Nova Scotia

Supreme Court to hear murder-for-hire case

The Supreme Court of Canada agreed Thursday to hear the case of a Nova Scotia woman who tried to hire a hit man to kill her husband.

The Supreme Court of Canada agreed Thursday to hear the case of a Nova Scotia woman acquitted of trying to hire a hit man to kill her husband.

Nicole Ryan 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 the trial, Ryan and other witnesses painted the 40-year-old as a victim of years of spousal abuse.

Ryan testified at her trial about a number of incidents between 2000 and 2004 when Michael Ryan, a member of the Canadian Armed Forces, threatened her with a gun.

Ryan’s lawyer Joel Pink said in court that years of abuse and the failure of the RCMP to intervene led his client to believe her husband would eventually kill her and their then-10-year-old daughter, Aimee

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 Nova Scotia Public Prosecution Service appealed that decision to the Supreme Court of Canada.

Ryan now lives with one of her sisters. Michael Ryan, who is retired and living in Ontario, has interim custody of their child.

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