Nova Scotia

Family of William Sandeson say they were kept from attending trial

Members of William Sandeson’s family made their first appearance at his trial on Monday. They were back in court on Tuesday, at which time they distributed a handwritten statement to media, accusing the Crown of keeping them away.

Prosecutor says it was never Crown's intention to prevent family from being present in court

This photo of William Sandeson was taken by police following his arrest on Aug. 19, 2015. (Court exhibit)

Family members of William Sandeson are blaming the Crown for keeping them away from his first-degree murder trial, which began in mid-April and is currently hearing closing arguments in Halifax.

Sandeson is accused in the August 2015 death of Taylor Samson, a fellow Dalhousie University student whose body has never been found.

Members of Sandeson's family attended the trial for the first time Monday at Nova Scotia Supreme Court. They returned Tuesday, at which time they distributed a handwritten statement to reporters explaining their absence.

"We are disappointed and disturbed by the Crown's use of subpoenas to keep us out of the courtroom for the entire trial period," the unsigned note read.

"Under the exclusion of witness process, anyone subpoenaed is not allowed to be present in the courtroom until after giving testimony. We were never called as witnesses."

'It was never our intent' to exclude family

Prosecutor Susan MacKay said it was never the Crown's intention to exclude Sandeson's family.

She said it was decided early on that their testimony wouldn't be needed and that was conveyed to the defence.

"I won't get into what discussions were held between defence counsel and the Crown," MacKay said outside court.

Sandeson's mother, father, younger brother and former girlfriend were among the group that started attending the trial this week.

A handwritten statement provided to media from the family of William Sandeson. (Blair Rhodes/CBC)


Blair Rhodes


Blair Rhodes has been a journalist for more than 40 years, the last 31 with CBC. His primary focus is on stories of crime and public safety. He can be reached at