Long-time visitor brought bullet with him

A man who has been coming to Cayman for 30 years had no conviction recorded against him after pleading guilty to importing a single round of .38 ammunition.

Chief Magistrate Nova Hall accepted the mitigation put forward on Monday by defense attorney John Furniss on behalf of the defendant, Don Sheldon Peterson, 69, of Springfield, Missouri.

Mr. Furniss noted that the defendant holds a valid license for carrying a concealed firearm and owns numerous firearms. He was not aware that the bullet was in his luggage, but accepted responsibility for it immediately.

Crown counsel Greg Walcolm said the bullet was detected when the defendant was departing Owen Roberts International Airport on Friday, Feb. 12. Airport security checked his hand luggage and found a .38 round in the lining.

Mr. Furniss pointed out that the luggage had been checked at the defendant’s home airport, but nothing had been detected. Mr. and Mrs. Peterson had spent nearly a month here and were on their way home when this incident occurred, he said. The defendant has been using firearms for the past 57 years, Mr. Furniss added, and had no previous convictions here or in the U.S. Serving as amicus (unpaid friend of the court), the attorney suggested that the magistrate might see fit to record no conviction so that the defendant could return to Cayman. Instead of a fine, the matter could be dealt with by way of costs.

He said the defendant had never wished to find himself in this position and apologized to the court. He had posted a bond of $1,000, which is the amount that has “tended to be the precedent sentence,” Mr. Furniss said.

The magistrate ordered that $1,000 costs be paid that day and said no conviction would be recorded.