Which court should I choose for my trial?

In Ontario, there are 2 levels of court that deal with criminal charges. These are the:

In some situations, you can choose the court your trial will be held in and who decides your trial. This is called “making an ”.

You might be able to choose to have your trial at the:

  • Ontario Court of Justice with a judge,
  • Superior Court of Justice with a judge, or
  • Superior Court of Justice with a judge and jury.

You're usually allowed to choose the court for your trial if you've been charged with a crime that could have a long jail . Examples of crimes with a long jail sentence include indictable offences, and hybrid offences that the Crown decides to treat as an .

Preliminary inquiries

You also have the option to ask for a preliminary inquiry if:

  • you choose to have your trial at the Superior Court of Justice, and
  • you could be jailed for more than 14 years if you're found guilty

A is when a judge at the Ontario Court of Justice looks at the Crown's to see if there's enough evidence to have a trial. If the judge thinks there's enough evidence, you will have a trial at the Superior Court of Justice.

Get legal help

Think carefully about how you want to handle your case. Talk to a lawyer or about your trial strategy and what would be best for you. Some things to think about include:

  • whether there are a lot of technical issues that would be better decided by a judge alone
  • your background and whether you would well in front of a jury
  • the type of crime you've been charged with and the sentence you could get
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