Sailboat cocaine case delayed again as smuggler captain switches lawyers

Jacques John Grenier heads from his sentencing hearing at provincial court in Halifax on Monday, Feb. 26, 2018. Grenier, a Nova Scotia sailboat captain, has pleaded guilty to two drug charges after 250 kilograms of cocaine was found hidden in his vessel in September 2017. Grenier is changing lawyers and the hearing was put over. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan

HALIFAX - The sentencing hearing for a sailboat captain caught smuggling 250 kilograms of cocaine from the Caribbean to a Nova Scotia boatyard has been delayed yet again — this time for a change of lawyers.

Lawyer Patrick MacEwen informed Judge Gregory Lenehan that he was appearing for Jacques John Grenier in Halifax provincial court Monday. He didn't say why defence lawyer Brad Sarson is no longer on the case.

Lenhan asked Grenier to confirm that Sarson was no longer representing him.

"Yes, your honour," he said before being remanded back into custody.

MacEwen told Lenehan he had not yet been fully retained by Grenier, but expected he would be, and the sentencing hearing was adjourned until March 20.

Federal Crown lawyer Glen Scheuer told Lenehan he would possibly call evidence at the sentencing hearing on charges of possession of cocaine for the purpose of trafficking and importing cocaine.

"Some of that evidence will be from an out-of-province witness," said Scheuer.

A third charge against Grenier — conspiracy to import cocaine — has yet to be dealt with.

The hearing has been postponed several times, including earlier this month after Grenier underwent surgery and was still recovering.

The Hubbards, N.S., man entered guilty pleas last November after the Canada Border Services Agency boarded the boat in September at a marina near Halifax.

Officers had found several bricks of cocaine hidden inside a sealed bed frame on the Canadian-registered, eight-metre boat called Quesera, which had arrived from the small Caribbean island of Saint Martin.

Another man, Luc Chevrefils of Quebec, is facing charges including possession of cocaine for the purpose of trafficking and conspiracy to import cocaine in the same incident.

Chevrefils is scheduled to be back in court on March 21 to enter pleas.

The agency said at the time that it was unusual to find such a large stash in a small boat.

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