The Spanish drug smuggling trial of Nova Scotia scallop fisherman Philip Halliday has been adjourned abruptly until next month with no explanation.

The 55-year-old man was arrested three years ago when 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.

Halliday and eight other people are currently on trial in Madrid, where the CBC's Jennifer Henderson is covering the trial.

Henderson said a panel of three Spanish judges abruptly adjourned proceedings until Dec. 3, when final arguments are expected from the prosecution and the defence lawyers representing the crew members of the ship, including Halliday.

Continuing Coverage

CBC News has the only Nova Scotia journalist in Spain for the trial.

Listen to CBC Radio One and watch CBC News: Nova Scotia at 6 p.m. for Jennifer Henderson's reports.

Several members of Halliday's family — who left for Spain last week, exactly three years to the day the scallop fisherman left Digby on his ill-fated voyage — said they were shocked and disappointed by the delay and refused to comment further until the proceedings formally end next month.

Halliday and six other crew members of the ship have been in a Spanish jail for nearly three years. Two of the alleged ringleaders in the case have been free on bail.

The ship that Halliday was on is a former Fisheries and Oceans Canada craft that was decommissioned in 2001, sold in 2005 and then renamed the Destiny Empress. The 58-metre, steel-hulled boat was based in Nova Scotia until 2008, when it moved to the Caribbean.