A High Court jury is expected to begin hearing evidence in the trial of the man accused of murdering Grace Millane tomorrow.

Millane, a British backpacker on her OE, vanished the day before her 22nd birthday last year.

CCTV cameras last showed her alive entering Auckland's downtown CityLife Hotel with a man on December 1.

A 27-year-old man, who lived in the building at the time, was later charged with murder.

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Millane's body was found in a section of bush just 10m off Scenic Drive in West Auckland's Waitakere Ranges on December 9.

Yesterday, the accused's trial began with the selection of his jury in the High Court at Auckland.

The accused, who has interim name suppression, was dressed in court in a black shirt and navy suit.

When asked, he reaffirmed his not guilty plea to the murder charge.

The jury, which consists of seven women and five men, is due to begin hearing testimony tomorrow.

But Justice Simon Moore, who is presiding over the case, also spoke briefly to them yesterday before sending them home.

He reminded the jurors of their obligations, including warning them not to speak to anyone outside their number about the trial.

They had to approach the task "absolutely dispassionately", he said, and put aside anything they had seen, read or heard about the case.

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There had been a lot of material written and broadcast about Millane's death, Justice Moore said, but he added it was irrelevant and had "no bearing" on the trial or the jury's ultimate verdict.

"Anything you have seen or heard outside the courtroom has no place in your deliberations and you must consciously put those aside," he said.

"For you to adhere to the oath or affirmation you made... you have to keep an open mind."

The defendant's legal team is led by Ian Brookie, centre, Ron Mansfield, right, and Claire Farquhar, left. Photo / Michael Craig
The defendant's legal team is led by Ian Brookie, centre, Ron Mansfield, right, and Claire Farquhar, left. Photo / Michael Craig

The judge also reminded the 12 jurors that they must not undertake any inquiries of their own during the trial.

"From where you are sitting you literally have a grandstand seat, and it's the evidence in this court and nothing else, that you need to consider," he said.

"So for that reason you mustn't go out and search the internet - that's a judicial order, and the consequences for that are huge.

"It's all about fairness - fairness and open mindedness is central to our justice system."

Earlier, while speaking to the pool of potential jurors, Justice Moore said the case had already received an enormous amount of publicity.

He added it was "common knowledge" that Millane had died last December in the inner-city apartment occupied by the defendant.

Her disappearance and death, the judge said, was also followed by public vigils in Millane's memory.

Politicians further waded into the debate, he said.

"The story took the nation by storm."

The Crown Solicitor at Auckland Brian Dickey, pictured, is prosecuting the case along with former London barrister Robin McCoubrey. Photo / Michael Craig
The Crown Solicitor at Auckland Brian Dickey, pictured, is prosecuting the case along with former London barrister Robin McCoubrey. Photo / Michael Craig

Justice Moore asked any prospective jurors who had attended any of the vigils to disclose it before the trial began.

The accused, who is represented by well-known Auckland lawyers Ian Brookie and Ron Mansfield, will continue to have interim name suppression throughout the trial - the reasons for which are also suppressed and cannot be reported by media.

The Crown Solicitor at Auckland Brian Dickey, along with former London barrister Robin McCoubrey, are prosecuting the case.

Millane's parents, David and Gillian, arrived in Auckland at the weekend and spent a day with the police and prosecution team as they prepared for the evidence they are likely to hear during the trial.

Detective Inspector Scott Beard and Detective Senior Sergeant Greg Brand were also in court yesterday after leading the police's efforts to find Millane.