CROWN LOSES

Supreme Court of Canada won’t hear Den­nis Oland ap­peals, re­trial date to be set

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - THE ISLAND -

Den­nis Oland could soon be back in a New Brunswick court­room, fac­ing trial for the sec­ond-de­gree mur­der of his mul­ti­mil­lion­aire fa­ther all over again, but his lawyer says that’s just what they’re hop­ing for.

On Thurs­day, the Supreme Court of Canada dis­missed an ap­pli­ca­tion by the Crown to re­store Den­nis Oland’s con­vic­tion, while his lawyers had filed a cross-ap­peal seek­ing an ac­quit­tal. Both were de­nied.

“We’re happy with the out­come,” de­fence lawyer Alan Gold said in an in­ter­view. “The Crown was try­ing to take away our new trial by hav­ing the Supreme Court say it shouldn’t have been or­dered. We’re happy that the Supreme Court said no to that.”

The three-judge panel did not pro­vide rea­sons for the de­ci­sion.

“Den­nis is back in the same po­si­tion he was in when first charged. He’s pre­sumed in­no­cent and there will be a trial some­time in the fu­ture,” Gold said from his Toronto of­fice.

Richard Oland, 69, was found face down in a pool of blood in his Saint John of­fice on July 7, 2011.

An au­topsy showed he had suf­fered 45 sharp and blunt force blows to his head, neck and hands. A mur­der weapon was never found.

Dur­ing Den­nis Oland’s trial, court heard he had vis­ited his fa­ther’s of­fice the night be­fore and was the last known per­son to see him alive.

Den­nis Oland, a 49-year-old fi­nan­cial plan­ner and scion of one of the Mar­itimes’ most prom­i­nent fam­i­lies, was con­victed of sec­ond-de­gree mur­der in 2015 and was sen­tenced to life in prison with no chance of pa­role for 10 years.

How­ever, he was re­leased on bail last Oc­to­ber when the New Brunswick Court of Ap­peal or­dered a new trial, cit­ing an er­ror in the trial judge’s in­struc­tions to the jury.

Den­nis Oland had told po­lice he was wear­ing a navy blazer when he vis­ited his fa­ther, but video ev­i­dence and nu­mer­ous wit­nesses said he was ac­tu­ally wear­ing a brown jacket that was later found to have tiny traces of blood and DNA that matched his fa­ther’s pro­file.

The Crown por­trayed Den­nis Oland’s orig­i­nal state­ment about the jacket as an in­ten­tional lie, while the de­fence said it was an hon­est mis­take.

The ap­peal court said the trial judge did not prop­erly in­struct the ju­rors as to the pro­ba­tive value of that state­ment.

Now that the Supreme Court has re­fused to re­view the mat­ter, the New Brunswick Court of Queen’s Bench will be asked to set a date for a new trial.

Gold said the date could be set at a court hear­ing on Aug. 8.

He said both the de­fence and Crown will need time to pre­pare for a trial, which is not ex­pected to be­gin un­til 2018, at the ear­li­est.

AN­DREW VAUGHAN / THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

Den­nis Oland and his wife Lisa head to the Law Courts in Saint John, N.B., in this CP file photo.

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