Examples Of Circumstantial Evidence

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1. Circumstantial evidence, also known as ‘indirect’ evidence, is often dismissed as being weaker than direct evidence. By its very definition, circumstantial evidence seems to be less credible because it requires an extra step of inference to determine a conclusion that might not even be the truth. Evidence is powerful when it successfully establishes facts and fulfills the burden of proof. Powerful evidence is credible, and paints a clearer picture of the truth, which allows courts to make more informed decisions in the interests of justice. Circumstantial evidence has proven to be powerful where there is little or no direct evidence, and is also more credible in relation to error rates of wrongfully convicted crimes. However, the use of…show more content…
An additional step of inference is necessary in circumstantial evidence which demands a speculation on inductive instead of deductive grounds. This adduces the perception that it is less credible. For example, instead of “given X, Y must follow,” circumstantial evidence works as such – “given X, it is likely that Y will follow.” Thus, it is natural to be skeptical of the credibility of circumstantial evidence as the use of assumptions and generalizations are innately less precise and ultimately, the truth is still unknown. Therefore, the possibility that there might be another probable (and innocent) explanation for the existence of that evidence must also be contemplated upon.
III. Circumstantial evidence is not inferior

4. However, the fact that circumstantial evidence uses an inductive basis is not necessarily an indication of inferiority. In the seminal case of R v Exall which was famously founded on circumstantial evidence, it was explained by Pollock CB that:

“One strand of the cord might be insufficient to sustain the weight, but three stranded together may be quite of sufficient strength. Thus it may be in circumstantial evidence - there may be a combination of circumstances, no one of which would raise a reasonable conviction, or more than a mere suspicion: but the whole taken together, may create a strong conclusion of guilt, that is, with as much certainty as human affairs can require or admit
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Circumstantial evidence has played a big part in delivering justice in Singapore. In 1966 the court in Ang Sunny v Public Prosecutor concluded that the Prosecution’s evidence, while wholly circumstantial, “drives you inevitably and inexorably to the one conclusion and one conclusion only.” In 1995, the judge was satisfied that the chain of circumstantial evidence proved beyond reasonable doubt that the appellant was the one who fired the shot to Karamjit Singh’s ankle in Ng Theng Shuang v Public Prosecutor. Similarly, the case of Kong See Chew v Public Prosecutor in 2001, the totality of the circumstantial evidence provided “led to the irresistible conclusion that Chew had committed the offence he was charged
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