Philip and his wife Sheree Halliday have not seen each other since Philip set out on the Destiny Empress in 2009 (submitted)

The family of a former scallop fisherman from Digby, N.S., facing drug smuggling charges in Spain left Halifax Friday to attend his trial.

Philip Halliday, 55, was arrested after police intercepted a former Coast Guard ship carrying 1,000 kilograms of cocaine worth $600 million. The drugs were concealed under a bolted trap door. Since the bust, 14 people from Britain and Colombia have been jailed for importing drugs to Spain.

If convicted, Halliday could spend the next 12 years behind bars.

Sheree Halliday and her two sons left Halifax three years to the day after she kissed her husband goodbye before his ill-fated voyage.

Continuing Coverage:

Tune into CBC all next week as Jennifer Henderson reports from Halliday's trial in Spain

"My biggest hope is it gets thrown out of court the very first day, but that would be next to a miracle. I realize that. So I am hoping it is a fair trial," she said.

Unlike a trial in Canada, Halliday and the other crew members won't get a chance to tell their stories. A panel of judges will instead question them to determine the facts.

Sheree Halliday said she fears with questions in Spanish and answers in English, something could get lost in translation.

"He said he had been a fisherman for more than 30 years, worked hard all his life. The translator translated that he had worked since the age of 30. It may not seem like a big thing, but it really is," she said.

Halliday's trial begins Tuesday. He'll be tried alongside eight other co-accused.