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Trial of Roger Casement opens in London
Sir Roger Casement arriving at Bow Street for his trial Photo: National Library of Ireland, CAS56B

Trial of Roger Casement opens in London

London, 16 May 1916 - The trial of Sir Roger Casement opened in London yesterday at Bow Street.

He is charged with high treason, relating to events where he is believed to have organised and overseen the attempted importation of arms from Germany in support of the armed insurrection in Dublin at Easter.

Opening the case, Sir F.E. Smith – the Attorney-General – outlined out Sir Roger Casement’s career in the Consular Service and then set out the efforts he had made to recruit Irish soldiers, currently being held in German prison camps, to fight against Britain.

He said that Casement had offered the men the promise of money, free passage to America and a bonus after the war - provided they joined an Irish brigade and fought for the liberation of Ireland.

The Attorney-General then sketched out Casement’s voyage to Ireland aboard a German submarine, his landing on the Kerry coast and his subsequent arrest.

The court was also told of the sinking of the Aud, which had on board a huge consignment of arms bound ultimately for the rebels in Dublin.

Admission ticket to attend the Roger Casement trial. (Image: National Library of Ireland, MS 49154/162)

The trial is attracting extraordinary popular interest in London, and the courtroom and its precincts were filled with members of the press.

It is not clear yet how long it may last.

[Editor's note: This is an article from Century Ireland, a fortnightly online newspaper, written from the perspective of a journalist 100 years ago, based on news reports of the time.]

RTÉ

Century Ireland

The Century Ireland project is an online historical newspaper that tells the story of the events of Irish life a century ago.