© Jonathan Riley
Sheree Halliday receiving a hug from a supporter at rally last November asking the federal government to take a more active role in bringing Philip home.
Philip Halliday could be home for Christmas 2012.
The Digby man’s wait for a trial on drug charges in Spain will be over this November.
Sheree Halliday, Philip’s wife, received a one-line email from his Spanish lawyers informing her the trial will take place in November but no other details.
“It’s in 2012—that’s the good news,” she said. “At least they aren’t going to take the full four years. But there’s so many questions right now. I don’t anymore than that and it will be a couple weeks before I do know more.”
By November, Philip will have been away from Digby for more than three years. Spanish authorities arrested him and seven other crewmembers of the Destiny Empress off the coast of Spain on Dec. 21, 2009.
Halliday has maintained his innocence and says he believed they were delivering an empty ship to buyers in Spain. Authorities however found 1.5 tonnes of cocaine in a hidden compartment on the ship and charged Halliday and the others with drug trafficking.
Under Spanish law, prosecutors have up to four years to bring drug charges to trial.
Phillip has been ill for most of his stay in jail with gall bladder, liver and kidney problems and bouts of depression.
Sheree and their two grown sons Cody, 26, and Daren, 24, made their first visit to see Phillip at the end of March. Sheree described her husband’s condition at that time as “feeble”. She said her
5'10" husband had lost 50 pounds, dropping from 199 pounds to 145.
“He’s excited also somewhat disappointed,” she said, explaining that Philip had hoped the trial might be earlier. “But he’ll be home for Christmas and that’s exciting.”
Sheree says her lawyer Kevin Burke of Halifax is arranging a conference call with the two Spanish lawyers and translators in order to get more details; but it will probably take a couple weeks to arrange.
She says she and her boys are looking into a second visit to Spain this November for the trial.
“And I’m buying four tickets before I leave because he is coming home with us.”
Sheree says the only thing that has kept her going through the last 2.5 years is believing Philip will be found not guilty.
“I have never allowed myself to believe he’ll be spending the next 18 years away from us. He won’t be found guilty, because he’s not. The truth will come out in court and they are going to let him go.”