Preliminary inquiries are held before trial to determine if there is enough evidence to try the accused. Note these inquiries are only held in cases involving indictable offences. The accused or the prosecutor can request a preliminary inquiry after the judge reads the election address pursuant to Section 536. Note where there are multiple accused persons, any of the accused can request a preliminary hearing and the request will be binding to the other parties.
During the preliminary inquiry, the accused is required to be present, as is their lawyer. Also present will be the judge and the Crown. The burden of proof in a preliminary inquiry is the same as in a directed verdict or a motion for non-suit.
1. Once you have requested a preliminary inquiry, you will then, within the timelines defined by the rules of the court or the justice in the absence of such rules, give the court and the opposing party a statement identifying the issues you want to give evidence on at the inquiry and the witnesses that you want to hear at the inquiry.
2. You will present the orders you want given, the most popular of these being publication bans preventing the media from reporting on the proceedings of the hearing, public bans excluding the public from the hearings, witness exclusions preventing witnesses from being present when they are not on the stand, absence orders if, under certain circumstances, you will not make it to the proceedings, and counsel table, allowing you to sit at the counsel table. Also discussed are publication bans on such matters as the complainant’s identity, witnesses’ identify, and evidence of preliminary inquiry.
3. The side that requested for a preliminary inquiry can call witnesses to give testimonies while the Crown can also submit recordings and statements. The other party has a right to cross-examine the witnesses in chief.
4. Both sides will have an opportunity to make submissions to the court after the witness examinations and cross-examinations.
5. The judge will then make a ruling. The outcome with be the dismissal of the case in its entirety or the accused being committed to stand trial.
It is not always wise to present a defence case at the preliminary hearing since the Crown will have a glimpse of your strategy to your detriment. At Costa Law Firm, we will come up with a winning strategy and do everything it takes to mask it from the Crown.
A lawyer understands the importance of preliminary inquiries. Note that if you do not request a preliminary inquiry, the court will assume you have waived your right to a preliminary hearing (Section 536(4.3), which could have devastating consequences on your defense strategy.
Hiring a lawyer for a trial offers convenience, allowing you to continue with life as best as you can, and you will have peace of mind knowing a professional is on the job.
Call us today at (416) 535-6329 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.