Nova Scotia

SCOC asked to hear hit man case

The Supreme Court of Canada is being asked to hear the case of a Digby woman accused of trying to hire a hitman to kill her husband.

The Supreme Court of Canada is being asked to hear the case of a Digby County woman who admitted to trying to hire a hit man to kill her husband.

The Nova Scotia Public Prosecution Service said Thursday it's appealing the acquittal of Nicole Ryan.

The high school teacher was arrested in March 2008 and charged with counselling an undercover police officer to murder her husband, Michael Ryan.

In March 2010, a Nova Scotia Supreme Court judge found her not guilty on the grounds she feared for her life.

At trial, Ryan and other witnesses painted the 40-year-old as a victim of years of spousal abuse, including threats at gunpoint.

The Crown appealed that decision to the province's highest court, arguing the duress defence didn't apply because Ryan paid $10,000 to have her husband killed four months after the time she claims she received the last death threat from him.

The Nova Scotia Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal on March 29.

The province is hoping the highest court in the country will hear the case to answer questions about the defences of duress and self-defence.

"These are significant legal issues of public importance which the Crown wishes the Supreme Court of Canada to consider," Martin Herschorn, director of public prosecutions, said in a statement.

A formal notice to the Supreme Court of Canada is expected within the week.

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