Dwayne Samson pleads guilty to manslaughter in Phillip Boudreau's death

A Cape Breton fishing boat captain has pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the death of Phillip Boudreau, in a case that has rocked the Nova Scotia village of Petit-de-Grat to its core.

Crown says it will seek sentence in double digits at Aug. 11-12 hearing

Cape Breton fishing boat captain Dwayne Samson begins trial for Phillip Boudreau's death. 1:22

A Cape Breton fishing boat captain has pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the death of Phillip Boudreau, in a case that has rocked the Nova Scotia village of Petit-de-Grat to its core.

Dwayne Matthew Samson was charged with second-degree murder in the death of 43-year-old Boudreau in 2013.

Eleven days were set aside for the trial Port Hawkesbury, but on Tuesday, the Crown said it intended to proceed with a manslaughter charge.

Dwayne Samson, in the dark shirt, enters the courtroom in Port Hawkesbury, N.S., on Tuesday. The Cape Breton fishing boat captain pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the death of Phillip Boudreau. (CBC)

A jury has already found another crew member, James Joseph Landry, guilty of manslaughter in the case that's been dubbed "murder for lobster." He had been charged with the more serious charge of second-degree murder 

Landry was given a 14-year prison sentence.

Crown attorney Shane Russell said he will seek a similar sentence for Samson.

"They're similar offences, similar facts, similar levels of moral blame-worthiness. Certainly the Crown's recommendation would be something in the double digits."

Samson's lawyer Nash Brogan said he'll be looking for something in the area of seven to nine years.

He said he plans to call expert evidence from a psychiatrist about what might have provoked the attack
    
"The people on this boat, for years they've been subjected to tremendous abuse by Mr. Boudreau, cutting traps and threats, over many years."

Samson is free on bail and has been living in Halifax. The court has given him permission to move back to D'Escousse until his sentencing hearing set for Aug. 11 and 12. 

Justice Simon MacDonald ordered Samson not to leave his house during that time and warned him to to stay out of trouble.

According to an agreed statement of facts read in court, the crew of the Twin Maggies saw Boudreau at their traps that day and believed he was tampering with them.

They loaded a gun, and Samson asked Landry to shoot at Boudreau. One hit him in the leg.

According to the statement, which Samson agreed to, they ran at Boudreau's boat several times.

Samson was at the wheel when Boudreau fell into the water. They then gaffed Boudreau and dragged him out to sea.

At some point, Boudreau stopped struggling. He was tied to an anchor.

The Twin Maggies crew then resumed fishing their lobster traps, the statement of facts says.

Two other crew members aboard the Twin Maggies boat also face charges connected to the disappearance of Boudreau, whose body has never been found.

Samson's wife, Carla, owner of the lobster boat and Landry's daughter, faces a charge of accessory after the fact. Craig Landry, a third cousin of James Landry, is charged with accessory after the fact.

Recap CBC's Wendy Martin's live tweets from court.