The teacher, the hit man and the questions that remain

At first blush, it seemed like one of those tawdry, too-strange-to-be-true tabloid tales. In April 2008, a 38-year-old Digby County school teacher named Nicole Ryan was charged—along with her 70-year-old father—with trying to hire a hit man to murder her husband.

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Because I follow most court cases from the comfortable periphery of my morning newspaper, I’ll confess this sordid story quickly slipped back beneath my radar as it wended its usual slow-cooker way through the judicial system.

Which may explain why I was shocked in late March to learn the judge in the case had acquitted Ryan because, he said, she was under “duress” at the time—even though she had admitted to agreeing to pay an undercover Mountie $25,000 to do the deed.

I wasn’t surprised when I heard, a month later, that the crown had decided to appeal the acquittal, claiming the trial judge had erred in law by failing to consider whether hiring a hit man was a “proportionate” response to whatever duress she was under.

But now that I’ve finally read Justice David Farrar’s 26-page decision, I have no problem with his conclusion. Instead, I have an entirely different problem—and question.

Let’s start with Michael Martin Ryan, He’s a nasty piece of business, “a manipulative, controlling and abusive husband [who] sought at every turn to control the actions of his wife.” He cut her off from family, friends, even co-workers, put a gun to her head on several occasions, threatened to kill her and their daughter, then “dig a trench and put them in and pile garbage on top.” When Ryan suggested a divorce, he warned: “Don’t test me, I will destroy you before I get a divorce.”

When she did finally move out, the threats only intensified. She charged him with uttering threats. The charges were dropped. She called the RCMP nine times, victim services 11 and 9-1-1 once. On February 17, 2008, her husband showed up at her school, sat menacingly in her car. The Mounties were called. They told her it was a civil matter; there was nothing they could do.

Instead, six weeks later, having failed Nicole Ryan at every turn, the RCMP decided to mount an expensive, sophisticated sting operation, using an undercover officer to entrap a desperate, frightened woman into committing a crime for which she could be charged.

Why?

Unfortunately, that question won’t be addressed during the upcoming appeal. But it’s a question that needs to the answered—if not by the Mounties, then certainly by the province’s justice minister.

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  1. It looks like W5 has taken on the challenge of thoroughly investigating this case. The show airs on Saturday. But without even seeing it yet, I am sure a number of people owe Michael Ryan an apology. This case is a horrible example of the way the judicial system in Nova Scotia conducts business. I hope he gets the apology that he deserves.

    http://www.ctvnews.ca/w5/

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  2. Mr Kimber,

    I read your column. I could not agree with you more that this requires a public inquiry, at the very least. The Justice System in Nova Scotia is inferior and an embarrassment to Canadian Law. I am challenging all concerned Nova Scotians to voice their concerns to Justice Minister Ross Landry. People may feel this is not their business or it does not affect them. The court’s wreckless behaviour can potentially impact each of us at one point or another. If someone told us five years ago that Michael would be made out to be a “monster” and the one who attempted take his life would be a hero we would have never believed them. She has attempted to commit murder three separate times. There is no question about that. Canada does not have the death penalty, there is no excuse for taking another human beings life. No excuses, wrong is wrong, there should be no gray area. There are so many resources available to women (that are truly) in violent relationships. It is unfortunate that the same resources are not available for men. The report from the CPC confirms that Ms Doucet did not even attempt to use these resources (as she testified to). This casts serious doubt on her credibility and the validity of her abuse claims that coincidentally only surfaced for the first time at her criminal trial. She should not be set free to teach impressionable high school students. The courts have stooped to a new low. Where have the ethics gone in Canada?

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  3. Mr. Kimber,
    I have read your article over again this evening. In your concluding two paragraphs you have some pretty harsh words for the RCMP (which you have clearly wrote based on what you read in the trial judge’s decision). As you had suggeted, the justice minister did intervene. I wonder if you have had the opportunity to read the entire investigation report that was conducted by the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP? It is clear that many, yourself included were all to quick to accept Nicole Doucet’s testimony that “I tried to do it the legal way, nobody would help me… I had to hire a hitman”. Mike and I have been trapped in this living nightmare for the past five years. Nobody was there to listen to our voice or our pleas for help though. Mike has been victimized repeatedly. Over and over again at every turn. He is not only the victim of multiple violent murder plots but a victim to a system that has publically defamed his name based on the word of an individual that was on trial for conspiracy to commit murder. Journalists such as yourself have recycled, published and commented on her testimony as though it were “truth” . We have said it before and I will echo it again, at no point has Mike been questioned or given a formal or informal statement to a single person within the justice system. The “justice system” of Canada does not know Mike Ryan and nor do you. What part of any of this is justice to you? This would have never gone this far if the gender roles in this case were reversed, not a chance. We have sought personal assistance from the government to cope with this. The response we received was extremely discouraging. We were told that there was not funding available for males, if Mike was a female however… we were also provided with brochures and information that pertained only to women in violent relationships. Mr Ryan, lock your windows and doors at night, I’ m sorry we can’t do more, call if anything happens.. good luck. It is time that people wake up, get your head out of the sand. Mike Ryan and the many other victims of crime need to know that the justice system will support them not publically terrorize them. As requested, the RCMP have been investigated, with the contents of the recent reports surprise, surprise, Mr. Kimber there are still many “questions that remain”.

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    • Hello Shannon,

      You may want to read my column today, which focuses, in part, on the Commission for Public Complaints report.

      Stephen

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  4. Very sorry for what happened to you, Mr. Ryan. This woman, your ex-wife, appears to be a psychopath, and Canada’s sexist and patriarchal system appears to have allowed her to victimze you through the justice system.

    Hope for better trails.

    The pathetic people who pass for jurists in our supreme court should hang their heads in shame. SHAME.

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  5. Thanks for adding this to the discussion, Shannon.

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  6. The National Post has done investigative reporting on Nicole Doucet’s count of events. This is only the tip of the iceberg to the truth. But will there ever be justice for Michael Ryan?

    http://www.nationalpost.com/m/wp/news/blog.html?b=news.nationalpost.com/2013/06/21/the-abuse-excuse-were-courts-right-to-drop-case-against-woman-who-hired-hit-man-to-kill-her-husband&pubdate=2013-06-21

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  7. Mr. Kimber, I must say that I am appalled of your representation of Michael as an abuser. While the defense may have utilized that allegation at trial, it is imperative to remember that Michael was not and never has been on trial for that offense. His wife was found not guilty, but that does not mean Michael was guilty instead. Indeed, Michael must be seen as innocent in the eyes of the law as well. You would so well to remember who was really on trial, and to use discretion before assigning guilt in the future.

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  8. “Then would you please explain to us why you so easily accepted the other side of the story and reported it as fact?”

    It’s an interesting question, but the answer applies more generally to criminal cases.

    Once a judge or judge and jury decide a case, it becomes, in a journalistic-legal sense, a fact. Until then, we’re careful to describe someone charged with a crime as “alleged,” both because of the presumption of innocence and also the reality we could get sued.

    The theory is that the courts hear all the relevant testimony and evidence. Both sides are represented by counsel. There is an opportunity to cross-examine witnesses, to test their credibility. And reach a conclusion, which then takes on the gloss of “fact.”

    There are two real-life problems with this. Sometimes the courts get it wrong. The courts established as fact that Donald Marshall, Jr., was a murderer. Eleven years later, Royal Commission, headed by three judges heard much more evidence and declared Marshall innocent. We hear more and more cases in which DNA evidence changes old convictions.

    The second problem arises in cases like this one, where you have someone not charged with a crime whose reputation becomes collateral damage.

    The prosecution, quite rightly, is simply trying to prove that Nicole Ryan hired a hit man to kill her husband. They have evidence on video, they have testimony from the undercover RCMP officer. They don’t believe Nicole’s lawyers have succeeded with their duress defence and feel they have proved their case without Michael Ryan’s testimony. They may also have felt, for whatever reason, that his testimony might not help their case.

    So the judge weighs the evidence—minus Michael’s testimony, of course—and renders his written judgement, which damns Michael Ryan as an abuser. It becomes “fact” and journalists and commentators, including me, report it as such.

    Cases like this, of course, expose the potential flaws in that normally accepted process.

    I’m not sure there’s any easy answer to this. We depend on the courts to determine the facts; without them…

    And yet, we need to be more aware, as journalists and as readers, that the system is far from infallible.

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  9. Mr Kimber

    “I’m obviously not in a position to refute—or even respond to—all of the specific points you make”

    Then would you please explain to us why you so easily accepted the other side of the story and reported it as fact?

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  10. Mr. Ryan’s case parallels many I have researched over the years and, in the end, comes down to having a spouse like Nicole Ryan, who has a major undiagnosed personality disorder.

    These women tend to get the shelter (feminist) industry to side with them and unscrupulous people with a vested interest to offer testimony.

    In the end, to make a long story short, these kinds of parents hate their ex more than they love their child and do great damage to children, in addition to anyone supporting, in this case Mr. Ryan.

    Mr. Kimber is a fairly typical part time blogger who will take the quotes of a court case as though everything stated by those involved was the truth. He clearly has no experience as a man in dealing with Family Law issues. If he did, his cynics filter would be on.

    In the DV shelter Industry, who will coach women on tactics, then have them sign a non-disclosure agreement, the truth is often serendipitous. Often, with some of them, mendacity used to support winning is all that matters.

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  11. Change your name pal to Moronic Detective.

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  12. Let’s not assume that the RCMP is a world-renowned professional police force. If you can get past their parade uniforms, there’s the serious embarrassment of the class-action lawsuit from female ex-members alleging serious and continuing sexual harassment within the force.

    If misogyny is rampant within the masonic RCMP, how can a woman reasonably expect fair treatment over serious abuse accusations against a military husband? Obviously, the RCMP must have a serious bias in favour of fellow freemasons.

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  13. There is certainly something fishy about this case.

    Mr. Kimber, I generally respect your opinions and writings, but in this case I think you dropped the ball, and I think you may have a responsibility to revisit the story and dig a little deeper this time. There is certainly a story here to be told, and another disturbing side seems to be rapidly emerging.

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  14. Mr. Ryan, be a great father, and when your kids turn 18 they will be free to post their whole story and you will be vindicated. Don’t try to control Aimee’s access to Nicole and don’t try to turn your daughter against her. Let her form her own opinions. Regardless of what happened, Nicole is still her mother and that fact will never change. If Aimee develops a good relationship with her mother, maybe that will help Nicole become a better person. On the other hand, Nicole will always be the person who plotted to murder her father. Really messed up. Really. Good luck buddy!

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  15. This is just a symptom of a far larger problem, that problem being feminism’s monopoly on the domestic violence industry and its perspectives in the West.

    Feminism has created a negative male stereotype as men as batterers and the complementary role of women as victims. According to the feminist perspective, women do not lie, and should be believed based on accusation alone.

    The reason Mr. Ryan wasn’t able to testify is because of women’s groups insisting that his appearance would be traumatic to his false accuser; thus enabling the false accuser’s story to go uncontested.

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  16. Having been on the receiving end of false accusations from my now (thankfully) former partner I smelled BS from the minute the CBC broke this story. Its sad that even in this day and age our society is so quick to vilify any man who is accused of being abusive and never ask a critical question of the “poor fragile woman” this does a disservice to us all especially those falsely accuse and those who truly need authorities to step in and help them out of a bad situation. MEN AND WOMEN are abusive to the same degree, there is such thing as an abused man (I was one) and in our society it is JUST as likely that the woman will be abusive as any man….. of course that never gets a poster or a news story we have to repeat the mantra that abuse only goes one way. I don’t blame any man who “opts out” of marriage its a one sided game, where only one gender has a loaded pistol….better hope she will never turn it on you..

    Best of Luck Mr. Ryan, should I ever meet you, first rounds on me.

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  17. […] Ryan responded and we began an online correspondence, which you can read here. […]

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  18. It is so pathetic that the prejudice against men has reached this point where major news media doesn’t even take the time to fact check anything that this woman says. I hope that he sues her and the media for slander.

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  19. I think the lengths people will go to to believe a woman is not a monster are very telling. The two conclusions to this story are that Mr Ryan was a monster or Mrs Ryan was a monster. For the former to be true, we need to accept that not just one person, but all the RCMP and child services professionals involved in the investigation, as well as the crown, choose to ignore her, to not believe her, and to extortionate him of any wrongdoing. For the later to be true, we need to accept that one man, and only one man, believed her lies and made a judgement based on those… And people seem to want to believe the conspiracy, despite the fact that they themselves are making the choice to believe her (as the judge did) based on nothing but her accusation and their own gender based biases.

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  20. Something keeps bugging me. The thought of hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of matrimonial assets and possibly a life insurance policy/military spousal pension/etc. Could she have had another motive for her husband’s death other than “self-defense”? Money and greed make people do stupid things.

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  21. While Ms. Doucet was tangling with the courts regarding her botched assassination attempt, Mr. Ryan seems to have built a new life for himself, his new wife, and most importantly, his daughter. However screwed up parents’ relationships are, we always have to try to keep the kids’ lives as normal as possible. They shouldn’t have to pay for our errors in matrimonial judgement.

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  22. I’m surprised as hell to learn that she still has her teaching position! I can’t help but wonder, if a man had been charged with such a crime, would he had been allowed to keep teaching? I think not!

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  23. I’m in the middle of listening to The Current’s interview with the assassination plotter and Mr. Pink. She’s certainly using her 15 minutes to martyr herself. Mr. Ryan, you’d better set up a website and scan all related documents you have in your possession and get them posted for all to see (better check with a lawyer first to see if that’s okay). If the claims you’ve made about her are true, she’s a dangerous woman and should be outed. Currently, she’s beating your ass publicity-wise; not surprising, considering her coach.

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  24. Mr McEwen: It certainly is a very complicated issue compounded by the fact that this man was not called to testify at trial by the Crown prosecutor. I find this very odd as it would certainly explain motive on her part and give the Judge an insight into all the facts. He was being portrayed as some kind of monster by his wife who was claiming to be an abused woman. Now she is some kind of National Hero to some women groups.

    I don’t know Michael Ryan nor do I know his ex-wife but there are always two sides to every story. It is just unfortunate that he was not allowed to give his version at trial so the media as usual sensationalized the story and made him out to be some kind of wild out of control Psycho.

    I also wonder if the child was interviewed as sometimes kids can shed a whole new light on things. I also find it strange that the child would have been put into the father’s care after the system had heard these heinous accusations that some seem to accept as gospel.

    Now the Supreme court has pretty well gagged the whole situation by denying the Crown to re-try her.

    Again I was not there and have no clue as to what actually happened but I think it is only fair that BOTH sides were given the opportunity to tell their version of events.

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  25. The press deliberately lied about the facts of the case.

    The headline “Abused Woman”… Where did THAT come from? The only evidence that she was abused came from her mouth in a desperate act of self preservation.

    Women lie…. men go to jail. Women kill, they are declared victims.

    No the press isn’t there.

    Michael Ryan was having an affair with a woman, Shannon. Nicole egged her thug relatives to rough them up. That went bad then she lost her jealous mind.

    The cops did their job. She called the cops about silly crap. She discredited herself. Then she tells the very same undercover cops that she want to kill her husband, regardless if it results in the death of another person. What a friggin MONSTER!

    Now the press say… oh it the fault of the RCMP. Yeah Right.

    It was the fault of Nicole the husband killer want-to-be.

    RCMP. You did right. Rhe criminal is Nicole Doucet. THAT is what the Supreme court decided…. and she is in a school now, with kids.

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  26. This is a huge, complicated issue which can only be properly examined in a court of law. If you don’t trust the courts to do a good job, then you need to go camp out with the occupiers. If you’re a reasonable person then maybe you should look into defending yourself in the courts.

    Journalists make these complex issues accessible to those who would normally never hear about them.

    Kimber, and all of his ilk, should be applauded for the work they do.

    Who else sifts through the lies and conjecture to come up with some grain of truth? Who else bothers to even make this a topic of discussion?

    If it weren’t for Kimber this story would drift into oblivion.

    If it weren’t for journalists, none of you would even hear about the judge’s decision.

    If you don’t agree with his opinion – GOOD. That’s the POINT of public debate.

    Grow up and grow some critical thinking skills – or go drink beer and watch hockey.

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  27. In Canada, killing a man is OK I guess. Especially when you have a press that lies by omitting facts.

    Nicole is a criminal freak, and she tried to kill her husband for fooling around, custody of a child, and insurance money, AFTER her family roughed him up already.

    She’s no victim. She is a sick an twisted criminal who should be behind bars.

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  28. Two sides to every story. Good luck Mike

    Pro Patria

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  29. […] read here The teacher, the hit man and the questions that remain : Stephen Kimber between Michael Ryan and Stephen Kimber detailing some of the case that led to the Supreme Court […]

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  30. Glad to see the recriminalization of the premeditated assassination of men. It’s a supreme insult to Canadian men that this case went as far as it did based on nothing but the testimony of one person. Guys, the Canadian justice system has made relationships a real minefield. I’m giving up; I’m getting a dog.

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  31. Given the seriousness of this case, I want to be clear that my comments were directed at Mike Ryan. It was a personal comment about a relationship that we had and it had nothing to do with the case regarding Nicole Doucet. My comments were misguided and should not have been posted on this site or any other site.
    Just to be clear, I have no knowledge of this case (other then what I have read). I was simply lashing out at Mike regarding our relationship.
    I want to apologize to Mike for my inappropriate comments.

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  32. ginette,
    That’s rather easy; however, dismissiveness does not answer the man’s defense. The devil is always in the details, no matter how much the courts decide otherwise. Maybe you should “take the time to explain.” Otherwise, mere conjecture.

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  33. This is all very fascinating Mike! I find it very interesting that you have taken the time to explain, in detail, the fact that you are the victim here. The truth is that you are a very good liar. I won’t bother going into the details but I know who you are.

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  34. Mr Ryan,

    please excuse me for hi-jacking this; your case is just one of a thousand; albeit more public, where defense mechanisms shadow the truth. Any action of violence directed toward you will always be nicely validated by a legal system that assumes your culpability for your ex-wife’s behaviour; in short, she will never be held accountable

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  35. “The shrinking newsroom?”
    You have got to be kidding me! Here’s the recipe. Take a dash of moral superiority; throw in a few courses in Lit or Poli-sci or, God forbid, Business and add to that a smattering of Grammar mixed nicely with a black and white understanding of human nature and, voila: the journalist. Sure they can’t tell you when Rome fell, when Shakespeare lived or know much about anything, save gossip mongering. Is it a wonder the youth have denied the legitimacy of media? Protests in Halifax spurred on by HPD – in their boots – innocent men tasered to death – “Now you are going to dance!” – C’mon, no media has taken on the real issues yet, everyone of your students likely thinks him/herself the next Woodward or Bernstein. In my fashion, I sit and wait for the demise of superficial tabloidism of the Herald with a sense of euphoria. The Metro, at least, recognizes the disposability of news. Mr. Ryan, I repeat, it is yesterday’s news and the problem, despite Mr. Kimber’s statement to the contrary is not the shrinking newsroom, but rather a legal system behaving as though inflicted with a veneral desease.

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    • Civil Liberterian, I have read the comments on this now dated column. You refer to Mr. Kimber’s comments excuse that the “shrinking news room” is to blame for ill reporting. I thought you may be interested in the full investigation into this case. It was conducted by CTV’s W5, and is set to air this Saturday.

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  36. All of this points to a larger problem… the shrinking newsroom. I’m not a full-time columnist and I don’t have the resources—or the time—to do the kind of investigation Michael Ryan and others might want to see.

    My role as a columnist is to comment on matters of public interest, using primarily easily accessible public materials. And open up the discussion so that others can participate. That’s what I did here. The judge’s decision is the official word on this case, pending the outcome of the appeal. And we are all entitled to our views on it. Which is why I welcome and encourage Mike Ryan to offer his unique perspective on the judge’s decision and case.

    But I’m not in a position to do the kind of original research—which would go beyond simply looking at other court cases—in order to write about the issues you raise.

    That said, if you’re interested, I’d be happy to suggest names—off list—of full-time reporters you might want to approach who could take this further.

    I hope that is helpful.

    Stephen

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  37. I hear you. Mr Kimber feeds off the garbage our society coughs up and makes a living from it, just like the court system. It would be to much to ask for anyone in a position to “get the message out” to “dig” and speak up. I beleive that until we stand up and hold the system accountable for the decisions they make, and how they get there… we might just as well “shut our holes”. I am not going to let the system pass this judgement on me. What I have experienced in the court system throughout this matter has opened my eyes.

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  38. By the way dude, your story is just a hyberbole of what is tolerated in courts in an ongoing fashion; until people who are caught out in duplicity – and by that I mean perjury – in the courts; our system is lost

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  39. Well, I’ve gone this far – veni itzia – in latin. When you get to the point when a convicted rapist- murderer pedophile is put on the witness list by the crown to substantite allegations of misconduct directed at me, then do let me know

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  40. By the way – do you honestly believe S, Kimber wants to dig?

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  41. Good luck with that – the truth is that despite claims of impartiality and wanting to see truth win out; the fact is that the media is little more than self-serving psuedo-literates. Your story is old news. Sad, but true. You are are about to live a life as the non-exonerated; your ex-wife’s claims will never be put to the litmus. Nobody wishes to hear; are you familiar with the late judge Niedrmeyer

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  42. Mr Kimber,

    I haven’t received a response to my latest comment. I’ m hoping you are investigating the file and will respond soon.

    If I can add one further comment to my last. It seems to me that we can both agree that it it is very strange that Crown ignored me through out this trial. The more I think about Judge Farrar’s comments in his decision and all the events surrounding the trial, the more I feel there was little or no effort to convict.

    I am baffled as to why more questions were not asked of Nicole Ryan in regards to where she got the money to pay the hitman. In fact Nicole was never asked “where the money came from.” A kind of important question considering her father has been charged with the same offence. As well, at the time of his (Herbie Boudreau’s) arrest (Apr 08) was already facing charges of assault with a weapon. Which he has since been found guilty of (July 2008).

    If you review court evidence from our divorce trial in May 09, Nicole was required to disclose her financial information to the court, dating back to 2006. In her disclosure there were no funds to pay $25K to a hitman.

    How do you claim duress was your driving force, when you have these kinds of resources obviously available to you?

    These are the questions that remain.

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  43. Mr Kimber,
    I received a subpoena 10 months before the start of the trial. A few weeks prior to the trial I had not heard a thing from the Crown, so I contacted the Crown’s office and asked if they needed to speak to me prior to the trial. The reply was “not at this time.” I attended the first day of the trial and was asked to leave the courtroom before the first witness (Nicole) took the stand. I left my cell phone number with the Crown and waited out in the parking lot in my car for the remainder of the trial. I was not contacted during the trial.

    It was well known to the Crown prior to the trial that Nicole Ryan’s defence was Battered Woman’s Syndrome. I was shocked that nobody had contacted me to ask questions or to clarify any evidence that the Court had for the trial. I was very puzzled by the fact that the only witness the crown called was a psychologist who had no prior knowledge or contact with Nicole or I.

    I really don’t know what the Crown’s position was as far as countering Nicole’s defence claiming “duress.” In order to use the defence of duress you must meet the four elements of duress, as was stated in Judge Farrar’s decision. There is no evidence before the court that suggests Nicole meets the four criteria of duress. In fact there is evidence showing the opposite. Nicole had many “safe avenues of escape,” if she felt that was necessary. Nicole was/is not a woman without resources. Another element of duress is:

    “The accused must act solely as a result of the threats of death or serious bodily harm to himself or herself or another person”

    Nicole has stated in her 30 day psychiatric report immediately after her arrest that the reason she wanted me killed before 1 April 08 was because “we have a child custody hearing coming up and I don’t want to look at his face again.” She made no mention that she wanted me killed because she feared for her safety. She also stated in the same assessment that she thought I would kill her father. In November 2008, Nicole, our daughter and I went through many months of a psychological needs assessment. This was an evaluation of both Nicole and I. Nicole was questioned over these many months about my “abuse” towards her. There was no mention of physical or sexual abuse at any point in the five month assessment. (This assessment is in the court file) I do not know how Nicole can come in to the court room on the day of the trial and suddenly make up all kinds of new allegations that she did, which at this point she has never mentioned to anyone. After her arrest there were many professionals involved questioning both of us I. She did not take any of those opportunities to explain any “abuse” I had allegedly inflicted upon her. I would think a reasonable person in her position (charged with conspiracy to commit murder) would find it necessary to speak up at this time and explain her actions and why she did what she did.

    According to her testimony, Nicole Ryan’s reasoning for attempting to hire a hitman was because the RCMP failed her and did nothing. If this was truly the case, what were her family members doing to support this? Between November 23, 2007 and March 27, 2008 Nicole was in contact with RCMP/Lawyers/courtrooms on numerous occasions. We were all in a Yarmouth court a week before she was arrested.

    It is unreasonable to suggest that someone is not guilty of this offence when you consider the people and places that surrounded her during this period of “Duress”. As well as the fact that she was obviously not being pursued or threatened at the time of her arrest.

    Another very important point is the court dates surrounding the date of her arrest.

    March 20, 2008 – Nicole Ryan and I were in the Yarmouth court and had come to an agreement to settle a matter.

    March 27, 2008 – Nicole Ryan is arrested.

    April 1, 2008 – Nicole Ryan and I are to attend the Digby Family court for a child custody hearing regarding our daughter.

    I really think that at the end of the day, the court believed Nicole Ryan’s testimony. Which was corroborated by her friends (which apparently she was “cut-off” from). She also presented a very critical opinion of the RCMP’s “lack of support” given to her throughout her many complaints. The fact is, when Nicole Ryan and her friends first called the RCMP on November 23, 2007, they complained that I was driving up and down the road in front of the house. The RCMP arrived and called the New Minas RCMP who found me at my home in Kentville two hours away at the same time she was alleging I was in front of her home. However, following RCMP Standard Operating Procedures they were required to lay charges on me as a Domestic complaint was made. I was charged with uttering threats (to burn all three houses down). An undertaking was placed against me. I was not to have contact with Nicole Ryan or my daughter. I did not breach the undertaking. The RCMP were very proactive in controlling any visits to my previous residence in Clare. On 24 Nov 07 Nicole gave a video statement to the RCMP. She again did not mention anything about ANY form of abuse. She also filled out a Domestic Violence Checklist. On this checklist she did not check off that I had been physically abusive to her, sexually abusive to her or that I had ever threatened her with weapons (in court file). I myself had called the RCMP on numerous occasions from November 23, 2007 until Nicole Ryan’s arrest March 2008. The entire RCMP detachment was fully aware of the situation going on between the parties. For anyone to suggest the RCMP did nothing in this Domestic Family Dispute is another insult to the Clare Detachment.

    Somebody needs to genuinely sit down and read the entire court file and not take select bits and pieces of it. I have never abused Nicole or my daughter in ANY way, and it is very hurtful and embarrassing that Nicole’s testimony has been accepted as truthful when you take into consideration the charges against her. Her failure to report these incidents of abuse because she was under “duress” is unsubstantiated.

    Nicole’s friends and family all know the truth, and should be ashamed of themselves. Nicole Ryan is setting a strong precedence for others to take advantage of the system.

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  44. Dear Mr. Ryan,

    I’m obviously not in a position to refute—or even respond to—all of the specific points you make. I don’t know the file beyond what I read in the judge’s decision. But I do appreciate your taking the time and effort to explain your perspective.

    And let me amend one sentence in my column from, “He’s a nasty piece of business…” to a more appropriate: “Based on the judge’s decision, he APPEARS to be a nasty piece of business…”

    That said, I’d be curious to know if the crown ever explained to you why they chose not to call you as a witness after making the effort to exclude you from the courtroom at the beginning of the trial.

    More generally, given that the defence never disputed the fact that Nicole had attempted to hire the hit man and based their defence instead on the issue of “duress,” why did the crown not do more to challenge that claim… either by calling you as a witness or finding ways to introduce those other witnesses or proceedings you refer to, or both.

    Stephen

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  45. Mr. Kimber,

    Again, As I read your comments in regards to Judge Farrar’s decision these points you bring up are again based only on Nicole Ryan’s word. As far as her “corroborating witnesses” if you listen to the trial tapes their testimonies are based AGAIN only on what “Nicole told them.” Nicole’s same “corroborating witnesses” have testified in the contrary in the divorce proceedings.

    it is very unfortunate that the courts cannot use evidence presented in other court matters even though they are directly related to the parties involved. If you were to attend all court proceedings in the Nova Scotia Family Court, Supreme Court(Family division) and the Provincial court, you would have heard three different stories from Nicole Ryan.

    I wish to point out Mr Kimber, that my reply to your column is based on the evidence already before the courts and NOT my opinion or just “my side of the story” .

    On 17 Feb 08, I did attend the school where Nicole was employed. However, I advised the RCMP well in advance that I would be attending the school and in arrangement to pick up the vehicle, I called the RCMP once I arrived, they showed up shortly. The car was a leased vehicle, in my name, payments made by me. We had been separated for a year and Nicole refused to transfer the lease. She threatened to damage the vehicle, consequently leaving me responsible for the expense. You have to understand at this point (17 Feb 08) I have already been assaulted with a pipe by her father and brother in law. Her damaging the vehicle was not far fetched and was inevitable.
    The police did tell Nicole that it was a “civil matter.” (regarding the leased vehicle only). They also told me to leave the car with her and take it to court. The RCMP actually sent away the tow truck and driver I had on site to remove the car back to the dealership.

    Yes Mr Kimber, it is very unfortunate that I was not given the opportunity to testify to Nicole’s false allegations and her bias witnesses. The fact is, I can prove every witness committed perjury or gave inaccurate testimonies based on what they had been told by Nicole Ryan. Example: Nicole’s sister, (Jeanette Doucet), who she claims to have had a “close knit relationship” with since “forever” testified that in the year 2000, she witnessed me grabbing Nicole by the throat and threatening to “ring your scrawny neck”. However, during the assault trial (July 23, 2008) while defending herself against criminal charges, never mentioned this at all. Yet, the three family members that were on trial that day were trying to justify there actions by explaining to the court that I was a violent person. Her husband (David Comeau) also charged, was asked if he had any knowledge of Mr. Ryan’s violent behaviour in the past, he testified in the negative. Had I threatened to “ring her scrawny neck” one would think this would be the appropriate time to mention this, considering the fact that Nicole is stating that I am the reason for the estrangement from her family for a number of years.

    Mr Kimber, I point out again the fact that Nicole tried to run her sister over with her car. But I guess you and Judge Farrar don’t want to talk about that one, or Nicole’s crying testimony in Provincial court July 24 2006 against her father and sister.

    No, I guess I am the just the big bad abusive husband (with lots of money) who just wanted to leave and move on with my life.

    I can only hope that someone in the appeal court will review the evidence and order a new trial. then maybe someone will finally give me the opportunity to bring light to the truth.

    Michael Ryan

    Reply

  46. Yes Civil Liberterian, I would like nothing more than to debate this issue. I only wish I could debate with the proper authorities. Someone that is in a position to ensure that justice is served.
    Judge Farrar slammed the RCMP pretty hard and found lots of excuses for things Nicole said during her conversations with the undercover hitman. She told the hitman that it was OK if my girlfriend was killed “in some collateral damage sort of way”.

    The truth is, Nicole Ryan knows my partner very well. That’s right, Shannon has been around for this situation from the beginning (summer 2007). Nicole mentions this fact in her testimony many times.

    It’s unfortunate that Shannon does not qualify as a character witness for either party in all of this. She has seen it all. Shannon can tell you how Nicole and I were getting along after she and I had separated in January 2007. When Nicole realized the divorce was emminant and there was no going back, she ran back to her family that she had disconnected and fought with for so many years. It was at this point the allegations began… First the allegations were an effort to keep me from seeing my daughter. This was very hurtful, and hard on our daughter. Nicole knows the way I feel about our daughter. Nicole made the complaint that “Mike threatened to burn the house down and call the RCMP and social services and say I was an unfit mother and I was starving my daughter.”

    Yes Mr Kimber, that statement is in the court records as well.

    I did threaten to call the RCMP and social services. Nicole was an unfit mother who had been neglecting and abusing our daughter for many months while she plummeted into a depressive state. You can check the court files for the reason our daughter was aprehended by the Child Protection agency and within days was released into my custody.

    Doesn’t it seem odd that I would threaten to burn the house down and call the RCMP/social services, all in the same threat.

    Shortly after the allegations began, Shannon and I were attacked and beaten with a galvanized pipe by three members of Nicole’s family(Dec 17, 2007). Herbert Boudreau was found guilty of assault with a weapon for this. It’s funny that Judge Farrar failed to consider that one. Oh yeah, I’ m the violent one here.
    So now three members of Nicole’s family are charged with this pipe assault and we are in family court fighting for child custody. As well as the lawyers going back and forth disputing about “who gets what” out of over a million dollars in property and assets. So it would seem that with all these criminal charges and money and property up for grabs, taking me out of the picture would seem to be the thing to do… if you can get the right person to do the job…

    Anyways, to sum up this part of my debate, I’ll go back to my partner Shannon. To put this quite simply, she has been through this whole ordeal with my former spouse and her family from the before “the beginning.” She entered into a relationship with me when Nicole and I were separated and amicable. She was there when the pipe was swinging as well. She is still here beside me today. She has listened to the testimonies, lies and the “mud slinging” that has been thrown around all three Nova Scotia courts in this matter. She is still beside me… because she knows the truth first hand.

    I look forward to your reply.

    Reply

  47. I just finished “Sailors, Slackers, and Blind Pigs : Halifax at War” … excellent book!

    Reply

  48. Well, seeing as how nobody seems willing to engage, I shall add this. The person who was set to testify against me was a man – I use the term loosely – was a man who visciously raped and murdered a little girl. He was to be a witness aginst me – though having been deported from Canada upon his release; a lovely gift to play upon his homeland! So, let’s get this debate started

    Reply

  49. I am amazed that this issue – a social as well as a legal one, hasn’t attracted more discussion

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  50. Mr. Kimber,

    Interesting dialogue between you and Mr. Ryan. You must accept, despite some obvious spelling errors, the man gives a rather good defense of himself. It strikes me as an interesting debate; was it a contrived defense on the part of Ms. Ryan in order to validate “murder for hire?” My partner and I had a wonderful conversation regarding your story. It was of particular interest to me due to an accusation that was levied upon me many years ago by a person in similar position to Ms. Ryan; an educator. I would search the opportunity to share my particular story and the allegations that were levied against me in the course of a nasty divorce, made some 9 months after our separation. Despite my ex-partner’s insistence that we not engage lawyers to conclude our matters, the fact my bank acct was accessed by that person, despite a letter swearing they had removed themselves from my acct and a case where my ex-partner’s word was to be corraborated by a person released from prison for the most heinous offence imaginable, the victim card served them well. I will tell you that on two occasions the police had been called previous to our ultimate separation; both times by me after specific virulent and violent behaviour. It all went for not which was my my fault; I was unwilling to air the matters of a relationsip where violence was the course of action rendered toward me and have my ex-partner charged. So, while I may not find fault with the police for my own folly, I would have thought my calls to them would have sent up a red flag in the aftermath of the allegations made against me and the very tawdry nature of my ex-partner’s “new life” in the company of a person released after serving a full 20 years in prison for “that most heinous” crime.

    Reply

  51. Dear Mr. Ryan,

    Thank you for taking the time to respond to the column. I have posted it to my website and also sent a copy to the editor of Halifax Metro where the column first appeared.

    From the point of view of testing Nicole Ryan’s claims—and for your own reputation—It is clearly unfortunate the crown did not call you as a witness during the trial. That clearly was not your decision.

    But it is important to point out that, in his judgment, the trial judge does also point to other witnesses who corroborated aspects of her testimony.

    You write: “The fact is I moved out. I moved out in December 2006, 200 kilometers away from Nicole.” While I don’t pretend to know all the details of your relationship, the judge in his statement concludes that, while you were living in Kentville from January 2007 because of your job at Camp Aldershot, you continued to be married and continued to attempt to exert control over Nicole. The judge says that Nicole moved out of the family home in the fall of 2007 after you threatened to burn it down during confrontation over an alleged debt to Nicole’s mother:

    “… Ms. Ryan advised she would no longer lie for him. At that point, Mr. Ryan indicated to her on telephone ‘I will destroy you. I will burn the f…ing house down. I don’t care if you and Aimee are in the house. I will phone social services. I can prove that you are mentally ill. You will be nothing’.
    [46] On that day, Ms. Ryan decided that she would have to move out of the house. Her fellow teachers and the principal helped her move out of the house. She stayed with the principal for approximately three weeks and on December 26, 2007, moved to her sister Louise’s house.”

    The judge’s decision also includes references to a number of confrontations after this date, culminating in the incident at the school.

    “On February 17, 2008, Ms. Ryan detailed an incident which occurred at her school (this incident was corroborated by other witnesses)… The police were called and came an hour after they had been telephoned… Ms. Ryan was informed at that time there was nothing the police could do because it was a civil matter.”

    That incident, it should be pointed out, occurred less than six weeks before the Mounties approached her through the undercover hitman.

    As I said, it is indeed unfortunate that you were not called to testify and be cross-examined on your evidence. But I do thank you for explaining your side here.

    Stephen

    Reply

  52. Stephen Kimber,

    After you have read Judge Farrar’s decision, I guess “At first blush” I, Michael Martin Ryan would seem to be “a nasty piece of business”. However, I find it very disturbing that the Judge would make comments in his decision that were based soley on Nicole Ryan’s testimony and yet on the last page of his decision you will note that he makes reference to the fact that he was “struck” by the fact that Mr. Ryan did not take the stand and testify against her allegations of abuse.

    After reading your article it is apparent that you are just one of many who need to get all the facts together before making comments on this case. For example, you mention in your article that “When she did finally move out, the threats only intensified.” The fact is I moved out. I moved out in December 2006, 200 kilometers away from Nicole. You will remember she was arrested in March 2008, 15 months later.

    I am deeply concerned and apauled at Judge Farrar’s negative comments directed towards the conduct of the RCMP. The fact is the RCMP, Social Services and Psychologists have all been heavily involved in the investigation process for the past three years. I find it very difficult to understand how one person can sit in judgement of an organization made up of so many law enforcement officials. The fact is on 27 Mar 08 the RCMP arrested an individual whom they had reasonable cause to believe that she was going to have someone murdered. To suggest that “the RCMP decided to mount an expensive, sophisticated sting operation, using an undercover officer to entrap a desperate, frightened woman into committing a crime for which she could be charged.” is obsurd and a direct insult to the members we trust to protect our communities. It is unrealistic to suggest that the RCMP orchestrated such an operation without the approval of “higher authorites” and probable cause. It is well known in the law enforcement “world” that one man does not make the decision to launch such an operation.
    Why?
    Why is it that one man can sit in judgement of so many?
    I don’t think it is the RCMP that needs to answer questions, it is the courts that need to answer the questions and be held accountable for the decisions they make.
    The simple fact of this matter is, the RCMP have recovered a substatial amount of evidence during this lengthy investigation.
    If you have the time you should review the court tapes from the trial and all court documents involved, you may just be surprised to learn that the evidence before the court will show that Nicole Ryan was indeed a “desperate, frightened woman”, who was just caught red handed attempting to have someone killed, who was 200km away at the time of her arrest and had not had any direct or indirect contact with her for over 5 months. The fact is, I was in a new relationship since the summer of 2007 and wanted a divorce.

    If you go back to court appearances by Nicole Ryan going back to July 2006 you will also find in her testimony to the court that she was abused by her father Herbert Boudreau and sister Peggy Doucet. If you go back to January 2006, you will read the RCMP report that includes a complaint from her sister, Peggy Doucet and her statement that her sister Nicole Ryan, attempted to run her over with her car as she walked down the road. When questioned about this during her trial Nicole’s response was simply “I don’ t remember” and “I can’t respond, I don’t remember.”

    Nicole’s evidence consists only of her word. Nicole claims that she was abused since 1994, however, she testified that she has never once reported any form of abuse, or informed friends or family. Prior to her trial she reports to other courts and agencies on numerous occasions that I have never been physically or sexually abusive. Nicole has denied that she was ever threatened with firearms when questioned by RCMP. The first time there is any report of physical abuse, sexual abuse and threats with firearms was in her defence testimony before Judge Farrar.

    Again, if you are interested in the truth, the court file is public information.

    – Michael Ryan

    Reply

  53. Great column Stephen. I think it’s time the RCMP face up to how poorly it handles violent domestic matters such as this one.

    If this were any other two people outside a husband and wife, one could hardly imagine so impotent a response by the police.

    -Gill

    Reply

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