The preliminary hearing in the second degree murder case of David Robert Thomas got underway at the courthouse in Kitchener on Monday.

Thomas, 49, was arrested and charged with second degree murder in July 2011 in connection with the death of 39-year-old Denise Bourdeau.

Bourdeau was last seen in the very early morning hours of New Year’s Day in 2007 leaving a Waterloo restaurant with what police have called a close acquaintance.

Her body was found nearly four months later on the banks of the Grand River in the Old Mill area of south Kitchener.

The hearing will determine whether the case goes to trial, and the next month is expected to be crucial for the Crown and defence attorneys.

Crown prosecutor Mark Poland says “We’ve got three and half weeks set aside for the hearing of evidence for a decision and it’s all about two things. One is giving the defence a look at what the Crown’s case is and the second thing is the decision of the judge whether or not there’s enough evidence to commit the matter to a trial.”

The defence would like to see the case end quickly, and not proceed to trial.

Defence lawyer Harold Cox says “As you know the bar is very low for committal to trial at a preliminary hearing, but because of the issues in this case, we’re hoping that we may be able to succeed simply at the preliminary hearing.”

A publication ban prevents reporting on any evidence or testimony at the hearing.

The hearing is expected to last at least three weeks.