Defendant says he used that carry-on bag numerous times through different airports
An American citizen who lives in Cayman pleaded guilty Tuesday to possession of a firearm without a license. The firearm was one live .25 cartridge.
Crown counsel Marilyn Brandt said the defendant went to the airport on Monday for a flight to the U.S. He completed the check-in process and then went to the security clearing area where his hand luggage was examined. A bullet was found under the plastic lining of the hand luggage, she reported.
When interviewed, the defendant told officers the piece of luggage had been used regularly in the U.S. to carry firearms and ammunition. Ms. Brandt said he has worked in Cayman since September 2013, and is the holder of a firearm license and possesses a “concealed carry” permit in his home state.
“I did search that bag very thoroughly before I came,” the man said, explaining that he has been here one year on a two-year contract with government.
“This is my carry-on bag that I always use,” he told Magistrate Valdis Foldats. “That bag hasn’t had a firearm in it for over a year.”
He noted that it had pockets in the front, back and inside. He had used it on other trips from the Cayman Islands, going to various airports and passing through security on each occasion.
“That bullet has been there the whole time,” he asserted. “I had no idea. If I knew, I would have got rid of it.”
He added that he was aware of the penalties.
The magistrate suggested that the way forward for the defendant would be to put his gun in a special case when he gets back to the U.S., and then use that case for nothing else. Cayman has strict laws about firearms, he indicated, because guns and bullets can go missing and end up in the wrong hands.
In this case, he accepted what the defendant said. He decided to use his discretion not to record a conviction. However, he ordered the man to pay $1,000 in costs or serve 90 days.