The Supreme Court of Canada heard arguments Thursday on whether victims of domestic abuse can hire a hit man to kill their partners, a controversial issue which tests the limits of the defence of duress.This is a crazy feminist extreme. Hiring a hitman is never self-defense.
The case involves a Nova Scotia woman, Nicole Doucet, who tried to hire an undercover RCMP officer to kill her husband Michael Ryan.
The high school teacher was arrested in March 2008 and charged with counselling to commit murder.
She was acquitted of the charge two years later after the Nova Scotia Supreme Court accepted her argument that she thought she had no other way out of an abusive 15-year marriage to a man who repeatedly threatened her and her daughter.
The wife had been separated for 7 months, after 15 years of marriage. Her complaint is that her husband did not want a divorce. Canada has no-fault divorce, so she can get a divorce over his objections.
"...the rationale for the defence of duress is quite different [than self-defence].
It is instead a plea for absolution where the accused’s actions are considered
blameworthy but forgivable because the accused’s only reasonable avenue of
escape was to commit the crime. In other words, the defence of duress is rooted in
compassion. It involves excusing a wrongdoing in circumstances where the
accused is left with no other alternative. Therefore, unlike self-defence, it is not
the type of action society would support, let alone applaud."
"Criminal theory recognizes a distinction between “justifications” and “excuses”.
A “justification” challenges the wrongfulness of an action which technically
constitutes a crime. The police officer who shoots the hostage-taker, the innocent
object of an assault who uses force to defend himself against his assailant, the
Good Samaritan who commandeers a car and breaks the speed laws to rush an
accident victim to the hospital, these are all actors whose actions we consider
rightful, not wrongful."
"In contrast, an “excuse” concedes the wrongfulness of the action but asserts that
the circumstances under which it was done are such that it ought not to be
attributed to the actor. The perpetrator who is incapable, owing to a disease of the
mind, of appreciating the nature and consequences of his acts, the person who
labours under a mistake of fact, the drunkard, the sleepwalker: these are all actors
of whose “criminal” actions we disapprove intensely, but whom, in appropriate
circumstances, our law will not punish."
"A reasonable person in the circumstances of
Ms. Ryan would seek to find a solution to her plight. She had attempted to have
the matter dealt with by the authorities; however, she was repeatedly faced with
the response that it was a "civil matter". A reasonable person in the
circumstances of Ms. Ryan, when an individual presented themselves to her
with a solution to her problem would have acted in the same manner faced with
the evidence as I have outlined it, including the history of Mr. Ryan's violence
towards others, his manipulative and controlling manner, his access to firearms,
the threats which he made, and the lack of response by any persons in authority,
establishes this element of the defence."
"Further there was evidence to corroborate the fact that Ms. Doucet held
these subjective beliefs. For example:
- She was in therapy in late 2007, early 2008, reporting her fears.
- There is no question that she contacted the police on numerous occasions.
- Her colleagues in school saw her “panicked” and “frantic” when Mr. Ryan
arrived at the school in February 2008.
- Her weight loss leading up to the event in question was obvious to her
friends and family.
- Her need to go into hiding in late 2007 was corroborated by friends who
helped and harboured her"
This is nuts. This case justifies lawless vigilanteism. An order of protection, a restraining order and a divorce are what the civilized world utilize.
Nova Scotia's approach to this criminal matter erases the rule of law. It sets a dangerous precedent for anyone determined to take the law into his or her own hands.
This man took his wife and daughter to a location where he said he would bury them, and that no one would find her. When she sought help from the police, they said they couldn't help her. So if you don't want your ex to be acquitted of trying to hire a hit man to kill you, don't subject your family to a 15 year reign of terror and continue to harass her after she's gone into hiding to avoid you. This applies even if the police turn a blind eye to your behavior.
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