New Brunswick

Dennis Oland's new murder trial to begin next fall

Dennis Oland's new murder trial in the 2011 bludgeoning death of his father, Saint John multimillionaire Richard Oland, won't begin until next fall.

Pre-trial proceedings for retrial in 2011 death of father, Richard Oland, set for March

Dennis Oland (left) did not speak to reporters as he left the Saint John courthouse with defence lawyers Alan Gold and James McConnell following his pre-trial conference on Thursday. (CBC)

Dennis Oland's new murder trial in the 2011 bludgeoning death of his father, Saint John multimillionaire Richard Oland, won't be held until next fall.

The retrial will begin on Oct. 10 at 9:30 a.m.

That will mark nearly two years since Dennis Oland was released on bail after his second-degree murder conviction was overturned by the New Brunswick Court of Appeal, and more than seven years since his father's murder.

Court of Queen's Bench Justice Terrence Morrison set the date Thursday, following a pre-trial conference in Saint John.

Pre-trial hearings, which will be subject to a publication ban, will begin on March 6 and last "as long as necessary," he said.

Oland, 49, who was sitting alone in the front row of the courtroom, showed no reaction before he quickly left. He did not speak to reporters outside the courthouse.

There is a publication ban on the details of the pre-trial conference.

But Morrison, who will preside at the retrial, had suggested the conference during Oland's previous court appearance to discuss issues he felt needed to be settled before a trial date could be set, such as how many Crown witnesses will testify, how many days will be required, and whether there will be any pre-trial hearings.

"It seems to me that there are a number of factors which are going to have an impact on when this trial starts," Morrison had said on Sept. 5.

A pre-trial conference would give the parties an opportunity to "drill down into the nitty-gritty," the judge had said.

All three of Oland's defence lawyers — Alan Gold of Toronto, Gary Miller of Fredericton, and James McConnell of Saint John, were present on Thursday.

Richard Oland, 69, was found dead in his Saint John office on July 7, 2011. (Canadian Yachting Association)
The retrial is currently slated to last up to 65 days, the same length of time set aside for Oland's first jury trial in 2015.

Some judges, lawyers and legal experts have suggested the retrial could be shorter. The parties might be able to reach agreed statements of fact, for example, and avoid calling some witnesses.

A jury found Oland guilty on Dec. 19, 2015.

The retrial was ordered by the New Brunswick Court of Appeal last fall when it overturned Oland's conviction, citing an error in the trial judge's instructions to the jury.

Oland has been free on bail since Oct. 25, 2016, pending the new trial.

The body of Richard Oland, 69, was discovered lying face down in a pool of blood in his Saint John investment firm office on July 7, 2011. He had suffered 45 blows to his head, neck and hands.

His son was the last known person to see him alive, during a visit at his office the night before. No weapon was ever found.