Procedural arguments make for a slow start to Calnen murder trial

HALIFAX – Tuesday was the first day of testimony in the second degree murder trial for Paul Trevor Calnen.

The Crown had the chance to give it’s opening arguments and detail their version of what happened to Reita Jordan.

Prosecutors say they believe the 34-year-old was killed in the Hammonds Plains home she shared with Calnen sometime between March and June of 2013.

Susan MacKay, one of the Crown attorneys on the case, told the court that they believe Calnen put Jordan’s body in the woods and later went back to burn her remains.

Calnen has pleaded guilty to indecently interfering with human remains, but not guilty to causing Jordan’s death. Police have never been able to locate her body.

READ MORE: Paul Calnen pleads guilty to committing an indignity to human remains as murder trial opens

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“In Canada, you don’t need a body in order to prove murder, however it does make it difficult because you have to prove the intent,” said Rick Woodburn, Crown attorney.

The court heard around the time of her disappearance, Jordan had planned to leave Calnen and steal many of his belongings, including a car and an ATV.

Wade Weeks was the only witness called to the stand to testify Tuesday. He was a friend of Jordan’s and testified the two had a sexual relationship and did drugs together in the days before she went missing.

The crown plans to call dozens of witnesses and introduce a variety of evidence as part of their case.

“There will be forensic evidence that will be called on behalf of the Crown for sure,” MacKay told reporters.

The case got off to a slow start, with procedural arguments taking up much of the day. The trial is scheduled to last for more than a month.

“If it’s not five weeks it won’t be much less than that probably, as we saw today, things can crop up that can prevent us from calling evidence from much of the day,” said Peter Planetta, defense lawyer.

Testimony continues Wednesday morning at Nova Scotia Supreme Court.

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