Abused wife's hit-man hire in Supreme Court
OTTAWA - The Supreme Court of Canada revisits the battered woman's defence on Friday when it rules in the explosive case of a Nova Scotia woman who tried to hire a hit man to kill her abusive husband.
The widely anticipated ruling could reshape the landmark defence for abused women that the court already established in a precedent-setting 1990 judgment.
The high court is considering the case of Nicole Ryan, whose marriage to an ex-soldier was described as a "reign of terror" by the Nova Scotia trial judge who originally acquitted her of attempted murder.
Ryan called police at least nine times to seek protection from her husband, Michael, who repeatedly threatened her and her daughter.
Instead, the RCMP arrested her in March 2008 after they sent an undercover officer to pose as the hit man that Ryan was trying to hire to kill her husband.
The legal issue in Ryan's case turns on the merits of two different criminal law defences that can allow an accused person to be acquitted of a crime — that they acted in self-defence or that they were acting under duress.