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Sentence for Hunter trial to be heard on Monday (Updated)

david hunter, paphos criminal court
David Hunter emerging from a previous court hearing after he heard the manslaughter verdict Photo: Christos Theodorides

A short hearing at Paphos criminal court on Thursday left little hint at the outcome of David Hunter’s sentencing.

After hearing the defence present their mitigation arguments, the judges at Paphos criminal court said they would hold off from making a decision until Monday.

“We have our fingers crossed,” Hunter’s lawyer Michael Polak said. His team are seeking a suspended sentence for Hunter, citing his old age as he is 76, the fact that he has no previous criminal record and that the motive for killing his wife was to end her suffering.

Hunter was found guilty of manslaughter last week, alleviating fears of a premeditated murder charge, that would have come with a life sentence.

Manslaughter allows for a life sentence in jail too. However, the state prosecutor previously said the facts of the case point to a different direction.

Reading out a summary of their mitigation seeking to lessen the sentencing, defence lawyer Ritsa Pekri said “there is no doubt that his charge is one of the most serious in the criminal code.”

“Nonetheless, it is our position that the characteristics of this case are very important. The motive behind carrying out this crime was to liberate his wife from all that she was going through due to her health conditions. It was her wish. He had only feelings of love for her. There was no personal benefit for him.”

Hunter suffocated his wife Janice Hunter to death in their Tremithousa home in December 2021. She was 74 at the time and suffered from MDS – a form of blood cancer.

He has always maintained that she begged him to kill her to end the suffering that came with her disease.

State prosecutor Andreas Hadjikyrou said the defence’s references to euthanasia in mitigation could not be accepted.

“This case is not one of euthanasia. Not by law, not by deontology. The ECHR gives a major margin of appreciation to member states on how they will regulate this matter and right to life is of primary importance.”

Pekri also referenced the contentious plea deal that defence and prosecution tried to reach but ultimately failed to in December last year, saying Hunter had been willing to admit to the charge of manslaughter all along.

Because the deal could not be reached, Hunter ended up serving over a year in jail, only to be found guilty of the same charge he had been willing to plead to.

“For reasons not known, the deal was taken off the table the day Hunter was ready to plead guilty to manslaughter,” Pekri said.

Hadjikyrou interjected at that point, stating that at the time, “the defence insisted there was a pact between Hunter and his wife.”

“Defence insisted we should accept this as a fact. We could not do this. The court did not adopt this either,” he said.

Earlier this week, both the prosecutor and defence spoke to the Cyprus Mail over the contentious deal, with both effectively calling each other liars over why the deal failed to go through.

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