Friday, January 18, 2013

Supreme Court Drops Battered Wife Case

Image Source: Reuters


January 23, 2012

Michael Ryan, the target of his ex-wife's foiled hit man plot, is now sharing his own version of events with the media. While admitting that he has struggled with anger management issues in the past, he categorically denies what Nicole Doucet Ryan's lawyers called a "reign of terror" over her and their daughter. According to Ryan, the two had separated and were living apart amicably until he asked for a divorce. At that point, he claims his Doucet Ryan began making false claims to the police.

He refers to evidence not revealed in court which contradicts her testimony that she had been a victim of years of abuse: 

Ryan, who has copies of most of the public court documentation in his ex-wife's case and has obtained other documents through access-to-information requests, said Nicole Doucet Ryan told the doctor who performed her post-arrest psychiatric evaluation that her husband never abused her.
"She actually stated in there that she was thinking of having me killed back in September 2007 and the doctor had asked her about the conversation with the hit man, 'Why you wanted him killed before April 1st,' and she stated that she didn't want to look at me at the custody hearing." Source: CBC News

In fact, psychiatric evaluations performed on Doucet Ryan were so unfavourable that sole custody of their daughter was awarded to Ryan; she is reportedly happy living with him and his new wife and son in Ontario.

"This psychologist is the only person that has investigated the whole situation between myself and Nicole," Michael Ryan said. "[She] basically reported that Nicole was exaggerating her concerns about me." Source: CBC News

Nicole Doucet Ryan's lawyers disagree with that assessment, saying that it was based on "incomplete information." 

Given what I have been reading in the news today, I have come to the decision that my original post on this topic was based on incomplete information. Shame on me for assuming that the claims against Ryan had been verified before they were used as the sole basis for excusing a conspiracy to commit murder charge.

Here's the original post...

The Supreme Court of Canada has ordered the Crown to drop its case against Nicole Doucet Ryan, a high school teacher from Nova Scotia who tried to hire a hit man to kill her husband, Michael Ryan. She had previously testified that her marriage was fraught with abuse, claiming that he had threatened her with a gun on numerous occasions, thrown pieces of furniture at her, and once threatened to "burn the fucking house down" while she and her daughter were inside if she tried to leave him.

Doucet Ryan also told the court that she had contacted the RCMP on nine separate occasions seeking protection from her husband, but was told by police that it was a "civil" matter and that there was nothing they could do. When she began seeking the services of a hit man, and undercover officer was deployed to pose as a contract killer and Doucet Ryan was arrested immediately after agreeing to the transaction.

In their decision, Supreme Court Justices Louis LeBel and Thomas Cromwell noted that:

" seems the authorities were much quicker to intervene to protect Mr. Ryan than they had been to respond to her request for help in dealing with his reign of terror over her."

And that, my dear friends, is why these guys wear the Supreme Robes. It does my heart good to see justice ultimately served in this case. 

Doucet Ryan's defense was that she had acted under duress in counselling to commit murder. Legally, duress is defined as: unlawful pressure exerted upon a person to coerce that person to perform an act that he or she ordinarily would not perform. 

Those familiar with the case against Karla Homolka may recall that a similar claim of duress was offered up in defense of her role in the kidnapping, sexual assault, and murder of Ontario teenagers Leslie Mahaffy and Kristen French. Opponents argued that while duress may be a valid explanation concerning victims who respond violently to their abusers, it was difficult to accept duress as a defense for violence perpetrated against an innocent party.

More Information...

CBC News

CBC News

CBC News

CBC News


  1. Maybe a *tiny* little bit of "shame on you" for assuming that the justice system had done their job. I know - it's a fantasy we all live with...

    But much bigger kudos to you, my dear, for actually correcting yourself and your position, based on the new information. Seems small, but not very often done.

    If everyone did that one teeny tiny little thing (teeny tiny - but momentous) WKH, this website, and 3/4 of victim &/or MH services wouldn't even need to exist.

    Good on you that you were able to do it so easily and graciously, when so many others aren't interested in considering it in the first place.

    1. Thanks for your comment. Personally, I think it's not only ridiculous, but harmful not to consider all available information. I try to maintain fluidity in my point of view. This is not to say that I now buy into Michael Ryan's account 100%, rather that I am willing to admit that my initial elation was based upon conclusions I jumped too quickly to make.

      I am interested in hearing more from the RCMP, who have said they plan to investigate Doucet Ryan's claims regarding her contact with them.

    2. Agreed. That's why it's so puzzling and frustrating that there was zero investigation of this.

      Found this interesting article, with many comments by Mr. Ryan

      I certainly hope we hear more about this story, and get some actual facts for a change.

      God help the poor young daughter caught in the middle of all this.

    3. Actual facts from the Canadian Justice System? Surely, you jest ;)

  2. Thanks for posting that, btw.

    Is it just me, or is the way the CBC article reports on this kind of - oh what's the word? - creepy, misleading, confusing? Instead of posting a video interview of Mr. Ryan, or a broadcaster discussing this new story, they just provide a link to his video log, and merely repeat that "Mr Ryan said", without absolutely NO verification OR denial of any of his assertions, no interviews with relevant RCMP members, no follow-up on any of the many legal issues his former wife was involved with that he refers to: his former SIL's assertion that Nicole tried to kill her for instance. If, as he says, all of this is on the public reccord, then why was there zero effort on the part of CBC reporters to either confirm or refute that? Surely to heaven you wouldn't go 'to press' with nothing more than that?

    Does no-one in the media actually do any investigation anymore? Do they all just get by (selectively) repeating things they found on the net?

    1. I have wondered about this, myself, as I have noticed the decided lack of "investigation" as well. I can't help but wonder if this is perhaps an attempt at striving for relevance in an increasingly socially networked society? The public's appetite for "reality" themed programming (which often have little to do with reality in it's truest sense) has clearly eclipsed its appetite for traditional news. Why go to the expense of putting investigators on the street when all people want to see is a bunch of idiots broadcasting themselves on the nouveau boob tube?

      For the most part, I think the CBC is still a national leader with respect to investigative reporting, but I've found that their best stuff is being siloed within specific programming departments rather than being prominently featured in main pages and headlines.

  3. I have dug a little bit into this. During the divorce proceedings both of the Ryan parents and their daughter underwent psychiatric evaluations. Michael Ryan and his daughter were determined to be "normal", Nicole Ryan was determined to have consistently abused her daughter and was classified as having borderline personality disorder. It is alread exceedingly rare for the father in any divorce to gain full custody of the child, and this was awarded to Michael Ryan. That is already a pretty big red flag that something about Nicole Ryan's testimony is not credible.

    Half a year afterwards, period during which Nicole Ryan did not try to have any contact with her daughter, who was now living 200 miles away with her father and his new girlfriend, she attempts to hire a hitman not once but 2 separate times. I've heard a lot about the "entrapment" angle, but it is seldom mentioned in articles that the police member that "entrapped" Nicole Ryan was but the 3rd hitman, the original one (individual citizen that had nothing to do with the police) turned in evidence that she had attempted to hire him for a murder. Court documents mention that Nicole Ryan told the fake hitman that the "collateral" murder of Michael's current girlfriend was perfectly acceptable. There is also the matter of more than 1 million dollars worth of property/accounts/life insurance still up in the air, and Michael's death would have landed all of it for Nicole.

    I'd suggest scratching the surface of this a little bit more. From my own findings I'd have to determine this is nothing more than a BPD individual's attempted vengeance against a former partner who has wronged them. Digging through all the emotional bullshit on either side, the timeline seems to be this:
    - Michael Ryan begins divorce proceedings
    - During these proceedings Nicole Ryan is found by child protective services to be an abusive and unfit mother, custody is awarded to Michael Ryan
    - Michael Ryan moves away with new partner and daughter
    - 6 months or so afterwards, an individual comes to the police with information that Nicole Ryan has attempted to hire him for the murder of her husband
    - Undercover police approach Nicole Ryan and offer to do the job. Nicole Ryan accepts.
    - Nicole Ryan, caught red-handed in premeditated murder, suddenly remembers that her husband was abusive to both her and her daughter, information which could have been relevent to divorce and child custody proceedings (which, let us remember, actually came to the conclusion that Nicole was both psychologically and unstable and abused her daughter, and thus awarded Michael custody).

    It seems quite obvious that the claims of abuse are fragrantly suspect already, but let us accept them as a hypothetical. Even if Michael was the abuser Nicole claims he is, they had been living appart for 6 months. This is hardly a battered wife cowering under her abusive husband's abuse and desperate for escape. A much simpler story, which also fits with the facts we already know, is: Nicole is determined abusive and unfit mother, loses custody of the child, wants child back and determines that murdering her ex-husband is the only way to do it.

  4. Child is now 12, so would've been 7 at the time? Old enough to give her version of abuse.

    This woman is back to teaching. Lord help us!

  5. Here is more details into the Nicole Doucet case that will make you shake your head at the "justice" system.