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Independent MLA Trevor Zinck is charged with theft, fraud and breach of trust. (CBC)

A preliminary inquiry for MLA Trevor Zinck, charged with fraud-related offences in Nova Scotia's MLA expense scandal, started Thursday morning.

Zinck, the Independent MLA for Dartmouth North, is charged with one count each of theft over $5,000, fraud over $5,000 and breach of trust.

Zinck declined to speak to reporters as he arrived in Halifax provincial court on Thursday for his preliminary hearing. He has already elected to be tried by a judge alone.

The Crown is expected to call six witnesses over a two-day preliminary inquiry. There is a wide publication ban on any evidence heard during the hearing, which has already been postponed several times.

Nova Scotia RCMP's commercial crime section laid charges against Zinck and three former provincial politicians — Liberal Russell MacKinnon, Liberal Dave Wilson and Progressive Conservative Richard Hurlburt — in February 2011, after an eight-month investigation.

Auditor General Jacques Lapointe turned over his files to the RCMP after he looked at MLA spending between July 2006 and June 2009 and found "excessive" and "unreasonable" claims by some of the province's 52 MLAs.

In the aftermath of that audit, Hurlburt and Wilson resigned their seats. Zinck was kicked out of the NDP caucus.

MacKinnon was an MLA until 2006.