Hearing for Briton accused of killing wife pushed to Dec. 20

PAPHOS, Cyprus (AP) — A court hearing in Cyprus for a British man accused of killing his wife has been adjourned until next week following a prosecution request, his defense team said Tuesday.

David Hunter, 75, had faced a murder charge in last year’s death of his wife, Janice, although his defense lawyers had asked Cyprus’ attorney-general to reduce the charges to assisted suicide and have changed his plea to manslaughter. His defense has argued that Hunter was acting on the wishes of his wife, who it says was ill with terminal blood cancer.

A hearing had been set in the southeastern coastal town of Paphos for Tuesday, after being adjourned on Dec. 5. But the case was adjourned again, with a new date set for Dec. 20, said Michael Polak of Justice Abroad, a group that defends Britons facing legal difficulties in foreign countries that has been handling Hunter’s case.

“We really hope the case will go ahead then,” Polak said after the adjournment. “We changed the plea to manslaughter and the court can consider their sentences in regard to David. We thought that was all going to happen today, but we’re really hoping that this will happen next week.”

The delay was granted so the prosecution could discuss the case with Cyprus’ attorney general, Polak said.

Hunter’s wife, 74, died in December 2021 at the couple’s retirement home in Paphos, where many of the island’s up to 60,000 British expatriates live. The details of how she died have not been made public.

Polak had said Janice was on heavy medication for a type of terminal blood cancer. British media had quoted Hunter’s daughter, Lesley, as saying that her mother had “begged him for a long time (to assist her death) and was very clear about what she wanted.”

Although manslaughter carries a maximum life sentence in Cyprus, it is unlikely Hunter will receive a long prison term, State Prosecutor Andreas Hadjikyrou said last week. He had added that the prosecution wouldn’t object to the Briton serving out any prison sentence in the U.K.

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