Direct Evidence

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General Principles

Direct evidence is evidence that is put forward to directly establish a fact which resolves a matter at issue. No inferences of fact need to be drawn to resolve the matter at issue. A first-hand eyewitness testifying to seeing a criminal offence take place is the most obvious example of direct evidence.

Direct evidence is evidence, if believed, "resolves a matter in issue".[1] it is testimony on "the precise face which is the subject of the issue in trial".[2]

it is for the trier-of-fact to determine how far the evidence may be believed.[3]

  1. see Watt’s Manual of Criminal Evidence (1998), at par. 8.0 (“[d]irect evidence is evidence which, if believed, resolves a matter in issue”)
    McCormick on Evidence [page840] (5th ed. 1999), at p. 641
  2. J. Sopinka, S. N. Lederman and A. W. Bryant, The Law of Evidence in Canada (2nd ed. 1999), at par. 2.74 (direct evidence is witness testimony as to “the precise fact which is the subject of the issue on trial”)
  3. see United States of America v Shephard, [1977] 2 SCR 1067, 1976 CanLII 8 (SCC), per Ritchie J, at pp. 1086-87
    R v Arcuri, 2001 SCC 54 (CanLII), per McLachlin CJ, at para 22

Examples of Direct Evidence

Finger Prints

See also: Identity

The absence of direct evidence by way of finger prints does not foreclose proof of the offence by way of circumstantial evidence.[1]

  1. R v Ginnish, 2014 NBCA 5 (CanLII), per Green J, at paras 29 to 31

Blood Samples

See also: Seizure of Bodily Samples