Toy gun leads to arrest in West Bay

| 13/07/2010

(CNS): Police have said that a 27-year-old man was arrested following an incident in West Bay yesterday,Monday 12 July. At about 11.30 in the morning police were informed that a man was sitting under a tree in the vicinity of the Caribbean Bakery, in Mount Pleasant Road, West Bay holding a gun. Officers responded and found that the man was in possession of an imitation firearm. Police said the man had purchased the gun locally and are now asking shop owners to think about selling toy guns that look so real. West Bay area commander said that officers would be speaking with local sellers about the imitation weapons. (Photo Dennie Warren Jr)

The man in question was arrested for possession of an imitation firearm and has since been released on police bail. 

However, PC Ian Charlery of West Bay police station explained how the toy gun had been purchased from a local store for just a few dollars. “To the naked eye it looked like the real thing. The members of the public who reported this to us yesterday believed it was a real gun and I’m sure that anyone faced with it during the commission of a robbery would also believe it to be real,” he said.

“There are many stores throughout the islands where these types of toys can be purchased. I would urge store owners to think about what they are selling – while it may not be illegal to sell toy guns we should all be aware that they are so life-like they could be used for criminal purposes.”

West Bay Area Commander Acting Chief Inspector Frank Owens said that his officers would be paying a call to people selling the toy guns, although not illegal he question if it was responsible.

“My Neighbourhood officers will be visiting stores in the district where these toys are sold to raise awareness of how these imitation guns could be used for criminality. In this day and age is it responsible to sell these types of toys? That’s a question we’ll be discussing with the shop owners,” he stated.

Anyone who was in the area yesterday and has any information regarding the crime is asked to call West Bay police station on 949-3999, or the confidential Crime Stoppers tip-line 800-8477

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  1. Anonymous says:

    If you were sitting under a tree in possession of a "imitation firearm" (toy gun) that you had purchased; or it was given to you and it had no connection or bearing with any offence previously, you did not threaten or branished it at anyone or did not have it with intent to committ an indictable offence (no mens rea), then "no offence" has been committed under any law of the Cayman Islands.

    If the police arrested anyone under these circumstances as stated above, then it’s an unlawful arrest as Dennie Warren indicated and the Commissioner of Police and the Attorney General is subject to a civil lawsuit, for unlawful arrest and confinement of this individual even for a short period of time. Put plain and simple, this individual liberty has been restrained or taken away from him which is unlawful. (under the above circumstances)

    If I was the duty Inspector or Station Sergeant and one of my subordinates came came into the police station with an arrested prisoner, it is then my duty and responsibility to enquire into this arrest as per the Judges Rules. Once I have establish the circumstances of the arrest and if my findings are as above, I would "immediately" release this person under the Police Law and give him/her a ride back home out of simple courtesy and respect.

    Not even police bail is appropriate under these circumstances. Police bail is only "cementing the lawsuit" harder against the Commissioner of Police and the Attorney General, if the arrest is unlawful.  

    End of subject. !!!  


  2. Anonymous says:

    So what you are all telling me is I can walk around George Town with an imitation firearm tucked into my pants and the Police cant do anything. All i need to say is that i like my plastic replica and i don’t want to do anything with it! Awesome!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      Why would a right thinking, sane, adult want to walk around GT with an imitation firearm tucked in his pants just to flaunt to the Police that they cannot do anything about it?  I swear, if people put a little bit of thought into what they wer actually saying, perhaps we could actually have a good debate on here.

      I’ll humour you – s244 of the Penal Code (2006 Revision) makes it an offense to possess a firearm during the commission of a burglary. 

      So, unless you are committing an aggravated burglary, simple possession is not a criminal offense for which arrest would be warranted.  HOWEVER, you can’t expect to do that without drawing attention to other members of the public AND the police. 

      Anyways, Dennie no need for apologies, I’m so glad you are on here to make the debate interesting and force us to look at things from a different perspective!

  3. Anonymous says:

    If I walked or drove across a person sitting under a tree holding what actually is an imitation firearm but appeared to me to be a real firearm, I would be intimidated and scared.  I would assume the holder may be having a mental episode, may be about to commit or have just committed a crime and I would call the RCIPS to look into it.

    I know what the law says, but I also know as a human being that I wuold also be concerned if I happened across that scenario.  Now, as to the legality of the charge, simple possession doesnt seem to be an offense of strict liability, it appears it must be accompanied by intent, but how can you determine intent by simply seeing a person holding a firearm (real or imitation)?  How am I to know he doesnt intend to commit a crime, remember intent doesnt mean he has to actually commit the crime, just have it in his mind to do so.


    • Anonymous says:

      Dear CNS,

      Why did you remove the final paragraph of my post at 10:45 am?  That final paragraph gave my opinion as to whether or not I believe the RCIPS were correct in arresting the individual and whether or not shops selling these items would or should be culpable – is that why?

      CNS: Yes. Normally we close the comment box after a person has been arrested. In this case there has been a discussion about the law but any comment that  gives opinions on the guilt or innocence of the arrested person or includes speculation about this specific case will be deleted (erring on the side of caution).

    • Dennie Warren Jr. says:

      According to your logic then, how would anyone know the intent of your drive-by?

      • Anonymous says:

        Dennie, that’s my point – if you were able to see my final parahraph you would understand fully my point. CNS had to block it.  The law is clear that possession of the firearm or imitation must be coupled with an intention in order to attract a eason for arrest/charge.  So, for a charge to stick the perpetrator must be about to commit a crime not just simply sitting there holding the firearm.  This isnt "according to my logic" this is the legislation….intent to commit is different from actual commission. 

        I do not believe that a person found merely possessing a firearm should be charged unless he is about to use it to commit a cime, that is more or less what CNS had to remove because of the way I worded it, so it changed the context of my post.

        Arguing for argument’s sake with people who are essentially in agreement with you?  XXXX

        • Dennie Warren Jr. says:

          No, I don’t argue for argument sake.  However, had I seen the paragraph deleted by CNS I might have responded differently.  Sorry about that, I agree with you.

  4. MBodden says:

     In case you people don’t understand that we now reside in a Police State by virtue of the draconian measures and laws we have passed. Stop your whining and complaining.

  5. Anonymous says:

    How about flare guns used in boats? Do you require a licence for that too?  And isn’t this type of gun also used in robberies??? 

  6. Durrrr says:

    Something doesn’t quite add up here. If the man can be arrested (and charged?) for possession of an imitation firearm, why hasn’t the owner of the shop been arrested too?

    • Anonymous says:

      I do not understand.  If you are sitting down and holding a toy gun for your child while he/she is busy doing something else, can you get arrested? 

      • pauly cicero says:

        Yes, in the same manner as if you were holding a dealer’s drug stash while he was otherwise occupied.

      • Dennie Warren Jr. says:

        The answer is, no.

  7. Dennie Warren Jr. says:

    “possession of an imitation firearm” is not a crime.

    “firearm” means artillery, machine gun, sub-machine gun, rifle, shot gun, pistol, air gun, air pistol or any lethal barrelled weapon from which any shot, bullet or other missile can be discharged or noxious fumes can be emitted except any air rifle, air gun or air pistol of a type prescribed by the Governor and of a calibre so prescribed, and includes any component part of any such weapon and such accessory to any such weapon designed or adapted to diminish the noise or flash caused by firing the weapon, and includes any ammunition capable of being used in any firearm and any reloader which is capable of or designed for the reloading of shotgun cartridges or any other type of ammunition. [Firearms Law (2008 Revision)]

    The police should be ashamed of themselves for unlawfully arresting this person.


    • Durrrr says:

      simple possession may not be, but you may want to look at s.244 of the Penal Code.

      • Anonymous says:


        the charge is possession of an imitation fire arm,not using it in any way according to the information presented.I haven’t had a chance to look at sec:244 but as Denny stated ,if i am sitting down under a tree with a toy gun,or for instance say a kid,then one can be arrested for possession of a imitation firearm?is that correct?

      • Dennie Warren Jr. says:

        I am aware of Section 244(1).  It reads: “Whoever commits any burglary and at the same time has with him any firearm or imitation firearm, any offensive weapon or any explosive isguilty of the offence of aggravated burglary and liable to imprisonment for life,” and it reinforces my point.

        Next, the RCIPF will be wanting ban bicycles, because robbers are now using them to flee "the scene on a bicycle," or ban kitchen knives, because they could be used to kill people.


        • Anonymous says:

          you can’t have it both ways 

        • Archibald says:

          You just don’t get that many level headed people view guns, and the threat of gun use (even if it is a threat with an imitation weapon) as a horrific evil in society while must be treated in a special categories of their own for the good of society as a whole.

          The problem with your viewpoint is that it is exceptional individualistic and libertarian.  But worse, it assumes that "legal" gun owners will use their guns in an appropriate and rational manner.  They won’t.  Experience has shown this.  These guns will be used to shoot family members, or lover’s of wives, or fall into the hands of criminals.

          These consequences may not be your intention, but they will be the consequences.

          I would ban toy guns completely unless they are specifically licensed for sale by the police (usually this would mean they are bright pink or obviously toys from any inspection). 

        • Anonymous says:

          blah….blah…..blah…..bored now

          • Dennie Warren Jr. says:

            Justice Judge Henderson got CI$1.275M after he was unlawfully arrested, because of police ignorance of the law.  Are you still bored and disrespectful of the rights of others, or do you believe my interpretation wrong again?

      • Turtle's Head says:

        When it comes to gun laws, he only sees what he wants to see, and he does not let things like the correct interpretation of the law get in the way of his quest to turn Cayman into Jamaica. 

    • Anonymous says:

      Read the law Dennie, your so one sided its beyond bias!

      • Dennie Warren Jr. says:

        Since you appear to be implying that you’re more objective than I am.  Please explain to us why you believe that in the Cayman Islands, “possession of an imitation firearm,” is unlawful?

        • Anonymous says:

          (6) Whoever has with him a firearm or imitation firearm with intent to commit an offence, to resist arrest or to prevent the arrest of another person, in either case while he has the firearm or imitation firearm with him, is guilty of an offence and, subject to section 39, is liable on conviction to a fine of one hundred thousand dollars and to imprisonment for twenty years.

          Now tell me Dennie that  you cannot be charged with possession of an imitation firearm…… like i said you only read the law to suit you!


          • Anonymous says:

            I don’t usually agree with Dennis on the firearms thing.  However, if I understand it, there is a legal difference between possession (say, for instance, of an imitation firearm) and possession with intent to commit an offense.  One may be legal.  The other certainly is not.

            I believe you have read the law to suit you.

            • Dennie Warren Jr. says:

              Exactly, and the reason is that “imitation firearms” are not actually “firearms”.  Section 12(b) of the Firearms Law is evidence and it reads: "No person other than the holder of a Gunsmith’s Licence shall convert INTO A FIREARM anything which though having the APPEARANCE of being a firearm is so constructed as to be incapable of discharging a missile through the barrel thereof."

    • Anonymous says:

      you can’t have it both ways 

    • whodatnot says:

      Dennie, you’re absolutely correct…Unless there is FAR more to the story, there is no reason for this person to have been arrested.  Next thing you know, your 5 year old kid winds up in Northward.  If the guy in question is someone that the police have wanted to get for a long time and this is their way to get it done, shame on them – you either get it done properly or you don’t do it at all…  Add the proposed changes in law and the Cayman Islands are heading down a very slippery slope…

      • Dennie Warren Jr. says:

        According to the police on Radio Cayman’s news, there is no more to the story.