Woman found not guilty of importing firearm to Cayman Islands

A jury on Thursday returned a unanimous verdict of not guilty in the case of Chanel Faith-Ann Ebanks, charged with importing and possessing a firearm without a license.

Defense attorney Laurence Aiolfi represented Ms. Ebanks, who had pleaded not guilty, acknowledging that a disassembled .45 Witness Auto pistol was in luggage she brought back from Miami on May 20, 2013.

She told Customs officers and the court that she did not know the gun was in a toolbox she was bringing back for her fiancé.

Evidence submitted by Crown Counsel Candia James showed Ms. Ebanks’s DNA to be on one part of the gun. She admitted she had handled the gun during a previous visit, at the condo her fiancé shared with his father.

She explained that she was helping her fiancé bring his belongings back to Cayman. He asked her to take his toolbox to his mother’s house.

She said the bag with the toolbox in it was torn and when they got to the airport he decided to shrink wrap it. After officers found the gun, she gave them her fiancé’s contact information. He subsequently stopped taking her calls and, although he spoke with Cayman authorities, he did not give a formal statement, and he has not returned to the island.

Justice Seymour Panton told jurors that if they found that the defendant did not know the firearm was in her luggage, their verdict had to be not guilty. If they had any doubt, their verdict had to be not guilty. They could only find her guilty if they were sure she knew and took the decision to bring the gun.

After the verdict, Justice Panton told Ms Ebanks, “You are discharged and advised to be more careful in the future.”

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