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Back To Evidence Briefs

The Trial of Sir Walter Raleigh for High Treason

Not Sure






A Contemporary Approach





Quick Notes

Sir Walter Raleigh was tried for treason for conspiring to kill the king.  Lord Cobhams confession was read into evidence and he was not allowed to be called as a witness.

Book Name

Evidence: A Contemporary Approach.  Sydney Beckman, Susan Crump, Fred Galves.  ISBN:  978-0-314-19105-2.



o         Whether Sir Walter Raleigh was given a fair chance to defend himself?  Hell No.




Guilty of Treason




Key Phrases


Pl King

Df Sir Walter Raleigh

Party Description

o          Sir Walter Raleigh was tried for treason.

o         He conspired to kill the king.

o         Raise a rebellion

o         Encourage the kings enemies to invade.

o         Sir Walter Raleigh pleaded not guilty.


o         Sir Walter Raleigh conferred with Lord Cobham about advancing Arabella Stuart to dispose of the King and getting the support of the King of Spain.


Sir Walter Raleigh

o         Represented himself, because in Df - in cases of treason did not have right to counsel.


Repeatedly Complained

o         The alleged co-conspirators confessions lead to Sir Walter Raleighs indictment.

o         Raleigh complained that Cobham did not appear in court.

o         His confession was read into evidence and use against Raleigh.

o         Cobham was held in a nearby jail and was available to testify.


Cobhams Confession

o         Basically said he was not engaged these activities.

o         Raleigh would not leave him along which pushed him to taking the letter.

o         But for Raleigh, he would not have been involved.


Raleighs Arg

o         The confession was to save Cobhams life.

o         He wanted Cobham brought into court to face his accuser.




o         If we bring him, he may retract what he formerly said, and the jury may be inveigled [lured].


Chief Justice

o         For so many horse stealer may escape, if they may not be condemned without witnesses.


Guilty of Treason








Class Notes

o    Starting Point For Hearsay

o    Most hearsay evidence is that such statements will generally not be admitted into evidence.


o    Fundamental Idea of excluding Hearsay evidence

o    To receive a fair trial.

o    One should be able to cross-examine on who speaks evidence relevant to the issues before the court.

o    We should distrust statement which have been made out-of-court and are merely repeated in the courtroom without the proper opportunity to question the speaker.

o    The judge or jury is no in a position to assess the accuracy of out of court statements.

o    The primary reason for excluding hearsay is that the trier of fact has not adequate basis for evaluating the declarants credibility, because the declarant was not subject to cross-examination under oath in the triers presence.