Author(s) Patrícia Silva Pereira
Advisor(s) Maria Clara Calheiros
Synopsis Circunstancial evidence (indiciary is the term closest to the Portuguese one) will be the subject of our study, more precisely the means by which it is admitted and assessed in the criminal procedure. Circunstancial evidence (the revealing yet not so accurate English term) is, by contrast to direct evidence, one kind of evidence in which a inference is required to actually accomplish some knowledge about the fact to prove. From the concept of truth, facts, evidence, presumption and the restrictions imposed by law in the search for truth (the same is to say for evidence) the goal is to ascertain how the Portuguese courts use this kind of evidence to come to a belief of guilt beyond reasonable doubt. To achieve that goal one must study the decisions from the superior courts which can provide full perspective of the criteria used to admit, or not, the proof of the facts essential to the conviction by means of the so-called circunstancial, indirect, artificial or logical evidence. Portuguese courts find inspiration in the solutions presented by Italian and Spanish law, doctrine and jurisprudence which renders their analysis indispensable. From that standing point, the next step is to see how the Portuguese courts aplie and value the indiciary evidence, specially the probatory value acknowledge to the indirect evidence and the limitations to its admission.
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