Paul Calnen's murder charge reinstated in rare legal move

Nova Scotia's Public Prosecution Service has invoked a rarely-used legal move to restore a murder charge against Paul Trevor Calnen.

Paul Trevor Calnen facing charges related to disappearance of Reita Louise Jordan last year

Nova Scotia's Public Prosecution Service has invoked a rarely-used legal move to restore a murder charge against Paul Trevor Calnen.


The 51-year-old Hammonds Plains man was charged with murder and indecently interfering with human remains following the disappearance of his girlfriend, Reita Louise Jordan, in March of 2013.

At a preliminary inquiry in April, a provincial court judge dismissed the murder charge.

Thursday morning, in Nova Scotia Supreme Court, prosecutors preferred an indictment against Calnen, restoring the second-degree murder charge.

"After a review of all the case law with senior lawyers at the PPS, the director of public prosecutions has exercised the statutory right to prefer the indictment," said Crown prosecutor Rick Woodburn.

"It's a statutory right that the Crown has under the Criminal Code and it's exercised," he added.

"I take no joy in any of this tragedy," said Reita's mother Donna Jordan, moments after the court hearing. "But I'm glad that somebody saw that we all have to take responsibility for our actions — and that's all I can say, so I'm glad that somebody feels the same way as me."

Donna Jordan was joined in court by other members of Reita's family.  

The family was also in provincial court in April when the murder charge was dismissed.

"We were sad," Donna Jordan said.  "But I had faith in the justice system and my fingers were crossed, and it all came true so now I'm happy." 

Reita Louise Jordan's father Warren wears a T-shirt with his daughter's face to Paul Trevor Calnen's latest court appearance. (CBC)

The family was told, before the hearing, the murder charge was being reinstated.

Reita Jordan's father Warren described the news as "fantastic."

He said the whole ordeal has been difficult.

"It's hard. It's hard to be home. I'd rather be at work, where I'm not thinking about her."

He wore a T-shirt with Reita's face on the front of it to court Thursday.

Reita Jordan's body has never been found, despite an extensive search in the area around the home she shared with Calnen.  

Calnen was arrested in June of 2013 and released on conditions the following September. He remains under house arrest.

The case will return to Nova Scotia Supreme Court in June to deal with preliminary matters. No date for Calnen's judge and jury trial has been set yet.

"It's hard not having a death certificate," Donna Jordan said. "It's hard not having a place to put a rose. It's just hard. But she's here with us now. She's here in our hearts. She'll always be here. That's all we have."