Appeal begins in Cyprus against Northumberland miner's manslaughter sentence

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The case of a Northumberland man found guilty of the manslaughter of his wife in Cyprus has been back in court, as the country's attorney general appeals the verdict and sentence.

David Hunter was found guilty of manslaughter in July after he killed his wife Janice in their Paphos home December 2021. He was jailed for two years, but with time served, was released on the same day the sentence was passed.

At a hearing on Tuesday 24 October at Cyprus's Appeal court in Nicosia prosecutors were given two months to prepare legal arguments and Mr Hunter's defence team were told they will then have two months to respond. A date to decide on the appeal will then be made and is expected to be in April or May next year.

David and Janice Hunter Credit: Family handout

Michael Polak from Justice Abroad, the organisation representing Mr Hunter said they will fight the decision by the attorney general to stop him going back to prison.

Mr Polak said: " If they make a decision in line with what the prosecution is asking, and substitute murder for the manslaughter that David was found guilty of it would result in him spending the rest of his life in prison in Cyprus.

"It's obviously a very big thing for him, but we hope that it will go the right way and we'll do everything we can to make sure that he doesn't go back to prison."

Mr Polak added: "It was a bit of a shock when the attorney general made the decision to bring this appeal. We're not sure why that decision was made, given all the circumstances of the case. We're confident that we can put forward very strong arguments so we can say the trial court is the best court to consider all the evidence.

"The appeals court shouldn't overrule their decision because they spent days and days and days hearing the evidence in the case and they came to a very well-reasoned decision."

Mr Hunter who is a former miner retired to Cyprus with his wife Janice when the pits closed. Friends and former colleagues have been supporting the couple's daughter in raising money for legal fees through the crowd justice website.

David Hunter, Barry Kent and Steven Hankinson Credit: Barry Kent

Among them was Barry Kent who worked with Mr Hunter down the mines and travelled with another former colleague to see David Hunter in Paphos following his release.

He said "It was emotional and such a big thing to see Davey a free man. It was nice just to sit and chat as friends. He is in the village where his wife died and he is five minutes from the graveyard where his wife is buried and he visits her every day. He has decided that is his life and if the Cypriot authorities decide there is something else for him that will be."

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