April 19, 2017 12:40 pm
Updated: April 26, 2017 2:53 pm

William Sandeson ‘confident’ as murder trial begins in Halifax: defence

The lawyer for accused murderer William Sandeson said his client is "doing very well" and "confident" on the opening day of his eight week trial. Global's Natasha Pace reports.


The lawyer for accused murderer William Sandeson said his client is “doing very well” and “confident” on the opening day of his eight week trial.

READ: Halifax court jammed by prospective jurors for Dalhousie medical student’s murder trial

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Sandeson was days away from starting medical school at Dalhousie University in August 2015 when he was arrested and charged with first-degree murder. Police allege Sandeson killed fellow Dalhousie student Taylor Samson.

Hundreds of people crammed into Nova Scotia Supreme Court Tuesday and Wednesday for jury selection. Late Wednesday afternoon, a jury and alternates were selected and instructed by Judge Josh Arnold, who will preside over the case.

READ MORE: Taylor Samson’s mother pleads for her son’s body at Sandeson bail hearing

Accused working on his own defence

Eugene Tan, who is representing Sandeson at his trial, said the 24-year-old is actively involved in his own defence.

“He’s read every piece of paper, he’s reviewed every report, every piece of video. Everything that has come across my desk has been given to him and he’s had an opportunity to review it all,” he said.

Tan admits that it’s “fairly rare” for someone to be familiar with every piece of evidence but said “there’s nothing that’s been left unturned” by Sandeson.

“He has received special permission from the facility to use a computer so he’s downloaded everything, he’s read everything. You can see in court, that we’ve obtained special permission for Mr. Sandeson to have a computer in court as well, so he is following along.”

WATCH: Accused murderer William Sandeson learning law, participating in own defence

Nearly two years later, Samson’s remains still not found

Samson, 22, was reported missing on Aug. 16, 2015. Four days later, police arrested and charged Sandeson in connection with his death.

Court records obtained by Global News at the time indicate police believe Samson was killed at Sandeson’s apartment on Henry Street in Halifax.

Documents say Samson left his frat house on South Street to sell marijuana before he disappeared. Investigators have never said how they believe Samson was murdered.

READ MORE: Missing Halifax man may have been murdered over drug deal: Police

Police spent days combing a property near Truro, N.S., owned by Sandeson’s family, following his arrest. Despite an extensive search, Samson’s remains have never been located.

Crown attorney Susan MacKay said a lack of a body does not complicate her case.

“Certainly, it’s a little unusual,” MacKay told Global News. “But, it’s not unheard of at all for there to be a murder case without there being a body.”

WATCH: How do police lay murder charges without a body?

Murder trial likely to stretch into June

With a jury now selected, it’s anticipated the Crown will present their opening arguments on Thursday.

MacKay won’t disclose who will be called as the Crown’s first witness.

“We don’t know for sure how many witnesses we will call but it will probably be somewhere around 30 witnesses in total,” she said.

At this stage, Tan won’t say whether or not the defence plans to call any evidence or have any witnesses testify on their behalf.

Thirty-two court days have been set aside over eight weeks for Sandeson’s trial.

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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