The preliminary hearing for the man accused of being the getaway driver in a 2011 murder case has begun, after the man turned himself in to police.

Jonathan Rowe, 29, has been charged with being an accessory after the fact in the shooting death of Nick Winsor.

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Defence lawyer Ray Kuszelewski. (CBC)

A provincial court judge issued a warrant for Rowe's arrest Tuesday morning after he was a no-show in court.

Rowe turned himself in early Tuesday afternoon. The warrant issued for his arrest was vacated.

Outside of court Tuesday afternoon, Rowe's girlfriend said she had been working out with her personal trainer, and was not paying attention to her cell phone.

When she finally checked it, there were some 15 blocked ID calls. She then realized something was up.

She called the office of Rowe's lawyer, Ray Kuszelewski, and was told that Rowe was supposed to be in court.

Rowe thought he was scheduled to be in court on Thursday.

The Crown accepted the explanation.

No-show in the morning

Earlier, Kuszelewski told reporters he had no idea why his client did not show up in court as scheduled.

"I have absolutely no explanation," Kuszelewski said. "I've been given no indication of why he wouldn’t show."

Kuszelewski said attempts to contact him at his home and cell phone numbers were unsuccessful early Tuesday.

"I was very surprised that he didn't come this morning," Kuszelewski said.

The defence lawyer said he understands that Rowe signed in with police on Monday night. Reporting with authorities was a condition of his bail.

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Crown prosecutor David Bright. (CBC)

Kuszelewski initially expressed fears that Rowe's bail could be at risk.

"His bail is very tight, so a fail to appear would certainly put him back into an incarcerated situation," Kuszelewski noted. "And so my fear for that is that I wouldn’t be able to get him out a second time."

Crown prosecutor David Bright, one of two Nova Scotia lawyers brought in to handle the case, said he was "very surprised" that Rowe did initially not turn up for court.

"A preliminary, normally for an accused person, is an opportunity to discover, if you will, the Crown's case, listen to some of their witnesses," Bright told reporters Tuesday morning.

2011 shooting death

Rowe is facing charges in connection with the 2011 shooting death of Nick Winsor.

Winsor and two other men were allegedly trying to rob a homeowner on Portugal Cove Road when Winsor was killed.

The other men — Philip Pynn and Lyndon Butler — are facing second-degree murder charges.

Rowe is accused of being an accessory after the fact.