Louis Riel: a case study in involuntary psychiatric confinement.Can Psychiatr Assoc J 1978; 23(7):463-8CP
Louis Riel was confined against his will in insane asylums from March 6, 1876 to January 23, 1878. Psychiatrists and historians have generally interpreted his certification as an act of benevolence to Riel at a time when he was non compos mentis. However, detailed study of surviving records and manuscript sources shows that the commitment was legally suspect in a number of ways: proper signatures were lacking, pseudonyms were used, records were falsified, and so on. Moreover, while Riel was clearly a religious enthusiast with eccentric ideas, there was no proof that he was dangerous to himself or others at this time. We may thus wish to revise our interpretation of Riel's certification. It was not an act of benevolence but an illegal and unjustifiable deprivation of liberty.