Appeal against Ashington pensioner David Hunter's manslaughter sentence and prison release begins in Cyprus

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Appeal proceedings against the verdict and sentence of Ashington retiree David Hunter’s murder trial in Cyprus have formally begun.

The former miner, 76, was found not guilty of the premeditated murder of his wife, Janice Hunter, but guilty of the lesser charge of manslaughter on July 21, 2023.

He was handed a two-year prison sentence a week later, which led to his immediate release.

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Cypriot prosecutor’s appeal against his acquittal and sentence came before the Court of Appeal in Nicosia on Monday, October 24.

Janice and David Hunter, who had been together for 56 years. (Photo: family picture)Janice and David Hunter, who had been together for 56 years. (Photo: family picture)
Janice and David Hunter, who had been together for 56 years. (Photo: family picture)

Mr Hunter had admitted killing his wife at their home in the Cypriot village of Tremithousa, but maintained throughout that she had begged him to do so to end the suffering she was experiencing as a result of her blood cancer.

After Janice’s death he was discovered heavily sedated and spent two weeks in a coma, before being charged with murder once he came to.

The childhood sweethearts had been married for 56 years and retired to Cyprus together several years ago.

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Founder of Justice Abroad and leader of Mr Hunter’s legal team, Michael Polak, said: “After spending over 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.

“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.”

The defence team now has two months to respond to prosecutors’ arguments, at which point a date will be set for the appeal hearing, likely in April or May 2024.

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A fresh appeal for donations at has been launched to help fund the legal costs associated with fighting the appeal.

Mr Hunter’s case was unprecedented in Cyprus, and his legal team used sentencing case law from other common law jurisdictions, such as the UK, Australia, and Canada, when arguing he should be released.