Court of Appeal sets aside rape conviction of cameraman, orders retrial

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Appeal Court Judges Roxane George-Wiltshire (Chief Justice), Dawn Gregory and Rishi Persaud on Wednesday ordered a retrial into the case of former TVG cameraman Andre Hetsberger, who was in 2016 found guilty and sentenced to 25-years imprisonment for the rape of a 13-year-old girl.

The judges set aside the conviction but Hetsberger remains behind bars until his lawyer makes an application for bail at the High Court.

He was found guilty by a 12-member jury and sentenced by Justice Navindra Singh in 2016.

According to reports, Hetsberger was charged and convicted of having sexually penetrated the child on October 17, 2014.

The judges ordered that the matter be sent back to the High Court for retrial at the next practical sitting of the Demerara Assizes on the grounds that the trial judge allowed prejudicial evidence during the trial.

Hetsberger’s attorney, Dexter Todd, filed an appeal on the grounds that the jury was prejudiced towards Hetsberger by returning with a guilty verdict without having any evidence that he committed the act.

Additionally, the attorney argued that there might have been a misunderstanding of section 69 of the Sexual Offences Act, since the jury’s verdict was solely based on what the victim claimed, with the absence of evidence to attest.

When he was handed the sentence, Hetsberger knelt in the prisoner’s box with outstretched arms and said, “Why me Lord, not me Lord,” as he cried loudly.

He has maintained that he is innocent of the crime.

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