Defence lawyers say a British man accused of killing his terminally ill wife was denied rights to a lawyer, an independent translation, and was not fit to be questioned.
The Paphos criminal court is now holding a trial within a trial to decide whether 75-year-old David Hunter was treated fairly while in police custody.
The voire dire challenge also concerns that no psychiatric examination was made of Hunter before he was interviewed, despite being vulnerable, including his age and mental condition after attempting to take his own life, said his lawyers.
Following the taking of the statement from Hunter by police, he was committed to a psychiatric hospital for 10 days.
The defence argues that he was in no fit state to be interviewed when he was and that this would have been the conclusion of a proper assessment had been carried out.
A paramedic who attended to Hunter was called to give evidence on Tuesday, and he was cross-examined. He confirmed that a psychiatrist should have seen Mr Hunter.
The final witness for the prosecution in the voire dire, a doctor, was not present, and the prosecution stated that he could not be present at any point this week because of healthcare shortages.
After the Judge threatened the issuance of a warrant, the prosecution spoke to the hospital and confirmed that the doctor would attend the next day.
The case was adjourned until Wednesday, when the final prosecution witness in the voire dire will give evidence, and then the defence evidence will be put before the court.
This case was delayed for the charge to be changed to manslaughter, but neither side could agree on the facts.
At Tuesday’s hearing, the court inquired whether the prosecution might consider such a change again but said that option is off the table.
In a written statement, lawyer Michael Polak of Justice Abroad argued that Hunter had his rights abused.
“In this case, once again, the authorities have taken a statement from a vulnerable foreign national without the presence of a lawyer.
“It is especially concerning here as that statement was taken whilst Mr Hunter was in a hospital bed, and immediately following the taking of that statement, he was committed to a psychiatric hospital.
“It is hard to see how Mr Hunter was in a fit state to be interviewed at the time that he was.
“Had a psychiatric assessment been carried out on Mr Hunter, as should happen in cases such as this, they would have found that he was unfit, and the interview should have been delayed until he was in a position to be interviewed and to properly understand his right to a lawyer and to remain silent, and the consequences of forgoing these rights.”
Hunter, 75, is facing a murder charge in the death of his wife, Janice, in December 2021.
His defence lawyers had asked the Attorney General to reduce the charges to assisted suicide.
Attorney General George Savvides had a change of heart, arguing that accepting the argument of assisted suicide could set a precedent for murder cases in the future.
His defence lawyers have been arguing that Hunter acted on his wife’s wishes, whom it says was ill with terminal blood cancer.
Hunter himself tried to take his own life after killing his wife.
David and Janice Hunter, teenage sweethearts, had lived together for over 50 years when, just before Christmas, the 75-year-old allegedly urged her husband to end what had become a life of extreme suffering due to advanced leukaemia.
Hunter said he finally succumbed to his wife’s wishes, using his hands to block her air passages and smother her to death in the sitting room of the couple’s rented maisonette in Tremithousa, Paphos.
He then attempted to take his own life by overdosing on prescription pills and alcohol before being found by police.
Source: The Financial Mirror