Nova Scotia

William Sandeson's lawyer will subpoena witnesses for preliminary inquiry

Crown and defence in the murder trial of William Sandeson cannot not agree on a list of witnesses to call for the preliminary inquiry. Sandeson's lawyer says he'll have to subpoena his own witnesses.

Preliminary inquiry in Taylor Samson murder case scheduled for 8 days in February

William Sandeson arrives at provincial court in Halifax on Oct. 27, 2015. Sandeson is charged with first-degree murder in the death of Taylor Samson, a fellow Dalhousie University student, who was last seen on Aug. 15 and whose body has not been found. (Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press)

Crown and defence lawyers in case of accused killer William Sandeson cannot agree on who should testify at the man's preliminary inquiry, and as a result Sandeson's lawyer will have to subpoena his own witnesses.

The two sides met in a focus hearing on Monday afternoon before Halifax provincial court Judge Anne Derrick. Sandeson appeared via video link from the provincial jail where he's been held since his arrest last August.

Taylor Samson, 22, was reported missing on Aug. 16, 2015. (Halifax Regional Police)

He's charged with first-degree murder in the death of 22-year-old Taylor Samson, a physics student at Dalhousie whose body has never been found.

Sandeson applied for bail in October, but was denied.

The defence and Crown agreed last week to extend the preliminary hearing to eight days from six in February to determine if there's enough evidence to warrant a trial.

New list of witnesses

Today in court, Crown prosecutor Susan MacKay said she received a new list of witnesses Sandeson's lawyer wants to call. The list includes 14 police officers and three civilians.

MacKay said this list is very different from the original one supplied by the defence and with only three weeks until the start of the preliminary inquiry, she can't promise to call everyone the defence wants to hear from.

Defence lawyer Eugene Tan said he will subpoena witnesses for next month's preliminary inquiry. (CBC)

"I maintained throughout, regardless of what the Crown's case was, I was going to place those that the Crown didn't want to hear from under subpoena myself," defence lawyer Eugene Tan said outside court on Monday.

Tan said he's received 8,000 pages of evidence from the Crown and that prompted changes to his tactics and witness list. He remains confident the preliminary can be completed in the eight days that have been set aside.

Sandeson was charged on Aug. 20, four days after Samson was reported missing in Halifax.

Police have said the two men knew each other.


Blair Rhodes


Blair Rhodes has been a journalist for more than 35 years, the last 27 with CBC. His primary focus is on stories of crime and public safety. He can be reached at