The preliminary inquiry for Johnathan Pratt, the man charged in connection with the alleged drunk driving incident that killed 18-year-olds Bradley Arsenault, Kole Novak and 22-year-old Thaddeus Lake, began Jan. 21, 2013 —more than a year after the actual incident occurred.

After two days of testimony the preliminary inquiry was adjourned until March 4th, 2013 at 9:30am to allow the testimony of an additional witness.

On Feb 22nd, the crown prosecutors' office was informed that the judge presiding over the preliminary inquiry was involved in a motor vehicle accident which has precluded his ability to conclude the hearing as scheduled.  He is not expected back at work until at least May 1st.

It appears unlikely that the preliminary hearing will conclude on March 4, 2013 as planned unless the defence counsel decides not to hear from the last remaining witness.  In that case, they could still consent to have the matter proceed to the Court of Queen’s Bench at the March 4 appearance date.

Pratt is facing three counts of impaired operation causing death, three counts of over driving while over the legal blood alcohol limit of 0.08 mg causing death and three counts of manslaughter.

He was released on bail in late February, 2012.

A preliminary inquiry is to determine if the Crown prosecutor has enough evidence to justify a trial.

The purpose for the defense is to explore the case and know exactly what evidence is against the client. It is almost identical to a trial, in that witnesses are brought in, examined and cross-examined under oath.

The difference between a trial and a preliminary inquiry is the defense doesn’t present anything.


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Last updated on: 2013-05-08 | Link to this post