Louis Riel Case Study

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Conflict arose while many confrontations occurred between the Canadian forces and the members of the resistance. Riel and his men captured and arrested 48 of the government’s men in Fort Garry and sentenced “one particularly defiant man named Thomas Scott” (Smith, 1995) to death. According to Thomas (1982) the death of Scott was soon forgotten in the settlement, but in Ontario “the “murder” became a major issue”. He also wrote that it was Riel’s one great political blunder. Thomas (1982) specified that Riel promised to release all the other prisoners held at Upper Fort Garry. Quebec and Ontario were divided on their opinion of the resistance leader. Quebec was sympathetic to the cause while Ontario was opposed to any negotiation. However,…show more content…
According to Flanagan (2000), whether the trial itself was illegal has been debated ever since the trial was held (p. 132). It is difficult to determine if another person in his place would have been sentenced to death, or if the trial itself was lawful. The jury that would determine the fate of Riel is said to have been stacked against him, as it was not a mixture of the people who occupied the region: “all six jurors were white, Anglophone, and Protestant” (Groarke, 2013, p.5). The defence lawyers did not have a secure plan and did not accurately present the legal or moral side of Louis Riel’s case. The major defence that was brought forward was deeming the man insane and incapable of comprehending the difference between right and wrong. Riel was against the allegations and was determined to pledge his own case that he was sane and his actions were justified in order to gain rights for the Métis people. His lawyers, however, “threatened to withdraw from the case” when Louis protested (Groarke, 2013, p.6). In addition, Groarke (2013) wrote of the defences Riel raised in his speech to the jury. His first statement was that Canada had no dominion over the Northwest Territories at the time of the uprising, deeming them as an invader (p.9). Secondly, he explained that the Métis had a right to defend themselves against the invasion of Canada. Nonetheless, the court had not accepted the insanity defence nor Riel’s pleas. The outcome of the trial was not in favor of the Métis leader and the jury would claim him as guilty of high treason against the Canadian regime. He was sentenced to be hung in Regina, Saskatchewan. (Groarke,

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