What is the difference between Direct Evidence and Circumstantial Evidence?

This article describes the differences between Direct Evidence and Circumstantial Evidence.

Direct Evidence

  1. Direct evidence is evidence to the precise point in issue.
  2. Direct evidence directly establishes the commission of the offence.
  3. Direct evidence is known as positive evidence.
  4. Example: A murdered B. C and D saw the incidence of murder and deposed before the court. A and B’s evidence is direct evidence.
  5. Direct evidence is superior to the circumstantial evidence.
  6. Direct evidence is that what the witness saw the incident with their own eyes, or heard with their own ears, and perceived with their own senses.
  7. By the direct evidence, the court easily and safely comes to a conclusion.
  8. Direct evidence is safer than circumstantial evidence.
  9. There are two chances of errors in direct evidence:
    • Mistake of the witnesses;
    • Mendacity on the part of witnesses.
  10. In direct evidence, the witness deposes the evidence taking oath. Even then, there are chances of telling false.
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Circumstantial Evidence

  1. Circumstantial evidence is that which relates to a series of other facts in issue, which have been found to be so closely associated with that fact in relation to the cause and effect that they lead to some definite conclusion.
  2. The circumstantial evidence does so by placing circumstances, which lead to irresistible inference of guilty.
  3. Circumstantial evidence is known as presumptive evidence.
  4. Example: B was murdered, at 5-pm. In his own house. C saw A coming from the house of B at 5-15pm. With blood shredded knife in his hand. D gave the evidence that A and B seriously quarreled on the day before the occurrence of murder. E police officer seized the blood shredded knife from the almirah in the house of A. F-expert deposed that the blood of the decreased and blood shredded knife of A was one same. These chains of evidences are “circumstantial evidence”.
  5. Circumstantial evidence is inferior to the direct evidence.
  6. Under the Indian evidence act, “circumstantial evidence” is included under the expression “relevant facts” and it is provided that all “relevant facts” require to be proved by some evidence oral or documentary, that is to say, by direct evidence.
  7. Circumstantial evidence, to be relied upon, must not only oint to the inference to be drawn by the court, but it must be of such a nature that it can possibly lead to no other inference.
  8. Circumstantial evidence is a substitute, where the direct evidence is not available.
  9. There are three chances of errors in circumstantial evidence:
    • Mistake of the witnesses;
    • Mendacity on the part of witness;
    • The inference from the fact proved may be fallacious.
  10. Circumstantial evidence is a series of facts. It is a chain of evidences. The correct inference can be drawn from all these series of facts. Persons may tell lie, but the facts of circumstances will not.
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