David Dean Meadors, charged last year with possessing unlicensed firearms in Cayman Brac, failed to attend Grand Court on Wednesday. Justice Marlene Carter issued a warrant for his arrest.
Defense attorney Ben Tonner told the court, “I don’t know where he is. I suspect he is in America.” Mr. Tonner noted that the court previously had been asked to extend his bail on medical grounds.
Court orders made public indicate that Mr. Meadors, 52, appeared at a case management hearing via video link on April 19. He was to return to Cayman on Friday, April 27, return his passport to the court on Monday, April 30, and appear in court on May 9.
When the court office did not receive the passport, inquiries were made. Confirmation was received from the Immigration Department that Mr. Meadors had not returned.
The defendant first appeared in court last July, after customs officers in Cayman Brac found 240 rounds of nine-millimeter ammunition in a shipping container at the site where Mr. Meadors, an American citizen, was building a retirement home. A search of the residence where he was staying revealed a Glock nine-millimeter handgun, a Smith & Wesson BB gun and BBs.
Mr. Meadors was initially granted bail with a charge on his Brac property and three Caymanians signing as sureties for a total sum of $23,000, plus a cash deposit of $5,000.
In September, Mr. Tonner applied for a bail variation to allow Mr. Meadors to travel to Florida ahead of Hurricane Irma so that he could secure his property and assist his family. Justice Carter increased the charge on his Brac property from $200,000 to $400,000 and allowed him to leave this jurisdiction for a specified period.
Before leaving, he was required to enter pleas to the charges against him. He pleaded guilty to importing and possessing the Glock handgun without the proper licenses. He pleaded not guilty to the other charges.
Mr. Meadors returned to Cayman and appeared in Grand Court on Oct. 13. On that date, his trial was set for April 9, but it subsequently did not proceed on that date.
On Wednesday, Justice Carter summarized the present situation. She said Mr. Meadors had made an application to the court on medical grounds. There was information that he could not travel. The Crown and the court felt he should be given time.
Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions Patrick Moran added that Mr. Meadors had subsequently failed to provide the medical papers requested by the court.
He pointed out that Mr. Meadors was already subject to a seven-year sentence for the firearm to which he had pleaded guilty, unless a court found exceptional circumstances.
Mr. Moran noted that Mr. Meadors might still come back, or that there were measures that could be taken to bring him back. He asked for a trial date in November and a warrant for Mr. Meadors’ arrest.
Justice Carter said she would agree to issuing the warrant. She set the trial for Nov. 19.
Mr. Moran suggested that the court deal at that stage with the financial securities and the people who had stood surety.