A Halifax woman who tried to hire a hit man to kill her husband says she knows it was wrong, but she felt she had no other choice.

Nicole Doucet Ryan spoke to the CBC about her case on Monday. She had been charged with counselling to commit murder, but was acquitted. On Friday, the Supreme Court of Canada overturned that acquittal, but ordered the Crown to drop the case.

Speaking on CBC Radio's The Current, she described how the abuse began and what led her to her fateful decision.

"There was a lot of verbal abuse. The physical abuse would be throwing things at me, would be pinning me up against the wall, would be putting the gun to my head," she said.

"He had the gun to my head at least four times. He had knives to my throat."

Doucet said she turned to police to protect herself and her daughter, but was turned away.


Nicole Doucet Ryan, a high school teacher in southwestern Nova Scotia, was arrested in March 2008 and charged with counselling an undercover police officer to kill her husband, Michael Ryan. (CBC) (CBC)

"We had no way of escape, no way of ever saying and doing anything," she said. "I didn’t want to die. I didn't want my daughter to die. I wanted to live."

The supposed hit man was in fact an undercover RCMP officer. Doucet was arrested. Her husband and daughter now live in Ontario.

Her lawyer, Joel Pink, said the ruling didn't mean it was "open field" on abusive husbands, as the court made clear the ruling only applied to Doucet's "exceptional" case.

"I think it's a message to law enforcement that they must take a little more seriously complaints made from wives who claim to be abused," he said.

Click on the above audio to listen to the full 30-minute interview.