Newspaper article The Canadian Press

RCMP Did All It Could for Woman Who Accused Husband of Abuse, Review Says

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

RCMP Did All It Could for Woman Who Accused Husband of Abuse, Review Says

Article excerpt

RCMP did all it could in alleged abuse case


HALIFAX - A police watchdog says the RCMP did all it could for a woman who accused her husband of abuse and tried to have him killed, challenging a claim by the Supreme Court of Canada that the force ignored her pleas for help.

The Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP issued a lengthy review Wednesday into the way Nova Scotia detachments handled complaints by Nicole Doucet in 2007 and 2008.

Ian McPhail, the commission's interim chairman, said investigators focused on assertions that the RCMP didn't do enough to help the woman before she tried to hire a hitman to kill her ex-husband, Michael Ryan.

"The question is, did they take all reasonable steps, based on policy (and) on the information given to them? And our conclusion is that they did," McPhail said in an interview.

"They were at all times sensitive and thorough in their investigation."

Doucet, a teacher from western Nova Scotia, was arrested in 2008 when she tried to hire an undercover Mountie to kill Ryan, a member of the Canadian Forces.

She said in court proceedings that in the years after their marriage in 1992, he had pushed her, squeezed her neck, put guns to her head and threatened to kill her and their young daughter.

Doucet was acquitted in 2010 of counselling to commit murder when the trial judge found she was under duress due to abuse, and was not receiving help from police.

That ruling was later upheld by Nova Scotia's Court of Appeal.

She alleged that she sought assistance from police nine times in dealing with a violent husband, but was told they wouldn't intervene because they were deemed civil disputes.

The commission found the RCMP was not provided with enough information that would have given them "reasonable belief that there was violence in the relationship or that Ms. Doucet was in danger."

McPhail added that Doucet provided no information to allow for a criminal investigation.

The review says Doucet did not report any abuse to the agencies that came in contact with her, including Community Services, undercover police, a psychiatrist who assessed her and several RCMP officers.

The police reports reflect the increasing bitterness between the former spouses, who accused each other of either stealing mail, breaking into the house and removing fixtures from the home.

In one incident, Doucet's father was charged and convicted of using metal pipes to assault Ryan, who was given permission by the RCMP to go to Doucet's home and pick up some of his belongings.

In a subsequent interview with police, Doucet said she didn't know what happened. The commission said that lack of awareness "affects the reliability of her recollections of any incidents discussed."

The commission said there were about 25 incidents in which Ryan, Doucet and her family were mentioned, with many of them centring on disputes over shared properties. …

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