RCMP deny they ignored domestic abuse allegations in hitman case
Published Friday, February 1, 2013 4:08PM AST
Last Updated Friday, February 1, 2013 6:32PM AST
The RCMP in Nova Scotia are defending their handling of a domestic abuse case in which a Digby woman hired a hit man to kill her husband.
The Supreme Court of Canada has criticized the RCMP of not adequately responding to Nicole Ryan’s calls for help but the force maintains it did nothing wrong.
“I was worried there was an impression that someone had been calling for our help and we weren’t responding, that we weren’t going to the house, that we weren’t going to find out, and that’s absolutely not correct,” says assistant commissioner Alphonse MacNeil.
The RCMP’s internal review began nearly two weeks ago when the country’s top court accused the force of being quicker to protect Michael Ryan than to respond to his wife’s cries for help.
Nicole Ryan was charged in 2008 for hiring a hit man to kill her husband who she says was abusive.
The Supreme Court of Canada overturned her acquittal but also said she wouldn’t have to face another trial.
RCMP say the internal review showed 25 mentions of Nicole and Michael Ryan in RCMP files but that only one of those cases involved a complaint of domestic assault. Michael Ryan was charged with uttering threats in the case.
Pamela Harrison works with victims of abuse and worries about the survivors who may be watching the case unfold.
“That they should have no concerns about going forward, that it is in the best interest of those women, the general public and the RCMP that an external investigation take place,” says the Transition House Association of Nova Scotia worker.
The provincial Liberals are also calling for an external review.
“When the Minister of Justice established the Serious Incident Response Team, it was on the basis that police forces shouldn’t be investigating themselves,” says Liberal justice critic Michel Samson.
Justice Minister Ross Landry says he can’t make a decision about what will happen next until he has had more time to review the RCMP’s report.
Landry also says he has no plans to make the report public.
Assistant commissioner Alphonse MacNeil says he would welcome an external review, but doesn’t believe one is necessary.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Kayla Hounsell