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Social Sciences
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The Trials of Louis Riel (Research Paper Sample)


Research Essay Requirements: This assignment requires students to write a formal academic essay with a welldeveloped thesis statement, a body of logical arguments (main points) to support it. A formal conclusion, which restates your argument and sums up the main points made in your paper is also required. As with all formal essays, avoid direct reference to yourself, avoid the use of contractions and avoid colloquial language. A minimum of five sources must be used including at least one book. Other sources must qualify as credible academic sources (ie: journal articles). No Wikipedia, encyclopedias, dictionary sources or news articles/magazines will count as an official source. At least two Sources must have been published in 2007 or after. Any online sources must be credible academic sources (this means there is a listed author and credible academic references provided in the work). Most government publications can be considered as credible sources: however, no more than one such source may be used here. Any “news” types of sources may be used as supplementary material only - but they do not count toward one of the 5 required academic sources. (for example CBC news items, Maclean’s etc). Your essay should be an analysis of the research you have gathered, not a description or recounting of the sources. Parts of your research may be cited or quoted to support your analysis. Remember to reference any works that you borrow ideas or quotes from.


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The trial of Louis Riel when viewed from a legal perspective is imperative because it enables people assess how legitimate the government of Canada was during the terse war through which most people remember Louis Riel. The issues that affected Louis Riel throughout the trial have been overlooked in various literatures. The issues are however, imperative because they enumerates on how the case was handled. In fact, apart from the religious and racial prejudices experienced in the case, the processes of the case were manipulated and the subsequent trials failed to meet the common law and treason act requirement. Riel argued against his lawyers because the only defense of the cases provided in court was insanity and he believed that he was sane. He tried to defend himself further though the Crown finessed his attempts and concluded that the defense could not contest the case’s merit after raising the defense of insanity. The current paper seeks to illustrate that the case of Riel was not handled fairly and the verdict in this trial should be legally re-considered
The case was politicized rather than be handled according to the law. Indeed, Riel was tried based on religious and racial lines. This is depicted in Crowns theory in which Riel was portrayed as a religious and political charlatan who was motivated by personal interest. Similar falsification attracted the decision made in the court of Queen’s Bench that had stereotype about Riel.
Additionally, the magistrate appointed to handle the case was biased and lacked acumen as well as independence. The magistrate in the trial of Riel was the government’s political law officer in territories and was supposed to report to the attorney general. Indeed, the magistrate’s bias was clearly manifested in various incidences such as his participation in the meeting held by the officials of Bay Company, the police and the government official on a meeting held on March 1885. The meeting affirmed that Riel and the people who supported him were not supposed to proceed agitating. Additionally, the biasness of Richardson (the magistrate) was manifested when he personally chose his jury panel that consisted of Anglo-Saxon people exclusively. The biasness is also clear in his remarks during the charge to the jury because they were purely prejudicial.
It is also imperative to note that Richardson presided over the high treason trial despite the fact that he held the post of a magistrate. Indeed, at the end of his remarks he made ruling without providing reasons for the alleged evidence or whatsoever. It was also very appalling how Henry LeJeune seated next to him but said nothing concerning the verdict yet he had been silent from the time the trial started to the end. The charge against Riel was treated as one case
The magistrate also did not point out some significant facets to the jury. For instance, he failed to point out the difference between natural allegiance and local allegiance. More so, he did not mention the unavailable proof of the first charges in which Riel was the subject of British. As a result, the charges were never proven. Additionally, he did not point out that the Naturalization Act, 1881 provisions which postulated that an individual ceased from being a subject to the British if he voluntarily became naturalized in a foreign state. He also failed to point out the fact that the indictment against Riel had six counts and that, in the case they were supposed to have verdicts for the counts separately. It is also significantly important to note that the penal law should have been interpreted strictly according to the liability of execution because Canada was not within the 1351 Statute of Treasons, meaning and all charges were supposed...
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