HALIFAX – A preliminary hearing for a 23-year-old Nova Scotia man charged with the murder of a fellow Dalhousie University student is set to begin early next year.
William Sandeson appeared briefly in provincial court in Halifax on Tuesday, when six days in February, March and April were set aside to hear the matter.
Defence lawyer Eugene Tan said he needed the time to present 25 civilian witnesses, some of which the Crown argued were not necessary.
READ MORE: No bail for accused in Taylor Samson’s death
Tan said outside court that his “wish list” of witnesses is necessary in the case, but that he and the Crown will meet before the hearing to try to winnow it down.
“It’s a circumstantial case,” he said after the hearing. “The case is going to be pieced together with little bits from a lot of different witnesses….So, that’s why my list is so long.”
Crown attorney Susan MacKay said she didn’t believe the defence needed to call that many witnesses for the preliminary hearing. The two lawyers plan to meet for a focus hearing on Jan. 13 to update their progress on reducing the number of witnesses.
Sandeson is charged with first-degree murder in the death of 22-year-old Taylor Samson, a physics student at Dalhousie. Sandeson was charged with his murder on Aug. 20, four days after Samson was reported missing in Halifax.
His body has never been found.
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A search warrant document describing some of the circumstances in the case was obtained by three media outlets before it was sealed by a judge.
They reported that the document alleges Samson was involved in a drug deal involving marijuana before his death.
Investigators subsequently searched two properties in Sandeson’s hometown of Truro, N.S., saying they discovered several items of interest.