Real & Demonstrative Evidence 

Vancouver, Canada - July 13,2020: Sign of Court of Appeal and Supreme Court in Downtown Vancouver

In courtrooms, evidence is presented to strengthen or disprove claims made by opposing parties during cases. If you’re a regular consumer of courtroom dramas or John Grisham books, you might have come across the legal terminology of “real” and “demonstrative” evidence. These types of evidence are integral in establishing facts during trials but can only be used if they’re admissible or relevant. 

So, what exactly is the difference between the two? Most evidence is broken up into different types. Real and demonstrative evidence both serve specific purposes, and to avoid any confusion, we’ll be going over what they each entail below:

Real Evidence 

Real evidence is often referred to as “physical evidence”, consisting of material items that must be relevant and authentic to the respective case. These items typically involve objects that the jury can physically hold, inspect, and visualize. In most cases, real evidence is admissible because it can be used to prove or disprove something during trials. 

Examples of Real Evidence 

The material objects involved in a case can be a variety of things. This can include forensic evidence, such as:

  • Blood
  • Fingerprints
  • DNA
  • Weapons used in the crime
  • Clothing
  • Footprints
  • Fibre samples


In many courtroom trials, photographs can be introduced as evidence. For example, a photograph of a crime scene or damage to a vehicle may be used, but the individual that took/processed it must make a statement to prove its authenticity. There may be instances where the photographs submitted are of the material objects. 

If an individual had received injuries related to the trial, such as scratches or scars, photos of their wounds may be taken and submitted as evidence. 

Video Recordings 

While photographs can be used as evidence, video recordings made by camera or CCTV can be submitted as real evidence. For example, if video evidence of a crime is recorded, it can be seized and kept for the duration of the trial. Much like photographs, the video recordings must be authenticated, and a statement must be made explaining how the video was shot. 

Most of the real evidence presented during the case can be viewed outside of court by the judge and jury with a physical copy. The materials can be referred to while the jury decides on a verdict.

Demonstrative Evidence 

Demonstrative evidence is a persuasive tool, as it demonstrates the evidence given by a witness/evidence found at the crime scene. An attorney can use this in their presentation to support the visual evidence given. The demonstrative evidence will need to reflect the descriptions of the witness accurately.

For most legal teams, a trial with a favourable outcome will depend on showing the jury the evidence. The human brain processes visual cues better, which can help in specific trials, especially when a lot is going on. Demonstrative evidence is a vital piece of the legal strategy, as it can be paired with real evidence, as well as persuade the jury to follow your argument.

Examples of Demonstrative Evidence 

Demonstrative evidence can include the following: 

  • Photos
  • Video recordings 
  • Sound recordings
  • X-rays
  • Diagrams
  • Maps
  • Graphs
  • Forensic animation
  • Drawings
  • Models
  • Simulations

Trials can be a complex and intimidating experience. With all the legal terminology, types of evidence, and standard courtroom practices, they can be hard to follow. That’s why you need the best out of your Winnipeg Law Firms – and we can give that to you. We have a big team of experienced and reliable attorneys that are ready to take on your case. If you require legal representation or criminal defence, call us today.