As experience trial lawyers, Lockyer Zaduk Zeeh takes a proactive approach to defending our clients. We subpoena evidence, we seek out witnesses, we hire private investigators, and we will work tirelessly with you to help prepare your best defence. We know that preparing a proper defence will result in acquittals.
If you are facing a criminal charge, and need a trial lawyer, please call us at (416) 613-0416 or (416) 595-9500 or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for a free consultation. We will meet with you to ensure you understand the court process, discuss the facts of your case and potential defences, and we will map out a trial strategy to help maximize your chances of an acquittal.
What is a Preliminary Hearing?
A preliminary hearing, also known as a preliminary inquiry, is conducted to determine whether there is enough evidence to proceed to trial. The purpose of a preliminary hearing is to provide a safeguard against unfounded prosecutions and to protect the accused from unnecessary trials.
During a preliminary hearing, the Crown presents evidence and witnesses to establish committal. The test for committal is whether there is enough evidence that a jury properly instructed could convict. The preliminary hearing judge would consider the Crown’s case at its highest to determine whether you should be committed to stand trial.
The defence can cross-examine witnesses and challenge the evidence presented by the prosecution. The defence may also present its own evidence or witnesses.
Why Should I Have a Preliminary Hearing?
There are several reasons why you may benefit from having a preliminary hearing:
- Evaluation of evidence: A preliminary hearing allows your defence attorney to evaluate the strength of the Crown’s case. It provides an opportunity to scrutinize the evidence, assess witness credibility, and identify any weaknesses or inconsistencies. This information can be crucial in devising a defence strategy.
- Be Discharged: During a preliminary hearing, the judge assesses whether there is enough evidence to order your committal. If the judge finds that there is insufficient evidence, the charges will be dismissed.
- Discovery of evidence: The preliminary hearing process often involves the disclosure of evidence by the prosecution. This allows your defence attorney to examine the evidence, identify any exculpatory evidence that supports your case, and gather information for the trial preparation.
- Witness examination: Cross-examining witnesses during the preliminary hearing can be beneficial for your defence. It allows your lawyer to challenge their testimony, probe for inconsistencies, and test the strength of the Crown’s case. This can help weaken the credibility of witnesses, which may have an impact on subsequent proceedings.
- Strategic advantage: The preliminary hearing can be an opportunity to gain insights into the prosecution’s case strategy. It allows your defense attorney to observe how the prosecution presents its case, the strength of their arguments, and any potential weaknesses that can be exploited during the trial.
- Case resolution possibilities: In some cases, a preliminary hearing can lead to negotiations or discussions between the Crown and the defence. It may provide an opportunity to explore the possibility of resolving the case through a plea bargain or other alternative resolution methods, potentially leading to a more favorable outcome.
Ultimately, the decision to have a preliminary hearing should be made in consultation with a lawyer. They can assess the specific circumstances of your case, evaluate the potential benefits and risks, and provide personalized advice based on their expertise and knowledge of the law in your jurisdiction.