New Brunswick

Deputy chief denies suggesting officer lie about Richard Oland crime scene

Saint John Police Force Deputy Chief Glen McCloskey denies allegations that he suggested another officer lie to the court about his presence at the Richard Oland murder scene.

Glen McCloskey, who was inspector in 2011, admits he entered bloody office twice

Deputy Chief Glen McCloskey was asked to mark his route of travel into Richard Oland's office on a sketch. The green line indicates his first trip in, while under the supervision of the forensics officer. The orange line indicates his second trip in with Const. Greg Oram. (Court exhibit)

Saint John Police Force Deputy Chief Glen McCloskey denies allegations that he suggested another officer lie to the court about his presence at the Richard Oland murder scene.

McCloskey suggested it was retired staff sergeant Mike King who lied about him because he was angry about being passed over for a promotion to inspector.

McCloskey made the statements Wednesday during his testimony at Dennis Oland's second-degree murder trial.

Saint John Police Chief John Bates has directed the force's professional standards unit to investigate the allegations.

McCloskey told the court he entered the bloody crime scene twice on the day the prominent businessman's bludgeoned body was discovered — once to "observe the body" and then again out of "curiosity."

"It was wrong, I shouldn't have been in there," said McCloskey, who was an inspector at the time and was only on site as a "resource person."

Deputy Chief Glen McCloskey testified Wednesday that he didn't suggest anyone alter their testimony about his presence at the Richard Oland crime scene. (CBC)
The 27-year veteran said he was "embarrassed," admitting that he went farther into the crime scene than directed by the head of the forensic identification unit and without any protective gear on.

McCloskey also said he might have touched — and even opened — the back door located in the foyer outside Oland's office, which Dennis Oland's defence lawyers have suggested would have been the "preferred exit route" of the killer.

The door was never checked for evidence because it was contaminated by officers before the forensics officer got a chance to test for fingerprints.

"There were a lot of things we could have done better at the scene," said McCloskey.

"What if any suggestion did you make to anyone to change their testimony in relation to your attendance at the scene?" asked Crown prosecutor Patrick Wilbur.

"None," replied McCloskey.

On Tuesday, King testified that some time last year, either before or during Dennis Oland's preliminary inquiry, McCloskey, who was his supervisor, had encouraged him not to reveal he had entered the crime scene.

King said he was in McCloskey's office when McCloskey referred to another officer as being an "idiot" for having said that he was there.

King said his reaction was, "You were in the room." McCloskey's reply, according to King, was, "Well, you don't have to tell them that."

Dennis Oland, 47, has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder in the 2011 death of his father, Richard Oland. (CBC)
Richard Oland's body was discovered lying face down in a large pool of blood in his second-storey investment firm office at 52 Canterbury St., on July 7, 2011.

He had suffered 45 sharp and blunt force injuries to his head, neck and hands.

Dennis Oland, 47, who was the last known person to see his father alive during a meeting at his office the night before, has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder.

The Saint John Police Force has faced scrutiny over its maintenance of the crime scene and the investigation as a whole.

Oland's defence lawyer Alan Gold suggested Wednesday it could have been McCloskey who left an unidentified footwear impression in the bloody crime scene.

Gold suggested that might have been why McCloskey didn't want King to testify that he had been there — he didn't want anyone to know he might have contaminated the scene and the important blood evidence.

The lawyer also pointed out that McCloskey and Const. Greg Oram — the officer he went into the office the second time with — were the only two officers who didn't testify at Dennnis Oland's preliminary inquiry. About 40 other officers did.

Gold argued that was no coincidence. He said by revealing new information on Wednesday, it gave the defence no opportunity to properly prepare for the cross-examination and to verify McCloskey's claims with other witnesses.

'I don't remember touching anything'

McCloskey said King called him after the victim's body was found, asking him to come to the crime scene. It was not unusual for him to attend a homicide scene, he said.

McCloskey entered Oland's office later that morning "to observe the body" with King and Sgt. Dave Brooker, of the major crime unit. Sgt. Mark Smith, the head of the forensic identification unit, was leading the way.

Richard Oland, 69, was found dead in his Saint John office on July 7, 2011. (Canadian Yachting Association)
They all followed the same path and went only as far as Smith indicated, said McCloskey. He believes he was the last one in, because he was the tallest.

"I don't remember touching anything," said McCloskey, adding he was not wearing any protective gloves or booties at the time.

He estimates they were only in the office between 45 seconds and one minute before leaving, likely backing their way out because they were in such "close quarters."

He was not directing the investigation or assisting in any way, he said under direct questioning by Crown prosecutor Patrick Wilbur, as a courtroom full of spectators looked on.

McCloskey said he entered the bloody office again around 12:30 p.m. with Oram, of the major crime unit to "look around."

"We walked in, roughly where Sgt. Smith had taken us to" and took a step closer to some filing cabinets in order to enter a room at the back of the office, he said, adding he noticed some small drops of blood on the floor.

Asked what the purpose was, McCloskey replied, "Curiosity, I guess."

Before long, Smith instructed them to "get out," he said.

Can't recall if he touched back door

Later on, in the foyer area outside Oland's office, McCloskey noticed a door that exited to a back alley, almost at ground level because the building is on a hill.

McCloskey said the door was open at the time and he went outside. "I couldn't say with any certainty whether I handled it or did not handle it at that point."

Under cross-examination by the defence, McCloskey said he might have touched the door, and later said he might have been the one to open the door.

Asked whether any instructions had been given to anyone about touching or using that door, he replied, "None that I'm aware of."

McCloskey said he looked around for three or four minutes, then went back inside.

Not easy to 'blow the whistle'

Earlier in the day, Mike King testified that it was not a pleasant decision to reveal his supervisor had encouraged him to lie to the court about the case.

"I take it it was not a pleasant decision for you to blow the whistle on what took place at this time?" Gold asked him during cross-examination.

"Very difficult," replied King.

Mike King, a retired staff sergeant with the Saint John Police Force, testified Tuesday there was no misunderstanding about the fact that Deputy Chief Glen McCloskey wanted him to lie. (CBC)
King said he told McCloskey he had "never lied on the stand in 32 years" and he "wasn't about to start."

Gold said when King disclosed the conversation to the Crown prosecutors last month, he said: "I'm just getting it off my chest. It's been bothering me for a long time."

King retired as staff sergeant in April after more than three decades on the force. He had applied for an inspector's position before he retired.

"What would you say to the allegation you're just saying these things about McCloskey because you got turned down for inspector and you're bitter?" asked Gold.

"False," replied King. He said he wasn't turned down. The process hadn't even started yet. He had applied, but decided to retire due to health reasons after a conversation with his doctor.