Where justice fears to tread

2 mins read

Without fanfare or declaration, the Attorney General has decided that a British pensioner who killed his wife to end her suffering should still be behind bars and maybe die in prison.

A case that rumbled on for 17 months will continue attracting international headlines to Cyprus with its lopsided justice system.

Top state prosecutor George L Savvides hasn’t said why pursuing a case that most Cypriots believe should be laid to rest is in the public interest.

Again, as his persistence in hounding a British teenager coerced into changing her gang rape complaint, the Attorney General is appealing the sentence of the Paphos ‘mercy killing’.

Whatever side of the argument you are on regarding euthanasia – it seems only rich people can choose how they die while the rest of us must suffer intolerable pain – there was no public outcry following the court’s verdict.

So, the prosecution service has seen fit to clog up the appeal courts with this case when its track record on catching corrupt public officials and casino bankers is woeful.

Cyprus justice is slow and precarious at the best of times; now, it is partially blind, punitive and without a social conscience.

As a rule, the wealthy usually escape justice for their crimes, which is why nobody has gone down for destroying the Cyprus economy in 2013.

Nicosia Central Prison isn’t exactly overcrowded with white-collar criminals speaking in posh accents.

And the state prosecution hasn’t covered itself in glory in bringing those to justice who muddied the island’s reputation for selling Cyprus passports to criminals.

The establishment can do as it pleases, whistleblowers are not protected, and corruption has corroded our morals.

Therefore, in all its glory, the justice system is going after a 76-year-old retired miner who killed his wife after she begged him to end her suffering from blood cancer.

Nobody ever wants to be put in that position, and it takes courage either way to confront a loved one who is riddled with pain and has no quality of life, just a wish for it to end.

Doing what his wife asked was so traumatic for David Hunter that he tried to end his own life after suffocating his wife to death.

Life burden

It is something he has to live with, a burden that no court can lift.

He was put in an impossible situation of either obeying his wife’s wishes or having the love of his life resent him for not having the fortitude to end it on her terms.

Hunter was willing to plead guilty to manslaughter from the beginning, accepting that what he had done was wrong, but there were special circumstances.

But the Attorney General was having none of it – he wanted the pensioner to be convicted of premeditated murder, which carries a life sentence.

After a lengthy trial, the three-judge bench of the Paphos Criminal Court ruled there was no evidence that Hunter plotted to kill Janice with malicious intent.

The accused always maintained it was a spontaneous act.

He was cleared of the premeditated murder of Janice at their home near Paphos in December 2021 but convicted of manslaughter and released from jail for time served with good behaviour.

On deadline day, the state prosecution appealed against the leniency of the sentence, and the court dismissing the murder charge for the lesser offence of manslaughter.

It disagrees that Hunter should have been allowed to walk free and wants to send him back to prison, where he spent 19 months.

There is no closure for the Hunter family; David’s daughter has called for compassion for her elderly and frail father.

She hasn’t met the unrelenting justice system, which eats compassion for breakfast; just ask the British teenager it tried to crush for daring to report a rape.

This unnecessary prosecution for public mischief was quashed on appeal, with her conviction ruled a “miscarriage of justice”.

For now, Hunter must walk in the shadow of uncertainty where justice has no friends.

If it weren’t for injustice, there would be no justice at all.