Spanish drug trial 'heartbreaking' says fisherman's wife
Philip Halliday's Madrid trial adjourned until Dec. 3
The wife of a Digby scallop fisherman on trial for drug smuggling in Spain has come home to Nova Scotia after a "heartbreaking" trial that was abruptly adjourned last week.
Five members of Philip Halliday's family — including his wife, Sheree Halliday — made the trip to Madrid hoping the trial would be the final chapter of a three-year international court case that began 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.
Sheree Halliday said she was frustrated there was no simultaneous translation from Spanish to English during the trial, except when questions were posed to the accused.
"It was heartbreaking. I watched the look on Philip's face as often as I could see the look. He was puzzled, he had no clue," she told CBC News.
"We knew somewhat because of the translator but my heart went out to him. He was clueless to what was happening."
A Spanish-speaking lawyer defended Halliday in court, while Halifax defence lawyer Kevin Burke acted as the family's advisor.
After three days of trial, only three hours were spent hearing from crew members aboard the ship. They all said they didn't know the boat was transporting drugs.
Trip to Spain was 'worth every cent'
A panel of three Spanish judges abruptly adjourned proceedings last week, upsetting the accused crew's families who had travelled from the U.K., U.S. and Canada.
Final arguments in the case have been postponed until Dec. 3, when the court is expected to hear from the prosecution and the defence lawyers representing the crew members of the ship, including Halliday.
The timing of the verdict will be up to the three judges.
Halliday and six other crew members of the ship have been in a Spanish jail for nearly three years, since they were arrested in 2009. Two of the alleged ringleaders in the case have been free on bail.
The ship they were 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.
Sheree Halliday said her husband was trying to remain strong.
"He still has good days and bad. He's not looking forward to not returning with us, which we originally had hoped that that may happen," she said.
"Just to be able to see him again was worth every cent and every hour that we travelled."
A non-profit group called the Halliday Family Support Society had raised nearly $15,000 in donations to help fund a portion of the trip.