The man accused of murdering a young Nova Scotia woman dubbed ‘Pictou County’s Angel’ returned to court today for the start of a preliminary hearing.

Christopher Falconer, 30, of Heathbell, N.S. is charged with kidnapping and killing 19-year-old Amber Kirwan.

Before today’s hearing, the Crown asked for a publication ban of evidence for all media, including Facebook and Twitter.

“We’re trusting that people are going to abide by court order and, if not, they subject themselves to potential prosecution,” says Crown attorney Patrick Young.

Defence lawyer Mike Taylor consented to committal, which means that no matter the result of the hearing, his client has agreed to take the matter to trial.

“Well, to get a sense of what the evidence is going to be and try and determine how to go forward once you hear it,” says Taylor about holding a preliminary hearing.

Kirwan’s parents and friends were in court but did not speak to media.

Kirwan was last seen leaving Dooly’s pool hall in New Glasgow, N.S. around 1:30 a.m. on Oct. 9, 2011.

She was supposed to meet her boyfriend at Big Al's, a nearby convenience store, but he says she never showed up.

Her disappearance sparked an intense search, with police, ground search and rescue teams and RCMP conducting extensive ground and water searches for clues.

Family, friends and members of the typically quiet community launched a massive campaign to find her, handing out thousands of posters nationwide.

Kirwan’s remains were found in a wooded area of Heathbell, N.S. on Nov. 5, almost a month after she disappeared.

Falconer was charged with first-degree murder and kidnapping in May 2012.

Initially, 15 days had been set aside for the hearing, spread over six weeks.

However, with the defence agreeing to committal, the hearing will likely be shorter, although neither the Crown nor defence could say how long it will last. 

With files from CTV Atlantic's Dan MacIntosh