What is a preliminary inquiry?

4. Go to your preliminary inquiry

At your , the judge looks at the Crown's to see if there's enough evidence to have a at the .

The Crown usually asks the witness questions first. You or your lawyer get to ask questions after in .

All questions and answers are recorded. You can get transcripts to use as evidence at your trial.

Your goal at the preliminary inquiry is to find out the details of what a witness says they know about your case. At the end of your cross-examination, it's a good idea to ask a witness if there “is anything else that's important that you would like to say”. This way the witness' full is recorded at the preliminary inquiry. This makes it difficult for them to add other details to their testimony later at trial.

For example, if the witness says something different at trial, you can use the transcript from the preliminary inquiry to challenge a witness' version of events. Pointing out the difference in what a witness says at trial with what they said earlier is called “impeaching” a witness. When you impeach someone, you show their memory may not be reliable and what they say can't be believed.

At the end of the preliminary inquiry, you and the Crown can make closing statements about why you should or should not have a trial.

Or, you can decide to “concede ” to trial. This means you agree to have a trial.  If you agree to have a trial, you might decide not to make closing statements because, for example, you don't want to make the Crown aware of weaknesses in their case.

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