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Everything You Need to Know About Evidence in a Criminal Trial

January 18, 2024   |   Manbir Sodhi   |  
Criminal Trial Lawyer in Brampton
Criminal Trial Lawyer in Brampton

Everything You Need to Know About Evidence in a Criminal Trial

When preparing for a criminal trial, defence lawyers and prosecutors gather evidence that supports their case. The prosecution will need to present the relevant evidence that proves a defendant committed a crime. The defendant’s legal team will counter that argument with their own case to sway the judge or jury. 

Learn more about evidence in a criminal trial and the role it plays in court proceedings. 

What is Evidence?

When lawyers and judges discuss a piece of evidence, they’re referring to a fact in a case. This can include physical objects such as a weapon or items from the crime scene, digital findings like phone records, and scientific data such as forensic tests. 

Written and verbal witness testimonies can also provide evidence in a criminal trial since every witness who takes the stand swears to the truth. Some cases also use demonstrative evidence during a trial. This refers to charts or illustrations that break down a complex topic into information that’s easy to evaluate. 

Types of Evidence Presented in a Criminal Case

Defence lawyers and prosecutors typically present two main types of evidence in a case: direct and circumstantial evidence. Both have their place in a trial and can be equally important for influencing a jury’s decision. However, direct evidence, including witness testimonies or scientific data, focuses on the nature of the crime itself. 

Circumstantial data centers around the defendant’s actions in hopes of proving or disputing their criminal intent. For example, say the police charge someone with attempted robbery. If the defendant recently lost their job and source of income, a prosecutor could present that as circumstantial evidence to make them seem more likely to rob a business. 

Is There Evidence That Lawyers Can’t Use?

The judge can accept both direct and circumstantial evidence in a criminal trial as long as it’s relevant to the case. Irrelevant evidence has little probative value and, therefore, doesn’t do much to prove a fact within the court proceedings. All irrelevant evidence is inadmissible in court, along with the following:

  • Unlawfully gathered evidence: If prosecutors compile pieces of evidence that violate the defendant’s rights, they cannot present them in court. This could include physical objects that law enforcement retrieves at the defendant’s home without a search warrant. 
  • Hearsay: Unreliable statements made by people other than the defendant cannot be admissible evidence in a trial. 
  • Prejudicial evidence: A judge must deem all evidence to have probative value. For example, if the evidence one party presents only showcases poor judgment from the defendant but not the case at hand, it becomes prejudicial instead of probative. 

Lawyers must ensure that they have enough admissible evidence to present their case. 

Contact a Criminal Defence Lawyer in Brampton

Compiling sufficient evidence in a criminal trial often decides the case’s outcome. If you’re about to stand trial and need an experienced criminal lawyer who will advocate for you, contact the law office of Manbir Singh Sodhi. Call 905-457-2546 to schedule a legal consultation and begin working on your defence case.

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