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The Trial of Sir Walter Raleigh

Winchester Castle
2 How. St. Tr. 1 (1603)


Sir Walter Raleigh (defendant) was charged with treason in connection with an alleged conspiracy to overthrow and kill the King of England. The prosecution alleged that Raleigh’s co-conspirator was Lord Cobham, who had already confessed to the conspiracy and implicated Raleigh. Cobham was convicted in a separate trial. The prosecution read Cobham’s confession, which was the only evidence against Raleigh, into evidence. Raleigh claimed that Cobham had implicated him only to save his own life. Raleigh sought to cross-examine Cobham about his confession, claiming that if Cobham testified, he would not lie about Raleigh’s involvement in the conspiracy. Raleigh asserted that Cobham’s confession, on its own, was unreliable hearsay.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning

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