Godbrother appeals death sentence for murder of British teen

(L-R) On death row: Aaron Hing, Confessed killer: Staymon George, Murdered: Dominic Bernard

Aaron Hing called ‘Neutral’ who was sentenced to death for the murder of his godbrotherBritish teenager Dominic Bernard has filed an appeal arguing that he had an unfair trial. The 31-year-old who was convicted by a jury also argues that the sentence imposed on him is severe in all the circumstances. The mastermind in the teen’s killing has lodged his appeal at the Guyana Court of Appeal.

Hing’s friend, Staymon George, 29, called “Sherwin” who was also charged with the teen’s murder, pleaded guilty to the charge. He was sentenced to life imprisonment with the possibility of parole after 35 years. George, too, has filed an appeal.  Both Hing and George were sentenced by Justice Sandil Kissoon at the Berbice High Court.

In a Notice of Appeal filed at the Court of Appeal, George complains that his guilty plea was not “unequivocal”. He said that it was as a result of “pressure/inducement” from his then-lawyer Ravindra Mohabir. According to George, Justice Kissoon erred in accepting the guilty plea to murder. The Judge, he argued, should have accepted a guilty plea to the lesser count of manslaughter.

The two murderers are hoping that the appeal court will set aside their conviction and sentence on these grounds. It is unlikely that their appeal will be heard any time soon. They remain incarcerated.

Dominic Bernard had travelled from England to Guyana on October 14, 2015, to visit his godbrother. During the trial, it was revealed that Hing and his friend picked up the teen from the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) in a rented car.

However, Dominic’s father, Andrew Bernard was unable to make contact with him after he left the airport. Worried about his son, the older Bernard travelled to Guyana.

On January 8, 2016, Dominic Bernard’s badly decomposed body was found in a shallow grave at the backlands at Nurney, Corentyne, Berbice. DNA tests confirmed that the body was indeed his remains. The grave was dug days before he arrived here.

It was reported that the teen was bludgeoned to death hours after he arrived in Guyana.  During the trial, it was disclosed that Hing wanted to “get back at” Dominic Bernard whom he claimed got him arrested while he was in England. As such, he hatched a plan to rob the teenager of cash and other items he was travelling with. The British teen had travelled here to pursue his film-making career.

Dominic Bernard’s father and mother, Linda in separate victim impact statements, shared how their son’s passing has destroyed their lives. They divorced shortly after their son died.

The still-grieving parents who joined the court hearings from their home in England via Zoom, nevertheless, thanked the court for ensuring that their son’s killers were brought to justice.

Meanwhile, Justice Kissoon, in his sentencing, remarks said that no sentence imposed on Hing and George can dilute the pain and suffering Dominic Bernard’s brutal murder has caused his family.  “You are unfit to dwell among other human beings,” Justice Kissoon told Hing whom he sentenced to suffer death by a manner prescribed in law.