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Probative matter furnished by items that are actually on view, as opposed to a verbal description of them by a witness.
For example, a weapon used in the commission of a crime would be classified as real evidence.
West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
real evidencein the law of evidence, a nebulous category that broadly describes anything, other than a document, that is examined as a means of proof Examples include clothing and fibres, weapons, fingerprints and dental impressions, blood samples, tape recordings, film and video recordings. Its importance is that the jury or other fact-finder does what it will from the sight of the evidence and inspection of it. Real evidence does not exclude oral evidence, as is the case frequently with written evidence. Usually oral evidence is required to connect and make relevant the real evidence. Generally, the real evidence should be produced in court, an oral description being generally inadmissible.
Collins Dictionary of Law © W.J. Stewart, 2006