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Sailboat cocaine case delayed again as Crown seeks expert witness

Last Updated Apr 19, 2018 at 4:00 pm EDT

A Canada Border Services Agency officer inspects the sailboat Quesera at East River Marine in Hubbards, N.S., on Friday, Sept. 8, 2017. The sentencing of a sailboat captain who smuggled drugs into Nova Scotia from a small Caribbean island has been delayed yet again, this time for the Crown to call an expert witness. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan

HALIFAX – The sentencing of a sailboat captain who smuggled drugs into Nova Scotia from a small Caribbean island has been delayed yet again — this time for the Crown to call an expert witness.

Federal Crown lawyer Glen Scheuer said Thursday the witness will provide the court with expert opinion on criminal organizations and the importation of controlled substances like cocaine.

“We feel that it would be a benefit to the court to hear the evidence of this expert in terms of making its findings in relation to this matter,” he said outside the courtroom.

Jacques John Grenier of Hubbards, N.S., stashed 250 kilograms of cocaine in a secret compartment of his eight-metre boat Quesera and sailed into a marina west of Halifax under cover of darkness last September.

Officers with the Canada Border Services Agency found several bricks of cocaine hidden beneath a sealed bed frame in the forward sleeping quarters of the Canadian-registered vessel, which had travelled from Saint Martin in the northeast Caribbean Sea.

The sailor was charged with possession of cocaine for the purpose of trafficking, importing cocaine and conspiracy to import cocaine.

He pleaded guilty to the first two charges last November and the third charge was to be dealt with at the sentencing hearing.

The case has been delayed several times in recent months.

At one point, Grenier sought the help of another lawyer. As well, more time was needed to allow him to recover from some form of surgery.

He was supposed to be sentenced last week but his lawyer Patrick MacEwen told the judge that he and his client needed more time to review case law submitted by the Crown earlier in the day.

“I had anticipated we’d be going to sentencing today,” MacEwen said Thursday.

He added that Grenier is “looking forward to getting this behind him.”

“He’s obviously looking at a fairly lengthy sentence. He’s 69 years old and he’s suffering from health concerns and he’s in jail.”

Grenier appeared in Halifax provincial court wearing a grey sweater and jeans.

The Crown is recommending a 17 year sentence.

The case returns to court April 27.