Oland murder investigator's testimony subject of hearing

A New Brunswick judge will hear arguments today about whether to release the testimony of the lead investigator in the Richard Oland murder investigation.

CBC News and Brunswick News argue officer's closed-door testimony should be made public

A New Brunswick judge will hear arguments today about whether to release the testimony of the lead investigator in the Richard Oland murder investigation.

Const. Stephen Davidson, of the Saint John Police Force, testified behind closed doors last summer.

Richard Oland, 69, was found dead in his Saint John office on July 7, 2011.

CBC News and Brunswick News are seeking to have the publication ban and sealing order on the testimony lifted and the court transcript made public.

David Coles, who is representing the media outlets, says Davidson's testimony was held behind closed doors so he could speak freely about sealed search warrants related to the case.

But details about those warrants — including the fact that Oland's son Dennis, 45, is considered the prime suspect — have since been made public.

Coles argues there's no longer any justification to keep the testimony private.

But Crown prosecutor John Henheffer contends some information, which he describes as "hallmark evidence," should be redacted.

Otherwise, it could compromise the ongoing police investigation, he says.

Chief provincial court Judge R. Leslie Jackson has previously defined hallmark evidence as details about the physical position and condition of Oland's body when found, the condition of his office and the location of his personal effects —"detailed information only the killer or killers would know."

Oland, 69, a prominent businessman, was found dead in his uptown office on July 7, 2011.

No charges have been laid. Police Chief Bill Reid has said he expects charges to be laid this year.

'Unusual activity' at Renforth wharf

Police consider Dennis Oland, Richard Oland's son, the prime suspect in the murder, court documents show.

A hearing was held in Saint John on Thursday about releasing information from a search warrant and two production order issued last fall.

No information about where they were executed or what police were searching for has been released.

But some snippets were revealed in court as the lawyers argued their case.

For example, the courtroom heard police obtained a statement from Dennis Oland about what time he visited his father's office and what time he left, but the times are among the information currently blacked out.

Police also obtained a statement from a woman who said she witnessed some "unusual activity" at the Renforth wharf.

What that activity was or when exactly it occurred was not discussed, but the courtroom also heard that divers went looking for something around the wharf the day after Oland's body was discovered. It's unclear what they were looking for.

The court heard Oland reportedly carried an unnamed object with him all the time, "presumably a cell phone," said Coles, who was reading between the lines.

Coles also mentioned in court that the morning before Oland was killed, he was late for a meeting with an unnamed person

The judge has reserved his decision on how much information from those documents should be made public until Oct. 4.