Man with bullet in pouch has firearms licence at home
A man who had spent a week’s vacation in Cayman with wife and family ended up not returning home with them after he was stopped at the airport on Saturday, 11 August. Instead, Lakem Soohoo spent three nights in the George Town Police Station lock-up before being brought to Summary Court on Tuesday.
Crown Counsel Candia James told Chief Magistrate Nova Hall that a travel pouch carried by Soohoo was put through the scanner at the airport around 1.30pm when he was going to board a flight to New Jersey. One round of .38-calibre ammunition was seen.
When interviewed, Soohoo acknowledged that the bullet was his, but said he had not been aware of its presence in the pouch.
The magistrate put the charge to him – possession of an unlicensed firearm, namely one round of ammunition – and he pleaded guilty.
Defence attorney Lucy Organ told the court that Soohoo has a valid firearms licence in the United States. She handed up a copy of the licence, which his wife had faxed to Cayman after her arrival home.
Ms Organ said Soohoo used the pouch to travel and keep his money with him. When the officer at the airport showed him the bullet, his memory was jolted. He remembered that a friend had given the bullet to him several years ago to compare with other ammunition. He had put the bullet in the pouch, which has a front zipper, and then he forgot it was there. He gave this account to the officer at the airport.
If he had realised the bullet was in the pouch, he would have taken it out before travelling, Ms Organ said.
Soohoo had been granted bail by police, but he could not reach the required cash bond of $1,000. He had $450 with him in cash and a credit card, so he ended up spending three nights in custody until the matter came to court, the attorney reported.
Ms Organ said Soohoo, 53, had never been in trouble with the law. She asked for no conviction to be recorded but with costs imposed. If the court did not agree, she asked that the defendant be fined in an amount he could pay that day so that he could travel back to the US and be reunited with his family.
The magistrate said this offence in previous cases had been dealt with by way of a fine. She directed that a fine of $200 be paid from his money in police custody, with the balance returned to him.