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Woman who hired hit man should not go free, says her ex-husband

Nicole Ryan of Nova Scotia tried to hire a hit man to kill her abusive husband.


The Supreme Court's decision to let Nicole Ryan go free despite overturning her acquittal for trying to have her husband killed is a "farce," her ex-husband Michael Ryan says.

A court decision last week rejected Ms. Ryan's claims that she wasn't culpable for hiring a hit man to kill Mr. Ryan because she'd done so under duress caused by her husband's abuse. The ruling found she shouldn't have been able to use that evidence, and so had been acquitted thanks to a legal error.

But the ruling let Ms. Ryan free anyway.

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"The circumstances of this case are exceptional and warrant a stay of proceedings," the ruling read. "Although the appeal should be allowed, it would not be fair to subject R to another trial."

In a video posted to YouTube Sunday, Mr. Ryan slammed the decision and denied Ms. Ryan's allegations of abuse.

"The Supreme Court of Canada's decision to avoid another trial, which would have ultimately include the testimonies of both the RCMP and I into Nicole Ryan's allegations, is a farce and a disgrace to our Canadian judicial system," he said.

The allegations against him "have left a dark cloud over my name and my family," Mr. Ryan said in the video. He asserted that Ms. Ryan "has painted me out to be a monster" and hired a hit man to kill him "for her own monetary gain – nothing more nothing less."

In 2008, Ms. Ryan sought out a hit man to kill her husband, not knowing the man she offered $25,000 was an RCMP undercover officer. She was arrested for counselling murder and was acquitted. The Crown appealed, then appealed a second court's acquittal.

The Supreme Court overturned the appeal, finding that "[t]he defence of duress is only available when a person commits an offence while under compulsion of a threat made for the purpose of compelling him or her to commit the offence. This was not R's situation."

Mr. Ryan, who said he "was denied the right to a voice during Nicole's trial," said in the video that a psychological assessment found Ms. Ryan wasn't caring properly for their daughter, now 12. "Emotional stressors and her diagnosis of depression were the results of conflicts she was having with her family, and not me," he said.

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