Saint John deputy police chief faces arbitration hearing in Dennis Oland case

Deputy Chief Glen McCloskey of the Saint John Police Force will face an arbitration hearing in connection with the murder trial of Dennis Oland.

Veteran officer Glen McCloskey was accused of 'witness tampering' during testimony at murder trial

Deputy Chief Glen McCloskey of the Saint John Police Force remains on active duty. (CBC)

The deputy chief of the Saint John Police Force will face an arbitration hearing in connection with the murder trial of Dennis Oland.

No details of alleged misconduct by Deputy Chief Glen McCloskey are listed in the hearing notice posted Monday on the New Brunswick Police Commission website.

But Steve Roberge, the executive director and CEO of the commission, confirmed the allegations against McCloskey "are related to the Oland investigation and proceedings."

Police Chief John Bates has previously described the accusations as "for lack of a better choice of words, sort of a witness tampering."

Arbitration hearings are scheduled "when the subject officer and their chief of police, or civic authority or commission are unable to come to an agreement on corrective measures resulting from the disciplinary process," Roberge told CBC News in an email.

A hearing will be held Sept. 22. Rob Lewis has been appointed the arbitrator.

McCloskey, a 27-year veteran, was cleared by the Halifax Regional Police of any criminal wrongdoing in October 2016 after an eight-month investigation. He remains on active duty.​

His lawyer could not immediately be reached for comment.

Denied allegations under oath

Steve Roberge, the New Brunswick Police Commission executive director and CEO, said arbitration hearings are held when parties are unable to reach an agreement on corrective measures resulting from the disciplinary process. (CBC)
The chief had asked the provincial oversight body to investigate allegations against McCloskey in October 2015, following the testimony of retired staff sergeant Mike King at Oland's second-degree murder trial in the 2011 bludgeoning death of his father, multimillionaire Richard Oland.

King testified McCloskey had encouraged him not to reveal that McCloskey had entered the bloody crime scene where Oland's body was discovered on July 7, 2011.

King had also alleged McCloskey had a box of exhibits related to the Oland investigation in his office that he wanted him to deliver to the RCMP in Fredericton, which was not the "normal procedure."

McCloskey, who served as the acting chief for about six months in 2015, denied the allegations when he testified.

He told the court he entered the crime scene twice on the day in question — once to "observe the body" and then again out of "curiosity."

Investigation completed last year

Saint John Chief John Bates said he has 'turned the whole package over to the New Brunswick Police Commission' and was advised he is no longer the 'complainant.' (Twitter)
The New Brunswick Police Commission completed its Police Act review of the allegations against McCloskey in December 2016, but no details about the findings have been made public.

The chief declined to comment Monday on the arbitration hearing, referring all inquiries to the provincial commission.

"They assumed carriage of the entire matter from us," said Bates.

Although the matter is listed as "Chief Bates on behalf of the Saint John Board of Police Commissioners vs. McCloskey," Bates said he was unaware of the online notice being posted.

He said he had "turned the whole package over" to the provincial commission and was advised he was no longer the "complainant," the commission was. 

Bates confirmed McCloskey "absolutely continues to be on active duty and fulfilling his role as deputy chief."

Waiting for Supreme Court decision

Dennis Oland, 49, has been living in the community under conditions since October, after being granted bail pending his new trial. (Andrew Vaughan/Canadian Press)
A jury found Oland guilty on Dec. 19, 2015, following a three-month trial in Saint John's Court of Queen's Bench and roughly 30 hours of deliberations over four days.

He was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for at least 10 years and served about 10 months before the New Brunswick Court of Appeal overturned his conviction on Oct. 24, citing an error in the judge's instructions to the jury.

The court ordered a new trial and Oland, 49, was released on bail the following day.

A date for his new trial has not yet been set. The Crown and defence are waiting to see if the Supreme Court of Canada will hear their appeals.

The Crown is seeking to have the guilty verdict reinstated, while the defence is seeking an acquittal instead of a retrial.

2nd review of murder probe pending

Richard Oland, 69, was found dead in his Saint John office on July 7, 2011. (Canadian Yachting Association)
Barry McKnight, the former Fredericton police chief, conducted the provincial commission investigation of the allegations against McCloskey. Within a month, he "came to the conclusion that there were criminal allegations that needed to be examined," Roberge had told CBC News in April.

The file was handed back to McKnight once the Halifax police investigation concluded.

The commission also plans to review the Saint John Police Force's handling of the murder investigation after the trial heard evidence that officers failed to protect the crime scene from possible contamination, used the bathroom in the foyer outside the victim's office for two days before it was forensically tested, and never tested the back door for evidence.

But that review, requested by the Saint John Board of Police Commissioners, is on hold until Oland's legal proceedings have concluded.

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

His son was the last known person to see him alive during a meeting at his office the night before.

Dennis Oland's extended family has stood by him from the beginning, maintaining his innocence.