Tourist carried ammunition to Cayman

Bullets passed through three airports

An American tourist who came to
Cayman for Thanksgiving had her stay extended after an airport security guard
found four live rounds of ammunition in her handbag.

Dara L. Lindsay, 30, pleaded guilty
in Summary Court on Wednesday to possession of four .357 cartridges without a
firearms licence.

After hearing the facts of the case
and mitigation, Magistrate Nova Hall said she had no basis on which to conclude
that the ammunition was purchased here or brought here for any wrong purpose.
There was no basis to conclude that the ammunition was here for any reason
other than a mistake. The magistrate noted there had been “a spate of trouble”
involving firearms in Cayman and the court takes a serious view of any breach
of the Firearms Law. She imposed a fine of $1,000.

Crown Counsel Candia James said
Lindsay was leaving the island on Sunday afternoon, 28 November, and was being
processed by airport security personnel. One of the guards operating the X-ray
machine became suspicious of items in Lindsay’s handbag. A search revealed four
live .357 cartridges.

Police were called and officers
asked if she had any knowledge of the items. Lindsay said she was a licensed firearm
holder in the US and had transported her firearm to her parents’ home for safekeeping
while she was gone. She said she had taken the ammunition out of the gun, put
it in her purse and then forgot she had it.

Defence Attorney John Furniss said
Lindsay had accepted full responsibility from the very beginning. When she
transported the gun to her parents, she did not want it loaded. Then, in the
rush of getting ready to travel, she forgot the cartridges in her bag.

He pointed out that the bag went
through security in the US. Lindsay had travelled from Springfield, Missouri,
and nothing was detected there. She then went through the airport in Atlanta,
but he was not sure whether any further check took place before she continued
to Cayman. “If she walked through any X-ray, nothing was detected,” Mr. Furniss
said.

Lindsay spent the American
Thanksgiving (25 November) here and was on her way back home, he emphasised.
Having the cartridges was a genuine mistake on her part and she apologised to
all concerned, he said.

Mr. Furniss handed up a report from
the Caymanian Compass of 6 July, 2006, about a tourist who mistakenly brought a
loaded handgun to Cayman when he and his wife came to celebrate their anniversary.
In that case, also, the gun was not detected until the couple was leaving the
Island. He was sentenced to the seven days he had spent in custody and fined
$3,000.

Mr. Furniss said Lindsay was not
kept in custody until her court date, but did spend time in a cell after her
arrest until she was interviewed and then bailed.

He added that she had first come to
Cayman on a cruise; she liked it so much she came back for Thanksgiving “and
would like to return again.”  

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12 COMMENTS

  1. Lucky for her she wasn’t a Caymanian with a forgotten half-smoked spliff of marijuana.

    They would have put her behind UNDER the jail!

    Ridiculous justice system in this country.

    By the way – how the heck does one travel undetected from Missouri, USA to Grand Cayman, Caribbean with live .357 bullets in a HANDBAG?!

    It appears the TSA is only feeling up people for the mere pleasure of it!

    Lastly, can she be reported to the NRA for this incident? Surely she cannot be trusted with arms if she is truly this absent minded.

    I wouldn’t leave my kids at her house, that’s for sure!

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  2. I’m sorry, but this is one of the most stupid things I have read recently about Cayman. Stupid on the part of the judge. Instead of getting your house in order and doing something real to stop the gun violence, you harrass and fine a ‘rich’ tourist. Once tax evasion enforcement is complete in the developed world, you will be forced to rely on people like this woman for your income. If I were her, I certainly would not come back. I have been coming for more than 15 years and every year I think it will be my last. Perhaps this one was.

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  3. @ RickSmith

    Say wha’?!

    I truly hope that I have misunderstood your post.

    Are you suggesting that upon discovery of ammunition in a traveler’s carry-on luggage we ought to simply let the person walk?!

    Hmmm, let me try that logic upon arrival to JFK or MIA under similar circumstances.

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  4. So what some peeps saying ?

    Because this forgetful visitor was an American tourist, the security guard should have just smiled, given her a big farewell, come again ‘tourist’ kiss and let her on her way ?

    And then do what with the confiscated bullets ?

    Throw them in the garbage ?

    Sometimes we take this ‘double standards’ for visitors to and residents of Cayman to unbelievable proportions !

    In some peoples eyes, it would seem that the only offense a visitor should be charged for in Cayman is outright murder !

    If this had been a Caymanian travelling to the USA and either Caymanian or US airport security had discovered bullets in their luggage, their jail sentence would have them coming out of jail when they’re old and grey.

    We can all be forgetful but live ammunition is another area of responsibility altogether; this is not about forgetfulness on her part, its about being a highly irresponsible firearms owner.

    A responsible owner would have kept those bullets in a seperate container and made sure that they were as safe as the gun was, instead of casually tossing them into a handbag that she knew she would be travelling with.

    And the Caymanian authorities were just supposed to turn a ‘blind eye’ and let her walk because she was a tourist ?

    The judge was entirely fair in assessing that she had made an honest mistake but mistakes of that nature can carry heavy consequences.

    She got away lightly, IMO.

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  5. If, indeed, this was a totally honest mistake, this alert security guard has saved the Cayman Islands one bagga trouble.

    If these bullets had been discovered in this woman’s handbag upon entry to the USA from the Cayman Islands, the repercussions could have been very grave, both for her and the authorities in Cayman.

    Transporting weapons across international borders on passenger flights now fall under Terrorism laws until they are proven to be different.

    What happened to this tourist in Cayman is a mere slap on the wrist compared to the investigation she would have faced, had US Border Control found those bullets in her handbag upon entering the USA.

    Can anyone really be sure that this was an ‘honest’ mistake or a test of Cayman’s security systems for international flights into the USA ?

    It strikes me as very strange that this woman was allowd through all check points on her flight to Cayman and these bullets were not discovered.

    The security guard deserves a public commendation for the job he’s done.

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  6. It is sad and worrying to see the Cayman authorities – and many commentators – applauding this vicious treatment of Ms Lindsay (and the previous tourist in the same situation), when there was clearly no criminal intent of any kind.

    Such laws and such attitudes belong in the dustbin of history, along with burning old ladies as witches.

    Perhaps more importantly, despite the strong attachment to strict gun control in Cayman, there is no actual evidence here, or in the UK, or anywhere in the world, that such controls generate social benefits. By contrast there is solid, consistent evidence of expense, misdirection of resources, inconvenience, vast numbers of prosecutions despite no evidence of anti-social intent and a strong correlation, particularly in the UK, that more stringent controls actually generate increased crime.

    It is a great shame that the Cayman authorities seem incapable of applying honest research and analysis to this subject, rather than relying on ignorance and fear.

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  7. Dear Mr. Bernard

    I have the greatest respect for your opinions and comments…

    Please, may I respond to your viewpoints, with the greatest of respect and courtesy..

    One quick question; had this been a Caymanian visitor/tourist to the USA who had been so careless, what do you think the results and consequences would have been or, the response of US Homeland Security (Immigaration Dept.)if you please, to searching that visitor’s handbag and finding 4 live rounds, at Miami International Airport ?

    What do you think the response would have been had Ms. Lindsay been aprehended at Miami Intl, instead of Owen Roberts Airport ?

    Surely, you travel internationally; would you have been so careless to not check your luggage when you are quite aware of the stringent checks being carried out on all international flights, ever since 911 ?

    Why do you think that the CI Postal Service is now required to scrutinise every piece of parcel mail now entering the USA from the CI before it arrives in the USA ?

    If these issues don’t affect your travel habits, then surely you’re not on the same page as 90% of the travelling publc.

    This matter is purely about the international terrorism laws that are in place now and that the Cayman Islands is very much subject to, whether you like or accept it or not.

    You seem very worried about the legal consequences to one careless, irrsponsible tourist to Cayman but…

    Are you aware that an entire country can be put on a ‘banned list’ of travellers to the USA from that country if its terrorism security measures are proven to not be up to standard ?

    If those bullets had been discovered on any carrier out of the Cayman Islands, your worries would now be of the publicity and sanctions that the US Immigration Dept. would have definitely brought to bear on the Cayman Islands…

    Along with whatever sentence M. Lindsey would certainly have received from a US judge on any number of weapons possession charges on an international flight.

    This is not meant as any ghoulish relish of Ms. Lindsay’s predicament, sentence or discomfort; she has my sympathy but sympathy is not recognised by the law when such serious offenses are committed.

    This is purely meant to ask you to see the bigger picture and understand why the Caymanian authorities could not simply overlook her mistake.

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  8. This is the reason why we question why don’t we appoint our own Caymanian Magistrates and Judges?

    Too many foreign Judges in a climate where there is heated arguments between x-pats and locals fighting for territory does not create a safe atmosphere for the Caymanian people especially with a foreign Attorney General with a hardened heart and a completely foreign Judiciary complimentary. Can the governor appoint some Caymanian judges so that Caymanians will stop going to prison for the least little thing while the x-pats are getting away please with only a slap on the wrist ? this is way too biased and we criticize our youths for not having employment. This is the answer!

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  9. Dear Mr Firery

    Thank you for your detailed comments.

    You have pointed out that many other jurisdictions would also harshly treat someone in Ms Lindsay’s position. You are right.

    But the fact that several jurisdictions pursue wasteful, counter-productive policies does not make those policies good ones; at best it makes them fashionable.

    Focussing on inanimate objects in security and in the criminal justice system is a very expensive and unjust way of creating an illusion of useful activity. And the resources that are consumed in generating that illusion, are not available for worthwhile work.

    Requiring evidence of mens rea, or the ‘guilty mind’, is a long-standing and immensely important Common Law principle that should be at the heart of any criminal
    justice system that is intended to produce social benefits rather than illusions.

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  10. Dear Mr. Bernard

    Thanks for your kind understanding of the purpose of my response to you.

    We all learn from respectful, intelligent debate.

    I completely agree with you on the wastefulness of some laws and their enforcement and its possible that much of this ‘terrorism’ focus is indeed wasteful but the point remains…

    Those are laws that are in place now and must be obeyed or the consequences paid.

    Had these ‘inanimate objects’ been any other items than 4 live rounds of ammunition, your point here would be entirely valid…

    But a simple question to you as a traveler.

    Would you have felt entirely safe and confident sitting on an airline seat next to Ms. Lindsay, knowing that she had 4 live rounds of ammunition in her hanbag that was right next to your feet ?

    Live bullets have been known to explode under pressurised conditions that exist within an airline cabin; their main ingredient is gunpowder, after all.

    Bullets are explosive devices, whether being fired from a gun or not.

    If you would, then that is your personal choice but the security laws are meant to protect the other 99%
    of those of us who wouldn’t.

    Thanks for your time.

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  11. Koodos to the sharp security person that discovered the potential threat, glad to see some really sharp on the ball employee who deserves credit for a great job.

    The number 1 priority here is that Cayman’s laws must be respected and vigilantly enforced regardless of intentions harmless or otherwise.

    Travellers to Cayman or anywhere on an airplane must be vigilant to ensure that they don’t violate the safety rights of all passengers travelling with them.

    Although I am not familiar with American policies I am sure that if the American security personel had not been sleeping on the job, there would have been serious intervention at the security checkpoint, denied boarding and charges laid subsequently.

    Ms. Lindsay is qualified to have a firearm license, she should have respected safe storage rules for firearms and ammunition, not thrown live ammunition into a purse and forgot about it.

    I think she got off light and obviously the other airports in question should be re-assessed for their part in this lack of security.

    I’m willing to bet she never does it again!

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  12. Dear Mr Firery

    You are mistaken. Cartridges of the sort owned by Ms Lindsay are not explosive devices and are incapable of igniting as a result of any pressure change that a human would survive.

    I would especially welcome being on the same plane as Ms. Lindsay if she not only had the cartridges with her, but a gun to fire them. That way a hijacker might find that he had taken on more than he bargained for.

    And please do not be alarmed by the nonsense that handgun fire will de-pressurise an aircraft. It won’t.

    Considerable heat is the only way of igniting cartridges without a powerful blow on the primer; and when that happens to a cartridge outside a barrel, the result is noisy, but not at all dangerous.

    What our hysterical anti-gun policies generate, both on the land and in the air, is a perverse Alice-in-Wonderland situation in which honest people are disarmed and criminals are armed. That is irrational.

    Not surprisingly, it produces very poor results.

    Equally unsurprisingly, when those policies are reversed and people generally are allowed to carry and use guns in self-defence, violent crime goes down.

    Fortunately for the human race, there are a lot more honest people than there are criminals.

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Comments are closed.