N.S. fisherman describes gunfire in drug raid
Spanish court hears from other crewmembers on trial's 2nd day
A Nova Scotia fisherman feared he would be shot when Spanish police raided the boat he was on, a court has been told.
Philip Halliday, 55, is on trial in Madrid accused of drug smuggling. The trial resumed Wednesday with testimony from two Romanian crewmembers.
The CBC's Jennifer Henderson is in Spain covering the trial. She says the Romanians seemed to have had little involvement with the Colombian man accused of overseeing the movement of $600 million of cocaine and had found the jobs online.
"They don't know any of the big fish who were on land in Britain and Spain," Henderson reports.
Halliday is in court Wednesday and the judges are expected to examine more police witnesses and listen to wiretap evidence.
Eleven people are on trial over the 1,000-kilogram seizure, including seven crewmembers and four men arrested on land.
Halliday testified for 15 minutes Tuesday and described the moment police raided the ship. He was asked if he saw it.
"I couldn’t see it, but I could hear it. I went down to the lower deck to see if I could see who it was. They were shooting, so I went back up because I was afraid of getting shot," he told the court. "They had me on the floor. It was probably 15 or 20 minutes before I knew they were police."
Wiretap evidence expected
He also said he had not called Spain during the trip from Central America to Europe. Police say they have wiretap evidence that a Canadian had called ashore to say the ship was coming in.
CBC News has the only Nova Scotia journalist in Spain for the trial.
Listen to CBC Radio One and watch CBC NS at 6 p.m. for Jennifer Henderson's reports.
"Police do not have any records of that phone call from the ship, but the wiretap evidence is a mark against Halliday and something the defence has to address," Henderson reports.
Halliday's wife and son are in the Spanish courtroom, but have declined to talk to reporters.
If convicted, Halliday faces 12 years in prison.
His Canadian lawyer, Kevin Burke, says it is difficult to follow the trial. It is being conducted mostly in Spanish, and also in Romanian and English. He said his client was creating a good impression on the court.
Halliday says he was hired to work the ship, but didn't know it was carrying drugs.
"He tried to explain why he was found on this vessel. He tried to give the judge some sense of who he was, what his background was, with the idea of at least explaining to the court that he was a fisherman, has been a fisherman all his life and that he was hired to do a contract," Burke said outside the courtroom.
"I was impressed by the forthrightness of Philip. I think he testified well and given the circumstances of this process, I think he did extraordinarily well."
Halliday was arrested in 2009 after Spanish police intercepted a former Canadian Coast Guard ship carrying 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.
The trial is expected to last all week.