Warning: Contains references to attempted suicide
A court has determined that a British man's confession about killing his terminally ill wife was obtained lawfully and can therefore be used against him in the case.
David Hunter's wife, Janice, died in December at the age of 74 while at the couple's retirement home in Paphos, Cyprus.
She was found to have died of asphyxiation, and following his arrest, Hunter confessed to killing his wife in statements given to police.
He is on trial for premeditated murder, but lawyers for the retired coal miner argued that he hadn't been given his right to a lawyer or to remain silent before his statements were taken, claiming they should therefore be inadmissible.
The team also argued that Janice's death came about as a result of assisted suicide at her own request after she was diagnosed with terminal blood cancer.
The defence's claims came after they had called on a forensic psychiatrist to give evidence in favour of Hunter, claiming he was suffering from dissociation at the time.
After the defence presented its application, the court determined that Hunter had been lucid and aware at the time of the killing, evident in the fact he took pills, allegedly in an attempt to end his own life, and had called his brother after Janice passed away.
The court also noted that Hunter gave a detailed recollection to both police and his brother about how he smothered his wife to end her suffering.
As a result of the findings, a judge at Paphos District Court ruled today (21 March) that Hunter's statement would be admissible in his trial.
Hunter is said to be 'shocked and dejected' over the decision, according to Michael Polak of Justice Abroad, the group representing the 75-year-old.
"We called a forensic psychiatrist to give evidence and his evidence was totally rejected by the court," Polak said.
"With regards to the right to a lawyer, European human rights law would require David to provide an unequivocal waiver of his right to a lawyer, and in this case there hasn't been one."
In the wake of the court's ruling, Polak announced that Hunter's defence team will apply to the Supreme Court of Cyprus for a judicial review of the decision.
Such an application could result in the delay of the trial ahead of the next scheduled hearing on 28 March.
Previous attempts to reduce Hunter's murder charge to manslaughter collapsed after prosecutors refused to accept Hunter's claims that Janice had asked him to end her life without proof.
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