Oland jury got it wrong, lawyer tells appeal court as he seeks bail
Kevin Bissett, The Canadian Press
Published Friday, February 12, 2016 6:39AM EST
Last Updated Friday, February 12, 2016 1:07PM EST
FREDERICTON -- Dennis Oland's lawyer says his client should be released pending an appeal of his murder conviction because the jury's verdict was unreasonable.
Just a day after he was sentenced to life in jail with parole eligibility after a decade, Oland was back in court Friday seeking bail in Fredericton before New Brunswick Court of Appeal Justice Marc Richard.
At the conclusion of the court hearing, Richard reserved his decision until next Wednesday.
Earlier in the day, defence lawyer Alan Gold argued that Oland's conviction for the second-degree murder of his multi-millionaire father was flawed on a number of levels.
"I'm not saying the jury was being bad or anything, they're human," said Gold. "There is nothing in the evidence that warrants the continued detention of Dennis Oland."
Richard Oland's body was found face down in a pool of blood in his Saint John office on July 7, 2011.
He had suffered 45 blunt and sharp force blows to his head, neck and hands, although no weapon was ever found.
Gold said the trial judge's instructions at the end of the trial may have caused the jurors to conclude that since there was little blood on Dennis Oland's brown jacket there would be little blood on his cellular telephone.
The lawyer said the judge should have provided instructions that cautioned against this kind of reasoning.
Gold argued there was plenty of evidence that there should have been a large amount of blood splatter on the jacket, and he added the miniscule stains on Oland's jacket were never identified as spatter.
The lawyer also said bail should be granted because evidence presented at his trial showed Dennis Oland wasn't at his father's office when a witness described hearing thumping sounds coming from the room, but instead shopping in the Saint John suburb of Rothesay.
Prosecutor Kathryn Gregory said the Crown is not concerned about public safety in this case, but she said there is concern about the credibility of the justice system.
She said bail in such cases is rare, noting there have been 21 previous cases in which a convicted murderer was granted bail under exceptional circumstances.
The grounds in this case are not unusual or exceptional, she said, adding that the only issue is the length of time until the appeal, which probably won't be held until October at the earliest.
Gregory said if Oland is released, the Crown is seeking $400,000 in sureties with half from uncle Derek Oland and half from Dennis's mother Constance.
In an affidavit filed with the court, Oland says if granted bail he would continue to work as a director of his father's companies and live at home with his wife Lisa.
Both his mother and uncle say they have unencumbered assets of at least $1 million each and are prepared to provide whatever level of bail the court may require.
Judge John Walsh said in his sentencing ruling Thursday in Saint John that the younger Oland, an investment adviser, "simply lost it, snapped, or exploded."
Following his conviction, Oland's mother Connie said in statement the family was shocked by the outcome and that she and other family members continued to believe he was innocent.
The Olands are an establishment family in the history of the Maritimes, having founded Moosehead Breweries, although Richard Oland left the family business in 1981.
During the trial, the Crown focused on possible motives, including Dennis Oland's financial difficulties and the knowledge his father was having an affair.
The key piece of evidence for the Crown was a brown jacket worn by Dennis Oland that had a number of small blood stains and also DNA that matched the profile of Richard Oland.