New Brunswick

Dennis Oland appeal halts review of police investigation of father's murder

The New Brunswick Police Commission has suspended its review of the Saint John Police Force's handling of the Richard Oland murder investigation, citing Dennis Oland's appeal.

New Brunswick Police Commission does not want its review to affect Dennis Oland's proceedings

Dennis Oland, 47, is facing life in prison after being convicted of second-degree murder in the 2011 death of his father, prominent businessman Richard Oland. (CBC)

The New Brunswick Police Commission has suspended its review of the Saint John Police Force's handling of the Richard Oland murder investigation, citing Dennis Oland's appeal.

"We wish to ensure that a Commission investigation does not affect or impact the ongoing criminal proceedings," the commission said in a statement released on Friday.

"It is the Commission's intention to resume the investigation at the conclusion of the criminal proceedings," it said.

Dennis Oland, 47, was found guilty by a jury on Dec. 19 of second–degree murder in the 2011 bludgeoning death of his multimillionaire father.

His lawyers filed a notice of appeal and an application for bail with the New Brunswick Court of Appeal in Fredericton on Jan. 20.

Richard Oland, 69, was found dead in his Saint John office on July 7, 2011. (Canadian Yachting Association)
They are seeking to have the conviction quashed, and either an acquittal entered or a new trial ordered.

Oland is scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 11, with his request for bail slated to be heard the following day.

The commission, an independent provincial oversight body, launched its review just days after Oland's conviction, at the request of the then-chair of the Saint John Board of Police Commissioners.

Nicole Paquet said at the time she felt the review was necessary for the public's confidence in the force, and that it would also be important for the morale of the police officers themselves.

Several problems with the murder investigation were highlighted during the high-profile trial.

The jury heard evidence that police failed to protect the crime scene from possible contamination, used the bathroom located in the foyer outside the victim's office for two days before it was forensically tested, and never tested the back door for evidence.

A key piece of evidence in the Crown's case against Oland — a blood-stained brown sports jacket — was also handled by the former lead investigator with his bare hands and rolled up into a 30 centimetre by 30 centimetre paper exhibit bag by another officer, the jury heard.

Kathleen Lordon, a lawyer and former Crown prosecutor, had already been selected by the commission to handle the review.

Once it's complete, the results and any recommendations will be advanced to the minister of public safety for consideration, officials have said.

The body of Richard Oland, 69, was discovered laying face down in a pool of blood in his Saint John office on July 7, 2011. He had suffered 45 sharp and blunt force injuries to his head, neck and hands.

His son, Dennis Oland, was the last known person to see his father alive during a meeting at his office the night before.

Oland was deemed a suspect on the first day of the investigation, but wasn't charged until more than two years later, on Nov. 13, 2013.