Spanish court frees Nova Scotia man after finding him guilty of drug trafficking

The Canadian Press

HALIFAX - A Nova Scotia fisherman has been convicted in Spain of drug trafficking but will be released after a cargo ship was seized more than three years ago.

The Canadian lawyer for Philip Halliday says the Digby man was freed as a result of a written decision handed down in Madrid today.

Kevin Burke says Halliday was to be picked up by Canadian embassy officials before further arrangements are made to return him to Canada.

The 56-year-old was a crewman aboard the Destiny Empress and had been held by authorities since the vessel was apprehended off the coast of Spain on Dec. 21, 2009.

Police said they found 1.5 tonnes of cocaine aboard the boat, but Halliday maintained his innocence, saying he had no idea there were drugs on board.

Burke says his client's Spanish lawyers have advised there are grounds for an appeal of the guilty verdict, but no decision has been made on whether to proceed.