N.S. sailboat captain wins another delay in cocaine-smuggling case - InfoNews

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N.S. sailboat captain wins another delay in cocaine-smuggling case

Jacques John Grenier heads from his sentencing hearing at provincial court in Halifax on Tuesday, April 10, 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. The sentencing was put over until April 19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
April 10, 2018 - 12:05 PM

HALIFAX - The lawyer for a sailboat captain who smuggled 250 kilograms of cocaine into Nova Scotia from a small Caribbean island has won yet another court delay.

Jacques John Grenier of Hubbards, N.S., was supposed to be sentenced Tuesday, but 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.

The judge agreed to adjourn the case.

Grenier, 68, was detained by the Canada Border Services Agency last September after he guided his 29-foot boat Quesera into a marina west of Halifax under cover of darkness.

Officers soon discovered the cocaine stashed in a secret compartment beneath a bed frame in the boat's forward sleeping quarters.

Grenier was arrested at 11 p.m. on Sept. 3, and he was later 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. The third charge was supposed 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.

When he appeared in Halifax provincial court Tuesday wearing a grey sweater and jeans, Grenier had a white bandage over his left eye, and he appeared thin and tired.

MacEwen told Judge Claudine MacDonald he needed more time to look at the documents the Crown had submitted.

"I haven't had an opportunity to review this," MacEwen told the court, adding that he had not had a chance to discuss the matter with Grenier. "I am somewhat troubled because the Crown is seeking a significant sentence."

Federal Crown lawyer Glen Scheuer argued there was nothing surprising in the file, and he suggested the sentencing could take place later in the day.

"What does concern me ... is this history of this file," Scheuer told the judge. "It's been adjourned at the defence's request on a number of occasions ... There is nothing in the Crown's materials that is earth-shattering."

However, MacDonald said the defence should be granted more time and she adjourned the hearing until April 19.

"It is very understandable to me that he would want to review that with a reasonable amount of time," MacDonald said. "Given that he received it this morning, I'm satisfied that he just hasn't had a reasonable opportunity to digest it himself, much less ... his client."

Grenier was returned to custody.

In the past four years, the CBSA in Atlantic Canada has recorded between 130 and 159 drug seizures every year, many of them at ports handling large shipping containers.

However, an agency spokesman said finding such a large stash in a small boat was unusual.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2018
The Canadian Press

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