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Criminal Law Vocabulary

Preliminary inquiry hearing

A preliminary inquiry hearing is an option available to an accused charged with an indictable offence. At the preliminary inquiry the Crown calls some evidence and the accused person has the right to cross-examine witnesses to test the Crown’s case and to get a better idea what the witnesses are expected to say at the trial. The only decision that the Court will have to make at the completion of the preliminary inquiry is whether the accused person should be committed to stand trial. The threshold is very low. If there is any evidence upon which a reasonable jury, properly instructed, could return a verdict of guilty, the preliminary inquiry Judge must commit the accused to stand trial. One of the key functions of the preliminary inquiry, from the defence perspective, is discovery. The preliminary inquiry is a very powerful tool for the defence in preparing for the trial. If the accused person is committed to stand trial, the matter will then proceed to the Superior Court of Justice and the Crown counsel will prepare an indictment.

Vladimir Fedorchuk

Barrister & Solicitor
120 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 500
Toronto, Ontario
M4P 1E2

Cel: 647-203-9636
Fax: 647-776-3168

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