CIRCUMSTANTIAL EVIDENCE, evi dence which tends to prove a particular fact by the proof of other facts, from which it is concluded that the particular fact must lave happened. It is the natural and reasonable in ference resulting from facts which have been established.
If A is on trial for the murder of B, and a witness testifies that he saw A shoot B, and a few minutes later B died, that would be direct evidence; whereas if the witness testified that B had been shot and the bullet found in the body of B was of a particular make only used by A and that A was in the neigh borhood at the time of the shooting, the jury might infer that A was guilty; but if A could prove that his pistol had been stolen from him shortly before the shooting and he had not recovered it at the time of the shooting, it would be a complete defense and the verdict would depend on the credibility of the wit nesses.
Circumstantial evidence is of two kinds: that from which a certain conclusion neces sarily follows and that from which a certain conclusion is only probable or likely. If the body of a man is found with a bloody right hand impression on a part of his body where it is impossible for him to put his right hand, the presumption is that some one was present at or since the time the person was hurt; but if that is all of the evidence, it is impossible to tell whether the bloody impression was made by the person at the time of the assault, or by some one after the assault had been committed. In civil cases the jury may decide according to the weight of the evidence; but to convict a person of a crime the evidence must be such as to leave no reasonable doubt as to his guilt. See CRIMINAL LANT.