5 jurors selected as murder trial begins in death of off-duty police officer

Disputes over texts and expert witnesses bog down Christopher Garnier hearing

More than two years after her body was found under Halifax's Macdonald Bridge, the trial of the man accused of killing an off-duty police officer is now underway.

Christopher Garnier, 29, is charged with second-degree murder in the death of Truro, N.S., police officer Catherine Campbell. He is also charged with improperly interfering with human remains.

He has pleaded not guilty to both charges.

The slow, careful process of jury selection began Monday morning with hundreds of people crammed into a downtown Halifax courtroom. Fourteen people will be chosen for the jury; so far, five jurors have been picked.

Garnier was charged in September 2015 after Campbell's body was found under the Macdonald Bridge a few days after the 36-year-old failed to report to her job.

Garnier has been free on bail under strict conditions since December 2016 after spending more than a year in custody.

Because of pre-trial publicity, prospective jurors are being questioned using a process called challenge for cause. They'll be asked whether they've heard anything about this case. If they have, they'll be asked whether they can put that out of their minds and concentrate only on the evidence they will hear at trial.

The process means a larger-than-normal jury pool has been called and selection will resume Tuesday.

While a 14-member panel will be chosen, only 12 people will ultimately decide Garnier's fate. Two extras are selected in case any juror is forced to drop out during the trial.

A total of 23 days have been set aside for the case, which means a verdict is expected just before Christmas.