Visitor fined for gun and bullets

Magistrate accepts reasons not to record conviction

  A repeat visitor to Cayman was fined $2,000 last week after pleading guilty to possession of an unlicensed firearm and four rounds of ammunition. 

The gun was a small .22 Derringer revolver and the bullets were .22 caliber.  

Magistrate Grace Donalds was shown photographs of the items and a black suitcase in which they were discovered. 

Crown counsel Candia James told the court that the defendant, an American citizen, and his wife were leaving the island on Saturday, March 28, after vacationing here. The suitcase was checked in and the couple proceeded to the departure lounge at Owen Roberts International Airport. The defendant was subsequently called to the Customs search room after a suspicious object was detected in the baggage by X-ray. 

The man immediately admitted that the gun was his and he had forgotten it was in the suitcase. 

Defense attorney John Furniss explained that the man has been the holder of a concealed handgun permit in the U.S. for 15 years and his occupation required him to travel frequently. 

He noted that the gun was in the suitcase when the couple checked it at the airport in Charlotte, North Carolina, on their way to Cayman and the suitcase passed through. Mr. Furniss called it surprising that once again a firearm was detected at the airport here rather than in the U.S. 

He said the defendant’s forgetfulness had cost him the inconvenience and expense of having to remain in Cayman an extra four days until he was brought to court. 

Mr. Furniss said his client apologized for his mistake and thanked the customs officials for the very fair and proper way they had dealt with him. 

The magistrate accepted that there were exceptional circumstances and did not record a conviction. She noted that the defendant at age 53 was a man of good character; he had a valid permit in the U.S.; the gun and ammunition were brought into this jurisdiction inadvertently and the defendant apparently did not have any criminal intent. Finally, he had pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity. 

She fined him $1,000 for possession of the gun and $1,000 for the ammunition, ordering that all items be forfeited to the Crown.