A Preliminary Inquiry is a pre-trial hearing held in the Ontario Court of Justice. An accused can elect for a preliminary inquiry and choose either a Judge or a Judge and Jury to decide his case in Superior Court. The Preliminary Inquiry is meant to determine if there is enough evidence to warrant having an accused person stand trial. Please note this is a very low threshold for the Crown to prove. The “Sheppard Test” as you will hear it referred to in court examines whether there is “any evidence upon which a reasonably instructed jury could convict.” At this stage, defense counsel has the opportunity to test the evidence and set up the argument for trial. Usually after the Preliminary Inquiry the Crown’s office will seek higher penalties in the Superior Court of Justice.