Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 September 2014

Top judge to lecture on death penalty

The use of the death penalty is to be examined at an event in Belfast to mark International Human Rights Day.

A public lecture being given by a High Court judge today will also explore the trial and execution of Roger Casement for treason nearly a century ago.

Mr Justice Bernard McCloskey is to speak on events surrounding the Irish patriot's hanging at Pentonville Prison, London in August 1916.

Casement — a British Consul who had been knighted and famed for his exposure of colonial slavery — quit the Foreign Office to dedicate himself to the cause of Irish nationalism.

He was arrested and later found guilty of treason after landing on a Co Kerry beach on a German ship laden with weapons just before the Easter Rising.

Mr Justice McCloskey is expected to look at Casement’s trial and execution.

His lecture will deal with the use of the death penalty today, the protection of the right to life in the United Kingdom, Europe and other jurisdictions, and the role of the law and the courts.

Those attending the event will also hear about the last hanging to be carried out in Northern Ireland.

Newry man Robert McGladdery was executed in Crumlin Road Prison in December 1961 after being convicted of murdering local girl Pearl Gamble.

McGladdery's trial proved a landmark in the debate on the use of capital punishment in the United Kingdom.

Mr Justice McCloskey will deliver his lecture — The Hanging of Roger Casement: the Death Penalty and the Right to Life — at the Great Hall, Queen's University, Belfast at 5.30pm.

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