Cruise ship passenger bailed on gun charges

A female cruise ship passenger was arrested on Sunday for possession of an unlicensed firearm and six rounds of ammunition after the items were discovered in a bag forwarded to the Cayman Islands by Delta Air Lines.

Carol Ann McNeill Skorupan, 67, appeared in Summary Court on Monday and was kept in custody until attorney James Stenning successfully applied for bail on her behalf on Tuesday afternoon.

Crown counsel Aaliyah McCarthy opposed bail, partly on the grounds that the American defendant had no ties to Cayman. Magistrate Valdis Foldats indicated, however, that this was not the usual case of possession in which a person actually has the item.

He asked how the .25 caliber pistol and bullets had arrived on island.

Mr. Stenning replied that they were “sent by another party.” He said he understood that Delta Air Lines had in their possession the bag with the gun in it. “She will say that never did she give instructions for the airline to send her luggage to Cayman,” he told the court.

His instructions were that Ms. McNeill Skorupan had traveled from Wisconsin, her home state, to Florida with three pieces of luggage. Two pieces arrived and she took them on the ship with her and made inquiries about the bag that did not arrive.

It appeared that airline personnel took it upon themselves to ship that bag to Grand Cayman without instructions from the defendant, knowing Ms. McNeill Skorupan’s ship – the Celebrity Silhouette – would be stopping here, Mr. Stenning said.

She was asked to go to the airport, which she did on Sunday.

Ms. McNeill Skorupan has a license to carry a concealed firearm in Wisconsin, her attorney pointed out. It allows her to go to other U.S. states with the firearm.

A summary of her interview with authorities indicated that she intended to keep the bag with a friend in Florida.

The magistrate commented, “If that’s true, transporting a gun in the U.S. has nothing to do with us.”

Mr. Stenning said being in custody had been challenging for his client. He asked the court for bail so that she could be “in the right environment” to review the documents she had received for the case, take advice from counsel “and consider things pragmatically, as well as legally.”

He cited a previous case in Summary Court and suggested that this one involved potentially exceptional circumstances. He did not say so, but the presence of “exceptional circumstances” would mean that a sentence would not require imprisonment.

The magistrate observed that the Crown did not have an overwhelming case and he did not think jail was necessary while the matter awaited disposal.

He granted bail with conditions that included a cash deposit of $10,000, surrender of travel documents and a curfew between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. He emphasized that Ms. McNeill Skorupan could not be released from custody until the deposit was paid and the court had confirmation of which hotel she would be staying at. Officers were asked to assist with phone calls and Ms. McNeill Skorupan’s use of credit cards to make her arrangements.

The matter was set for mention again on Monday, Feb. 11.