in December 2021.

His defence lawyers had asked the Attorney General to reduce the charges to assisted suicide which was denied.

They argued that Hunter acted on his wife’s wishes, whom it says was ill with terminal blood cancer.

Hunter himself tried to take his own life after killing his wife.

David and Janice Hunter, teenage sweethearts, had lived together for over 50 years when, just before Christmas, the 75-year-old allegedly urged her husband to end what had become a life of extreme suffering due to advanced leukaemia.