A tourist with a bullet in her bag stayed in Cayman three days and three nights longer than she had planned after being stopped at Owen Roberts International Airport.
“Keep coming to the Cayman Islands, but leave your firearms behind.”
Ultimately, the magistrate explained that if a visitor is a responsible, productive individual with no previous convictions, then the court can decide not to record a conviction and can discharge them absolutely. On that basis, he imposed a cost order of US$1,000 instead of a fine.
The woman had planned to return home to Texas on Saturday, Nov. 12, along with her husband and the couple’s friends. Instead, Magistrate Valdis Foldats was told, she was arrested after her handbag went through security screening and a live round of 9-millimeter ammunition was found.
Because Monday was the Remembrance Day holiday, no court was held until Tuesday.
On Tuesday afternoon, the defendant appeared in Summary Court and pleaded guilty to possession of an unlicensed firearm – ammunition being included in the definition of the word.
Crown counsel Greg Walcolm said the woman explained in her statement to authorities that a co-worker had given her two bullets because she knew they were the size the defendant used. The bullets were placed in a side pouch of her handbag. Her son used one and she forgot the other one was there.
After she was detained, the defendant’s friends boarded the flight to Houston, but her husband stayed with her. She was interviewed and granted bail with a $1,000 cash bond.
After her plea, the magistrate noted the unexpected consequences of having the illegal item. She had missed her flight, she had to spend extra days in Cayman, she was quite frightened by being stopped, interviewed and having to come to court.
“We get these cases more often than we should,” the magistrate commented. He said Cayman’s airport security personnel were very vigilant. “We catch so many that should be caught on the other end.”
The magistrate urged the defendant to be aware of laws in other countries when she traveled again. “We take a completely different view from your country regarding firearms,” he told her.
“Keep coming to the Cayman Islands, but leave your firearms behind,” he suggested. “Spread the word.”
“I’ll tell everyone,” the woman replied.