02/16/2013 15:27 EST | Updated 04/18/2013 05:12 EDT

N.S. fisherman returns after 3-years in Spanish jail

Phillip Halliday, a fisherman from Digby, N.S., who spent the last three years in jail in Spain on drug trafficking charges, is back in his home province.

Halliday, 55, was convicted in a Madrid court of trafficking cocaine on Wednesday, but a judge granted him a conditional release.

Family friend Teri Faessler-Weber said Halliday is now staying with his family in an undisclosed location, and will make the final drive to Digby on Sunday.

Media were initially told Halliday would be landing on Sunday, but the family changed the flights to Friday night.

Halliday asked that no one except his wife, sons, and two sisters be present at the airport when he arrived.

"You can imagine, he hasn't made a decision for himself for three years...he just wants to come home. He just wants a few close family members and a few close friends join him for a bit tomorrow," Faessler-Weber said.

The former scallop fisherman is expected to arrive in Digby around 2:30 p.m. on Sunday.

Fessler-Weber said the Halliday family intends to appeal his conviction now that he's back in Canada.

Halliday was arrested in 2009 after Spanish police intercepted a former Canadian Coast Guard ship carrying cocaine worth $600 million.

The drugs were concealed under a bolted trap door. Halliday told a Spanish court he had no idea drugs were on board the ship he was working on.