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A man from Digby has been sitting in jail in Spain for almost 18 months.

In Canada the right to trial within a reasonable time is guaranteed under section 11 of the Charter and Rights in Freedoms. The same right is guaranteed under article 24 of the Spanish Constitution.

To be clear, a year and a half is itself not an extraordinarily long time.

Here in Canada our Supreme Court usually considers a wait of 12 to 18 months reasonable.

And yes it is true that Canadian politicians and bureaucrats should not interfere in Spain’s judicial system.

Talking however is not to be confused with interfering. There is no harm in talking to the Spanish authorities about the case, to ask when a trial date will be set, to remind them that we haven’t forgotten our fellow Canadian there.

Yet Philip Halliday is not just waiting for his trial date, he is also suffering serious illness.

Canadian representatives have every right to make sure Halliday is receiving appropriate attention.

Local MP Greg Kerr and Foreign Affairs Minister James Baird must insist that the Spanish authorities provide proper and immediate medical care.

Organizations: Charter, Supreme Court

Geographic location: Spain, Canada, Digby Freedoms

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