After nearly three years in a Spanish prison, the drug trafficking trial of Nova Scotia fisherman Phillip Halliday got underway today in Madrid.

The first to present evidence was a Spanish police official who gave an overview of the operation, which led to the arrest of the 55-year-old Digby man.

The prosecutor also spoke to Halliday, who denied any involvement in a scheme to traffic 1,000 kilograms of cocaine worth $600 million.

Halliday’s ordeal began in December 2009 after Spanish police intercepted a ship he had signed on as mate.

The drugs were allegedly concealed under a bolted trap door onboard the Destiny Empress.

Halliday is one of ten people on trial.

His Canadian lawyer, Kevin Burke, says proceedings in a Spanish court vary widely from those in Canadians courts.

For instance, he questioned the Spanish translator’s ability to properly translate what Halliday was saying.

“I don’t know how skilled he was,” Burke said, “I gathered he was a court-appointed translator. There were several instances when he didn’t understand what Philip was saying.”

One point Burke feels may have been in Halliday’s favour is the prosecutor had more questions for Halliday than the other defendants.

The trial continues Wednesday with more testimony from other crew members and police officers involved in the case.

The Destiny Empress was a 58-metre former Department of Fisheries and Oceans ship that was decommissioned in 2001.

It was sold in 2005 and then renamed the Destiny Empress. It was based in Nova Scotia until 2008, when it moved to the Caribbean.