Firearms importation trial begins

Cassandra Bodden 26, appeared in
Grand Court on Monday, 22 March for the beginning of trial on charges of
importation of firearms and importation of ammunition.

She has pleaded not guilty to
importing firearms described as a .40 Smith and Wesson, a 9mm Ruger, .45 Glock
model 21 and a 9mm Arcus between 23 and 27 April.

Bodden has also entered a not
guilty plea with regard to allegedly importing 50 rounds of Winchester .38
special, 25 rounds of Remington Golden Sabre .45 and 347 rounds of Luger 9mm.

Presiding Justice       Cooke told the jury, “I am the judge of
the law. You are the judge of the facts. Do not be guided by sympathy or
anything else but rather consider all things.”

In her opening remarks, Crown
Counsel Tricia Hutchinson said a package was shipped to the Cayman Islands from
Miami with the defendant’s name on it, after which the accused was contacted
and told there was a package waiting on her.

She said Bodden then contacted
three police she knew and told them a package had come in her name and she was
concerned because she was not expecting anything.

Ms Hutchinson added that Bodden
told one of the officers she contacted that a toy was in the package. The Crown
Prosecutor cited this as an indication that the accused had knowledge of the
box’s purported content without being told and this showed a level of knowledge
that was consistent with being involved in the planning of the undertaking.

After being advised by all three of
the officers she contacted not to collect the package, Ms Hutchinson said
Bodden still went and paid the processing fee at Caytrans, before travelling to
Customs’ warehouse.

However, she said after the
defendant was told her package had been selected for a random inspection, she
did not return. The Crown Counsel said this was also an indication of knowledge
of what the package contained.

After Bodden did not return to
collect the package, a K-9 unit was used to alert officers to the contents of
the package, at which time the firearms and ammunition were found.

Bodden was subsequently arrested at
her place of work.

PC Brandoughn Phillips said he knew
the accused since high school.

He said he received a call from her
saying there was a package to pick up at Hobbies and Books and asking if he
could assist her in seeing the documents. He said Bodden said she did not order
anything and was not sure why the package was there. He told her to be careful
and that if she was unsure about the package, she should not sign or pay for
anything, as it would make her liable for the item.

PC Phillips said he met the accused
at Hobbies and Books and went downstairs to Caytrans, a courier service run by
the company.

After viewing the documents, the
officer said Bodden took the documents and said she might have recognised the
handwriting and said a name, which he did not recall.

He said Bodden went on to say it
must have been a joke because she needed a car and the person probably sent her
a toy car.

At this time the witness said he warned
the accused again that payment would make her liable for the item and to be

He said Bodden shrugged and
remained comedic as if relieved that she might know who sent the package.

Tamara Coulson, who works for
Caytrans, testified that she called Bodden to tell her of documents there on
her behalf. She said when Bodden came to the store; she was saying she didn’t
know where the package came from.

The witness said she told her if
she was not sure she could look at the documents, adding that Bodden said she
knew who wrote a Walmart invoice, which was among the documents.

Ms Coulson said she could not
recall the name.

During cross examination however,
Defence Attorney Benjamin Tonner asked Ms Coulson if she kept a record of the
content of her conversations with consignees to which she said, “no”.

He asked her if the documents from
Walmart had the word toy on it to which she said, “yes”.

The attorney put it to the witness
that she told Bodden about a toy from Walmart. He said that information would have
been on the documents in front of her when she spoke to his client.

However she denied doing so.

Testimony was also given by DC
Wanda Nixon and Sergeant Richard Laws of the RCIPS, both of whom testified
about receiving a call from the defendant saying she had been told of a package
arriving for her that she had no knowledge of.

The officers said they told Bodden
to not proceed with any collection.

The trial of Bodden will continue
through this week, with over 10 witnesses to testify.