New Brunswick

Dennis Oland was warned his statements would be verified by videos

Dennis Oland was warned several times during his police statement that whatever he said could and would be verified by video surveillance, his murder trial heard on Friday.

Accused told police he was wearing navy blazer when he visited Richard Oland, video shows it was brown jacket

Dennis Oland, 47, has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder in the 2011 death of his father, prominent businessman Richard Oland. (CBC)

Dennis Oland was warned several times during his police statement that whatever he said could and would be verified by video surveillance, his murder trial heard on Friday.

Defence lawyer Gary Miller pointed out at least five occasions Const. Stephen Davidson told Oland about video cameras, including some that didn't exist.

Miller also noted that at least one of those cautions came before Davidson asked Oland what he was wearing when he visited his father, Richard Oland, at his office on July 6, 2011 — the day before his bludgeoned body was discovered.

Dennis Oland, who was the last known person to see his father alive, told Davidson he was wearing the same pants and shoes he had on during the interview, a dress shirt and a navy blazer.

Richard Oland, 69, was found dead in his Saint John office on July 7, 2011. (Canadian Yachting Association)
"He answered your question unhesitantly, correct?" Miller asked Davidson during cross-examination.

"Yes," Davidson replied.

Video surveillance submitted into evidence shows Oland was wearing a brown jacket earlier that day. Richard Oland's secretary also testified earlier in the trial that she saw the accused wearing a brown jacket when he visited the office.

Police later seized a brown jacket from Dennis Oland's bedroom closet. The Crown says it had four areas of blood on it that matched Richard Oland's DNA profile.

The prominent businessman suffered 45 sharp and blunt force injuries to his head, neck and hands. His body was found lying face down on his office floor in a large pool of blood, with "hundreds" of blood spatter stains in every direction.

Dennis Oland told police he was wearing a navy blazer when he went to visit his father on July 6, 2011, but video surveillance shows he was wearing a brown sports jacket that day. (Court exhibit)
Dennis Oland, 47, has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder.

He voluntarily gave police a statement to Davidson on July 7, 2011, around 6 p.m.

Miller read segments of the transcript of that video aloud in court on Friday, during his cross-examination of Davidson.

"OK. And what were you wearing? 'Cause we … I just want to make sure who was coming in, who was going out. When we look at the surveillance I can say … that's Dennis, and that's this guy," Davidson had asked Oland.

"Um, these pants, these shoes, a dress shirt, and a navy blazer," Oland replied.

The defence has not yet laid out its case for the jury, but it appears Miller is arguing it doesn't make any sense that Oland would lie about what he was wearing if he knew police could check through video surveillance.

He was well aware that whatever answers he gave you could be contradicted by video of it?- Gary Miller, defence lawyer

He did not, however, put forward an alternative explanation for the discrepancy.

"He's put on notice about video surveillance being able to see where he went and when," stressed Miller.

"So he was well aware that whatever answers he gave you could be contradicted by video of it?"

"Yes," replied Davidson.

Miller also pointed out that Davidson mentioned during the interview with Oland that there were video cameras inside his father's office building at 52 Canterbury St., when, in fact, there weren't any.

"So you lied to him to get his reaction?"

"Yes," said Davidson.

Deemed suspect before jacket discrepancy

Miller asked Davidson if he knew about the video footage showing Oland wearing a brown jacket instead of a navy one when he interviewed him. He said he did not.

"So he became a suspect based on what we saw" and heard in his 2½-hour statement, asked Miller. Yes, Davidson confirmed.

Defence lawyer Gary Miller began cross-examination of lead investigator, Const. Stephen Davidson, on Friday. (CBC)
Earlier the court heard Oland was considered a witness at the beginning of the interview — someone who might have information that could assist with the investigation.

By the end of the interview, however, he was deemed a suspect and informed search warrants would be executed against him.

Davidson made attempts to find out more about the brown jacket by contacting Hugo Boss to ask when it was manufactured and sold, the court heard.

Miller introduced one of Oland's Visa statements from 2009, which were part of his financial records seized by police. The statement shows an April 27 purchase from Hugo Boss in Orlando, Fla., for $860.47 US ($1,079.26 Cdn).

It's unclear whether that purchase was related to the brown jacket. Davidson said he did not attempt to find out.

Noises coming from victim's office probed

Miller also asked Davidson about statements he took from two men who believe they heard Richard Oland being murdered.

John Ainsworth, who owns the building Richard Oland's second-floor office was located in, and also operates the Printing Plus business downstairs, told Davidson on the morning Oland's body was discovered that he heard noises coming from his office the night before.

Davidson had marked in his notes: "8 p.m. stomping five to six times on floor."

Ainsworth "didn't describe it as a 'guesstimate?'" asked Miller.

"Not to my recollection," Davidson replied.

Const. Stephen Davidson says John Ainsworth told him he heard noises coming from Richard Oland's office at 8 p.m. on the night police believe the prominent businessman was killed. (CBC)
The timing of the noise is important to the defence's case because there is security video that shows Dennis Oland shopping at Cochran's Country Market in Rothesay at 7:38 p.m.

Earlier this week, Ainsworth testified that he couldn't say for sure what time he heard the noises. He said he was distracted by a computer project he was working on and wasn't paying much attention to anything else.

The best estimate he could offer was sometime between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Anthony Shaw, who was with Ainsworth that night, testified he heard "thumping" noises around 7:30 p.m. or 7:45 p.m. — before a customer came in to have a document faxed.

The document was time-stamped 8:11 p.m.

Davidson made several unsuccessful attempts to identify and locate the customer, the court heard.

He also ran tests on the Printing Plus equipment to check whether the time stamp was accurate.

He also followed up in 2013 on information that the business located next to Richard Oland's might have been moving on July 6, 2011. But it turned out Net Difference had moved out in May or June.

Miller suggested police considered the noises "serious." Lead Crown prosecutor P.J. Veniot objected and Justice John Walsh asked the jury to leave for a few minutes.

Once the jury was back, Miller said: "The long and short of it Const. Davidson is that you followed up on these noises … quite thoroughly?"

"Yes, that's correct," Davidson replied.

The trial resumes on Monday at 9:30 a.m. It is scheduled to run until Dec. 18.