(CMR) The Grand Court trial of suspended customs officer Claude Anthony Terry (36) for possession of an illegal gun concluded today with a not guilty verdict.
Earlier last week the jury heard that the weapon, ammunition and pepper spray were found in a locked metal box in a water tank at his apartment on Cayman Brac in August 2016. The prosecution’s case is that the firearm was taken from an evidence lock-up at the customs office on the Sister Islands by Terry several years before and he had hidden the box inside the tank.
Terry is charged with possession of an unlicensed Smith and Wesson revolver and eight rounds of .44 Magnum cartridges in the vicinity of Ethel Rose Road on or before Aug. 23, 2016.
Reviewing the evidence for the jury Monday as he opened the case, crown counsel Kenneth Ferguson said that the Smith & Wesson revolver and several rounds of .44 ammunition had been seized in 2005 by Brac customs officers and at some point had gone missing. The weapon turned up on the property where Terry lived when his landlord was cleaning out the water tanks in preparation for the property to be connected to the mains supply.
The owner of the apartment complex, Alva “Billy” Bodden, told the court that he was having a worker pump the water out and disconnect the tanks because the Water Authority had hooked up the apartments to a central supply.
He said the worker phoned him on Aug. 23, 2016 and told him he had found a box in one of the tanks.
When Mr. Bodden went to the apartment, he saw a box floating in the water; it had a cord on it tied to the tank top and a buoy on the line. The box was padlocked and he did not know what was in it. He said he had a Planning Board meeting to go to, which he did, and then he called Police Inspector Wendy Parchment.
When they met at the apartment, Ms. Parchment pulled the box out of the tank. Mr. Bodden phoned his store to get a padlock cutter and his worker cut the lock.
Ms. Parchment opened the box and there was a bag inside.
Somewhere around that time, Mr. Terry arrived at the scene and said, “You found my box? I found the box and put it there.”
Mr. Bodden said Mr. Terry occupied apartment 7, which the water tank was connected to. Questioned later by defense attorney Crister Brady, he said he could not remember, but he did not think the box was open when Mr. Terry came out. He did not remember if Ms. Parchment told Mr. Terry to go back inside the apartment.
He told the court he saw Ms. Parchment take a gun out of the box and say it was a .44 Smith & Wesson. He also saw gloves in the box. There were other items, but he did not recall what they were.
Shown a grey box, he examined it and said, “This could be the box.” Mr. Bodden’s employee, Garnel Rivers, told of looking in the tank the previous Friday and not seeing any box, but then seeing it on the Tuesday.Ferguson told the court that during the trial the crown would present DNA evidence linking the weapon to Terry.
Terry has denied the allegations and has claimed that the weapon was planted either by a police officer or by two of his colleagues at the customs office.