Trial of P. H. Pearse

prisoner number one

DATE: 2 May 1916
LOCATION: Richmond Barracks
JUDGES: Brigadier-General C.G. Blackader (President), Lieutenant Colonel G. German, Lieutenant Colonel W.J. Kent

‘Did an act to wit did take part in an armed rebellion and in the waging of war against His Majesty the King, such act being o such a nature as to be calculated to be prejudical to the Defence to the Realm and being done with the intention and for the purpose of assisting the enemy’

PLEA: Not guilty
(The members of the court and witnesses were duly sworn in)

VERDICT: Guilty. Death by being shot

Text of Trial

2nd Lt. S. O. King 12th Royal Inniskillen Fusiliers (12th Batt) being duly sworn states ¬I was on duty at the Rotunda Dublin on Saturday the 29th April. The Sinn Féin was firing at the soldiers. The accused came from the neighbourhood from which the shots were being fired. The accused was in the same uniform in which he is now with belt, sword and revolver on and 3 with ammunition. The accused surrendered to General Lowe.

The accused cross examines the witness.¬

Q. Were you a prisoner in our hands and how were you treated.
A. I was and was very well treated.

The witness withdraws.

Constable Daniel Coffey Detective Department Dublin Metropolitan Police being duly sworn states.¬-
I was present when the accused Pearse was in custody at Irish Command HQ at about 5pm on Saturday the 29th April. I identify him as a member of the Irish Volunteers. I have seen him several times going through the city with bodies of men and acting as an officer.

The Accused does not cross examine this witness.

Sgt G. Goodman Military Press at Staff Corps being duly sworn states –
I was on duty at Arbour Hill Detention Barracks on the 1st May. I saw the accused writing the letter now produced to the Court. He handed it to me. The letter is marked
X and attached signed by the President.
The Accused does not cross-examine this witness ¬
Prosecution closed.

The accused calls no witnesses in his defence.

The accused makes the following statement.
My sole object in surrendering unconditionally was to save the slaughter of the civil population and to save the lives of our followers who had been led into this thing by us. It is my hope that the British Government who has shown its strength will also be magnanimous and spare the lives and give an amnesty to my followers, as I am one of the persons chiefly responsible, have acted as C-in-C and president of the provisional Government. I am prepared to take the consequences of my act, but I should like my followers to receive an amnesty. I went down on my knees as a child and told God that I would work all my life to gain the freedom of Ireland. I have deemed it my duty as an Irishman to fight for the freedom of my country. I admit I have organised men to fight against Britain. I admit having opened negotiations with Germany. We have kept our word with her and as far as I can see she did her best to help us. She sent a ship with men. Germany has not sent us gold.