British man pleads guilty to manslaughter over woman’s death


Defense lawyers for a British man on trial for causing his wife’s death in the Cypriot coastal town of Paphos said on Monday they hope the court will suspend any sentence it hands out to their client after he pleads guilty next week to manslaughter.

Briton David Hunter was charged with first-degree murder in the death of his wife Janice last year, although his lawyers had asked the Cyprus Attorney General to only charge the 75-year-old with assisted suicide to avoid serving time would serve time in prison – a request they said was denied.

Prosecutor Andreas Hadjikyrou said the court on Monday granted a stay until Dec. 13, when Hunter’s defense will also plead for mitigation. The court is expected to rule a few days later, and defense lawyers hope to do so before Christmas.

While manslaughter carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment, Hunter is unlikely to receive a long prison sentence, Hadjikyrou said, adding that the prosecution will have no objection to the Briton serving a prison sentence in the UK.

Michael Polak, a spokesperson for Justice Abroad, a group that defends Britons embroiled in legal troubles abroad, said there was no precedent for such “euthanasia, manslaughter-type cases” in Cyprus and that the court would look to similar cases. should look in other common law countries like Canada and India.

“And if the court follows their handling of euthanasia-type cases, a suspended sentence is a clear possibility and that is what we will ask the court to do,” Polak said after Monday’s hearing.

In Cyprus, any sentence can be suspended for up to three years in prison, Polak said.

Hunter’s wife Janice, 74, died in December 2021 at the couple’s retirement home in Paphos, which is home to many of the island’s up to 60,000 British expatriates. How she died has not yet been disclosed. Polak had said that Janice was on heavy drugs for a terminal blood cancer.

Hunter’s daughter, Lesley, said in British media that her mother had “begged him (to help her death) for a long time and was very clear about what she wanted.”

Hadjikyrou, the prosecutor, had said defense lawyers had turned down an earlier deal for Hunter to plead guilty to manslaughter and that there was no tangible evidence — such as a written note — that Hunter’s wife ever specifically had him asked to help her die.

According to Polak, Hunter was so distraught after his wife’s death that he attempted suicide.

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