Demonstrations

Demonstrations

Demonstrations after a type of real evidence that are utilized less often in criminal trials. A demonstration involves an individual acting out or recreating a specific event for the court to see.

In criminal trials, the trial judge has discretion to allow demonstrations in court or not. A judge may permit a demonstration where doing so assists the court in understanding what the witness is trying to convey.

Example

Person A is on trial for sexual assault and assault – choking. Person B, the complainant, testifies that person A choked her with both hands while leaning over her while she was lying on her back on a bed. Person B is cross-examined by defence counsel, who suggests that her version of events is not physically possible. Person B demonstrates with her own hands, the placement of person A’s hands around her neck. This demonstration is visually seen by the judge and/or jury, who then make their own determination regarding whether or not person B’s version is plausible.

Common Examples of Demonstrations as Evidence

Common examples of demonstrations used in criminal trials include:

  • A witness acting out and describing how they were assaulted on the stand
  • An expert witness’s description of how an injury likely occurred