Richard Oland case puts police under scrutiny

The Saint John police force is coming under scrutiny for its handling of the Richard Oland homicide.

The Saint John police force is coming under scrutiny for its handling of the Richard Oland homicide.

The 69-year-old prominent businessman was found dead  in his office nearly two weeks ago. Police determined the cause of death to be homicide.

Some people have suggested the police are taking too long and revealing too little about the investigation, but not everyone agrees.

Police spent days on the scene on Canterbury Street, gathering evidence and conducting interviews.

They've executed at least two searches — one at the Rothesay home of Oland's son, Dennis, another at a ball field at the nearby Bill McGuire Community Centre.

So far, no charges have been laid.

"I don't find that strange. I think that's par for the course," said veteran lawyer Allen Doyle, adding that two weeks is not a long time for a homicide investigation. "Generally speaking, you're going to be more thorough — you're going to make sure all your i's are dotted, and t's are crossed."

Doyle defended Carmen Tessier, who was charged in 2000 with second-degree murder in the death of his girlfriend Brenda Cosgrove after a 10-year investigation.

"The evidence in that case was unbelievable. There were boxes and boxes and boxes of information that over a span of 10 years had been collected. So I would think in two weeks with what we're dealing with right now, it will be a while before anything really comes to light."

Doyle said he could understand police taking their time.

In Tessier's case, police had a videotaped confession, but the trial judge threw that out and the Supreme Court of Canada dismissed the charge.

"I think they're just being overly cautious and make sure they've got it right. The first thing a defence lawyer is going to be looking for are holes in the case, and they don't want to leave any."

Police keep investigation under wraps

Criminologist Michael Boudreau said police also don't want to reveal too much information and jeopardize the investigation.

"They're under media scrutiny. I mean, this is not just a local case, this is a provincial case, a national case," said Boudreau.

He's not surprised police are disclosing little about the investigation.

"Obviously there is a killer somewhere and they need to find that person quickly, but if they start revealing information that may then provide the killer with information that they are onto him or her, and they may then leave."

He said that secrecy can fuel innuendo about who may have killed Oland and how he was killed.

But revealing too much information can backfire too.

"The flip side of that scenario is if you reveal too much information, then people may start to have the wrong idea and start publicly blaming people or naming people, and then you have the issue of vigilantism and that can be very, very dangerous as well."

Police did not return calls from CBC News Wednesday.

At this point, there is no word on how the investigation is going or how much longer it will take before someone is charged.