Presentation of Evidence

Presentation of Evidence

Tools for Presenting Evidence

  • Evidence can be presented using visual aids, including diagrams, charts, photographs, and models.
  • Computer animation and simulation can recreate crime scenes or illustrate complicated situations.
  • Evidence displays such as tables or graphs can clearly present scientific data.

Admissibility of Evidence

  • Evidence must be relevant and reliable to be admissible in court.
  • Courts can exclude evidence if they deem it prejudicial - when the potential to bias or unfairly sway the jury’s decision outweighs its value for proving the case.
  • Evidence must not be obtained through unlawful means - such as an illegal search - or it may not be allowed in court.

Chain of Custody

  • Chain of custody refers to the documented and unbroken transfer of evidence. It guarantees the evidence has remained untouched since its collection.
  • The chain of custody demonstrates that the evidence presented in court is the same evidence collected at the crime scene, and it was not altered or tampered with in any way.
  • Breaking the chain of custody can lead to the evidence being deemed inadmissible in court.

Expert Witness Testimony

  • An expert witness uses their specific knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education to interpret evidence and help the court understand it.
  • They may provide unbiased expert opinions to explain complex scientific processes or facts.
  • Their credibility and the relevance of their testimony can be questioned by opposing counsel during cross-examination.

Forensic Reports

  • Forensic reports disseminate the findings of a scientific examination of the evidence.
  • They should be clear, concise, accurate and devoid of technical jargon to be comprehensible by non-technical individuals.
  • Forensic reports should include the methods used, the evidence, and the conclusions drawn based on the evidence.
  • The quality and strength of a forensic report can significantly affect the interpretation and use of the evidence in court.

Closing Arguments

  • The presentation of evidence concludes with a closing argument, where each side summarises the evidence and argues how it supports their case.
  • The closing argument is an opportunity to persuade the jury of a particular interpretation of the evidence.
  • Lawyers should aim to connect the evidence to the larger narrative of the case, helping the jury to understand and remember the importance of the evidence.