A New Brunswick judge has ordered sensitive documents tied to the ongoing police investigation into the homicide of Richard Oland can remain sealed for another six months.
CBC News and the Telegraph-Journal were fighting to have the documents, previously sealed by a provincial court judge, disclosed.
Chief Judge R. Leslie Jackson said Friday he was satisfied that releasing the documents related to five search warrants and a production order issued between July 15 and Nov. 13 would compromise the police investigation.
Jackson said the documents contain information that only the person or persons responsible for Oland's death would know, including details about the condition of his body.
Crown prosecutor Patrick Wilbur said Thursday the documents contain "hallmark" information that is forensic in nature, but did not elaborate.
Jackson said releasing the information could also compromise the privacy of numerous persons. The documents, which are lengthy and detailed, contain intimate aspects about their lives, he said.
Oland, a prominent Saint John businessman, was found dead in his office on July 7.
Saint John Police confirmed the 69-year-old's death was a homicide and said he likely knew his killer, but they have refused to give many more details about the investigation.
On Thursday, during an ex-parte hearing, the judge heard evidence from the former lead investigator in the case, who has since retired from the police force.
Jackson said he's satisfied it's still an active, ongoing investigation and agreed to leave the documents sealed.
However, the judge did take the unusual step of putting a six-month time limit on the continuance of the sealing order. It will expire on June 15.
The Crown prosecutors can apply to extend the sealing order, which may be open to another challenge, Jackson said.
If the sealing order expires, interested parties can apply to the court to have the information released at that time, he said.
"This is not a cold case," Jackson stressed, noting that some of the objects seized have been sent elsewhere for forensic testing.
"Police are processing diligently with the investigation," he said.
The judge did note police are experiencing some difficulties, however. For example, he said one of the people they interviewed was subsequently approached and questioned by another person they believed to be a police officer.
Although the person in question was initially co-operative, they were upset when police asked for a second interview, Jackson said.
Oland's son, Dennis Oland, was reportedly questioned extensively by police after his father's death.
Police also searched his home on Gondola Point Road in Rothesay on July 14, a nearby wooded area by the Bill McGuire Community Centre on July 15, and a sailboat owned by his wife, Lisa Oland, and another woman at the Royal Kennebeccasis Yacht Club in Saint John on July 21.
Details about other search warrants and a production order executed in the case are now under a publication ban.