Casement Trial

Posted By: May 15, 2016

 On This Day: Irish News, May 17, 1916

Eamon Phoenix. Irish News ( Belfast). May 17, 2016

Sir Roger Casement appeared yesterday at Bow Street Police Court, London to answer the charge of high treason which had been preferred against him as a consequence of his conduct in Germany during the War and his landing in Ireland nearly a month ago.
 Seldom has a case attracted so much public attention as that in which the British Ex-Consul, after an amazing career in an enemy country, is now called upon to stand his trial on one of the gravest charges to be heard in British courts.
     Casement was brought from the Tower of London in a taxi- cab at a very early hour. To the surprise of almost everybody in court, Casement on entering the dock was seen to be accompanied by a second prisoner. He proved to be an ex-soldier named Daniel Julian Bailey, stated formerly to have been a porter at Paddington. Casement, swarthy, sunken-eyed, his face wearing a set expression of brooding, was well-groomed and distinguished-looking.
A major witness was John Robinson of Ross Street, Belfast, formerly a corporal in the R.A.M.C. He said he had been in the army since 1906 and at the outbreak of war was in Dublin. On August 24, 1914, he was taken prisoner in France and interned at a POW camp and after a few months there the Irish soldiers received an order that they were to be together. They were given lighter work than the English prisoners and were put in huts by themselves. In December 1914 some 300 supposed to be Irish were moved to Limberg where the accommodation was good but the food bad.
Mr Bodkin – Do you remember someone coming to speak to the men there? – Yes. Casement.

How was he dressed? – In civilian clothes and a soft hat. What was he doing? – Spouting. (Laughter). Were many listening to him? – About 30 or 40. Irish soldiers? – Yes. What did he say? – He said that now was the time to fight for Ireland. He wanted us to form an Irish Brigade and said Germany was going to free Ireland.
 How was he treated by the men? – Sometimes he got a very poor reception. The men tried to hiss him out of the camp and I saw one fellow shove him. Casement visited the camp about four times, about a week between each visit. Casement promised them ten pounds each if they joined, and if Germany lost the war they would be sent to America.