Grand Court jurors heard and saw an interview on Tuesday given by a female cruise ship passenger who has pleaded not guilty to possession of an unlicensed firearm in Cayman on Feb. 3.

Carol Ann McNeill-Skorupan, 67, told officers after her arrest that she had joined the cruise with the encouragement of a best friend.

She said her passport had expired, but she had inquired and had been told that being on the cruise ship was “as if you’re still in Florida”.

Asked if she had told cruise personnel about her firearm, she said she had a licence in her home state of Wisconsin and that she was told it was as if she were living in Florida, and so did not need a permit for her to have the gun in Florida. She believed she was not required to declare a firearm because she was not travelling overseas.

She meant to leave the gun with friends in Naples, Florida, the court heard. The piece of luggage with the gun, however, did not arrive with her other luggage on the flight from Wisconsin, she told police.

If she had the gun in her cabin, it would have been in a safety deposit box and would not have left the ship, she said.

McNeill-Skorupan said she had the gun because she was travelling before and after the cruise to places that were not safe.

She denied having it because the places the ship would visit might not be safe. They would be safe because they were supervised by the cruise line, she argued.

She said she did not know the airline was going to ship her missing luggage to Grand Cayman and she didn’t know it was illegal. “Somebody” had made the decision to ship the bag here, but it wasn’t her. She thought it was probably the airline.

She described the situation as a “communication gap” between the airline and the cruise ship.

The defendant was not present for the trial and she is being tried in absentia. She was represented by attorney Keith Myers, instructed by James Stenning.

Crown counsel Greg Walcolm is conducting the prosecution’s case, assisted by Crown counsel Aaliyah McCarthy.

Justice Michael Wood told jurors on Tuesday he would give them directions on the meaning of ‘possession’ when he summed up the case for them later.

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