The Trial of Roger Casement

Officer’s Mess, Custume Barracks, on Tuesday, 4th October, 2016, at 8.00 pm

– Talk by Mr. Justice Donal O’Donnell, Supreme Court

Roger Casement, Easter Rising

Roger Casement (US Library of Congress)

Speaker – The Hon Mr Justice Donal O’Donnell is a Belfast-born barrister who comes from a distinguished legal family. He was a leading constitutional law practitioner and a law reform commissioner who has worked on a number of high-profile cases before being appointed to the Supreme Court in 2010. Mr. Justice Donal O’Donnell was educated at St Mary’s C.B.S., University College Dublin (B.C.L.), King’s Inns (B.L.) and the University of Virginia (LL.M). During his time at UCD, he excelled as an orator who, with his debating partner, was part of the only team to win the Observer Mace debate twice in 1978 & 1979. The Observer Mace  is the annual debating tournament contested by universities in England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. He was called to the Irish Bar in 1982, commenced practice in 1983 and was called to the Bar of Northern Ireland in 1989. He took silk in 1995 and has practised in all Courts in Ireland, in the European Court of Justice (ECJ) and the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR). While at the Bar he published articles in the Northern Ireland Legal Quarterly (NILQ), Judicial Studies Institute Journal (JSIJ), and Bar Review. His father, Lord Justice Turlough O’Donnell, was a member of the Northern Ireland High Court and the Court of Appeal between 1971 and 1990 and subsequently became a part-time member of the Irish Law Reform Commission. Donal O’Donnell has been a member of the Law Reform Commission since 2005. He is also a member of the Royal Irish Academy Committee on the Origins of the Constitution.

Summary – Roger Casement’s conviction for treason was a hugely controversial event at the time and the focus of world attention. His execution, in August 1916, was the final execution associated with the events of the Easter Rising. Mr. Justice Donal O’Donnell will provide an analysis of the circumstances and the course of Casement’s trial.

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