Duhaime's Law Dictionary


Direct Evidence Definition:

Evidence tendered in trial in the form of recounting of personal observations or a document which directly establishes a fact sought to be proven.

Related Terms: Evidence, Circumstantial Evidence

Evidence tendered at trial in the form of recounting of personal observations, or a document which directly establishes a fact sought to be proven.

Sometimes called real evidence.

In the Canadian Judicial Council's model jury instructions, February 2004, these words are used, contrasting direct evidence with circumstantial evidence:

"Usually, witnesses tell us what they personally saw or heard. For example, a witness might say that he or she saw it raining outside. That is called direct evidence.

"Sometimes, however, witnesses say things from which you are asked to draw certain conclusions. For example, a witness might say that he or she had seen someone enter the courthouse lobby wearing a raincoat and carrying an umbrella, both dripping wet. If you believed that witness, you might conclude that it was raining outside, even though the evidence was indirect. Indirect evidence is sometimes called circumstantial evidence.

"Like witnesses, things filed as exhibits may provide direct or circumstantial evidence.

"In making your decision, both kinds of evidence count. The law treats both equally. One is not better or worse than the other. In each case, your job is to decide what conclusions you will reach based upon the evidence as a whole, both direct and circumstantial. To make your decision, use your common sense and experience."

 


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