Dennis Oland will have to remain behind bars for at least a few more days while a judge decides if the convicted murderer should be granted bail while awaiting an appeal of his conviction in the death of his father, a high-profile multi-millionaire.
New Brunswick Court of Appeal Justice Marc Richard said Friday he wished it was a case where he could give a decision right away, but he said he needed time to study the arguments and will provide his ruling next Wednesday.
There has never been a case in New Brunswick where someone convicted of murder has been granted bail while awaiting appeal, and there are only 21 cases on record across Canada.
“This is not a normal everyday occurrence, so the exceptional circumstances part of the test is the key determining factor here,” said Nicole O’Byrne, a law professor at the University of New Brunswick.
O’Byrne attended Oland’s bail hearing Friday in Fredericton, where Crown and defence lawyers presented case law from across the country.
During Oland’s recent trial, a court in Saint John heard that 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.
Dennis Oland was found guilty of second-degree murder by a jury Dec. 19. He was sentenced Thursday to life in prison with no chance of applying for parole for 10 years.
On Friday, Dennis Oland’s lawyer said his client should be released pending an appeal because the jury’s verdict was unreasonable.
Gold argued there was plenty of evidence to suggest there should have been a large amount of blood splatter on Dennis Oland, given the violent nature of the crime.
He said DNA samples from Oland’s brown sports jacket matched the profile of Richard Oland, but miniscule blood stains on the jacket could not be identified as blood spatter.
As well, Gold said the trial judge’s instructions at the end of the trial may have caused the jurors to wrongly conclude that since there was little blood on the 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.
“I’m not saying the jury was being bad or anything, they’re human,” said Gold.
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.
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.
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.
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 a statement the family was shocked by the outcome and that she and other family members continued to believe he is innocent.
During the trial, the Crown focused on possible motives, including Dennis Oland’s financial difficulties and the knowledge his father was having an affair.Report Typo/Error