Appeal case begins over Briton convicted of wife’s manslaughter in Cyprus

David Hunter (Victoria Jones/PA)
David Hunter (Victoria Jones/PA) David Hunter (Victoria Jones/PA)

A prosecution appeal case has begun in Cyprus against the verdict and sentence of a retired British miner who was freed from prison after killing his seriously ill wife.

British expat David Hunter was released from custody on July 31 after a court sentenced him to two years in jail for the manslaughter of Janice, his wife of 52 years.

The 76-year-old walked free within 15 minutes of being sentenced at Paphos District Court due to time already served and good behaviour.

David Hunter court case – Cyprus
David Hunter court case – Cyprus David Hunter outside Paphos District Court in July (Victoria Jones/PA)

He spent 19 months in prison before being found guilty of manslaughter, but cleared of the more serious charge of premeditated murder.

On Tuesday the prosecution appeal against Mr Hunter’s acquittal for murder and his sentence for manslaughter came before the Court of Appeal in Nicosia.

Michael Polak, director of Justice Abroad, which is representing Mr Hunter, said the court ordered that the prosecution file its arguments within two months and the defence respond within two months of that.

At that point, the date will be set for the appeal hearing which is likely to take place in April or May.

Mr Polak said: “After spending more than 19 months on trial and in custody in Nicosia prison, when the Assize Court of Paphos finally found David Hunter not guilty of murder in July and sentenced him for manslaughter resulting in his immediate release, we thought that the legal proceedings were over for him.

David Hunter court case
David Hunter court case David Hunter with his wife Janice (Family handout/PA)

“For anyone, but especially someone of David’s age, it is obviously very stressful to have the possibility of being sent back to prison for life hanging over their head.

“Although we are disappointed with the decision to pursue David further, we will continue to fight for David, and we thank everyone from Cyprus, the United Kingdom, and around the world who have been supporting him so strongly.”

Mr Hunter, from Ashington, Northumberland, told his trial that he suffocated Mrs Hunter after she “begged” him to as she was suffering from a rare form of blood cancer.

A three-judge panel accepted the defence case that he had spontaneously acted “out of love” for his wife.