A 36-year-old American tourist has been fined US$800 by a magistrate after she was caught with five rounds of live ammunition in her handbag as she prepared to leave the island by cruise ship.
In pleading with the court to let her return home, Julie Martin, a real estate agent from Kentucky, said she had forgotten about the bullets discovered by an X-ray machine on Monday.
CourtMartin admitted having the nine-millimetre rounds without a licence when she appeared in Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday.
Defence lawyer Richard Horseman said Martin had no intention of bringing the ammunition to Bermuda.
“This was a complete accident on her part.”
Horseman said Martin had already spent a night in jail and had missed the return leg of her cruise to the United States, but Magistrate Khamisi Tokunbo said that was her own fault.
Imposing a fine rather than a prison sentence,Tokunbo said the penalty had to be a deterrent.
He added that the bullets could have posed a risk to Bermuda, where gun ownership is illegal.
“Some people out there would like to get those five live rounds,”Tokunbo said.
The court heard that Martin, who had won the cruise to Bermuda, left the Anthem of the Seas twice on Monday and took her handbag with her both times.
Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions Cindy Clarke said the bullets were discovered when she returned to the ship the second time.
Clarke said Martin told officers that she had put the ammunition in her bag when she moved to a new office several weeks ago and forgot it was there.
Martin told police that she carried a firearm in the US because she had been threatened on her job and it was common for people to carry a firearm in Kentucky.
“I do apologise for being so negligent. I am not typically as forgetful as that.I beg that my husband and I get to go home because our two babies need us.”