The suspect in the slaying of New Brunswick businessman Richard Oland is his son Dennis, say search warrant documents that were executed in the investigation.
A Saint John judge quashed a publication ban on the identities of those subject to the search warrants on Friday.
Dennis Oland’s property in Rothesay, a suburb of Saint John, was searched after his father’s death nearly two years ago.
In a document that was used to obtain the search warrant, a local police officer identified Dennis Oland as the suspect in the case.
“I believe that Dennis Oland is responsible for the death of Richard Oland,” said Constable Stacy Humphrey in the sworn document dated July 13, 2011.
Dennis Oland has not been charged and no arrests have been made since Mr. Oland was found dead. Police and the lawyer for Dennis Oland didn’t return messages Friday seeking comment.
The search warrants showed police seized 57 items from Dennis Oland’s home. Those items include legal papers, bank statements, garbage bags, bedding, clothing, a purple purse and a “note in a purse.”
The CBC and Brunswick News applied for the search warrants to be unsealed. Last October, portions of those search warrants were released, which said police had a suspect in mind who was “experiencing financial hardships” and owed Mr. Oland, 69, more than $500,000.
The documents also said police believe the suspect had a financial motive to kill Mr. Oland.
The two news outlets later asked the courts to unseal the identities of people who were subject to the search warrants, arguing the decision to keep that information under wraps was unreasonable because their names were previously reported.
Lawyers for the Oland family argued they were already subject to a great deal of media scrutiny, and while their names were already reported prior to the publication ban, they felt they were entitled to privacy.
But in a decision released Friday, Justice William Grant of the Court of Queen’s Bench said that argument wasn’t strong enough to justify the publication ban.
“There was no specific evidence that they suffered any damage or harm arising from the publication of their names,” Justice Grant said in his ruling.
“While intense media scrutiny is undoubtedly difficult for them to endure, the sensibility of individuals is not, as a general rule, a sufficient justification for a publication ban.”
The documents also reveal that police searched a 7.6-metre yacht called Loki, which was docked at the Royal Kennebecasis Yacht Club in Saint John. The records say “genealogy papers/books/documents” were sought.
That boat was owned by Dennis Oland’s wife, Lisa, and her friend Mary Beth Watt, the records say.
The Crown kept DNA swabs that were taken off ignition keys, cabin doors, gas cans, scrub brushes, sinks, a red stain on the sink and other parts of the boat, the documents say.
Mr. Oland’s body was discovered in his Saint John office on July 7, 2011. He was a member of the family that owns Moosehead Breweries Ltd., but left the company in the 1980s.
He also worked in the trucking business, at the Saint John Shipbuilding and Drydock Co., and as a director of several firms, including Eastern Provincial Airways, Newfoundland Capital Corp., and Ganong Bros.
He also served as president of the board of the 1985 Canada Summer Games in Saint John, and was appointed an officer of the Order of Canada in 1998.
The Oland family can trace its brewing roots to 1867, when John and Susannah Oland started the Army and Navy Brewery in what was then Dartmouth, N.S. The company was later sold, but the family returned to the business, eventually setting up the Maritime Brewing and Malting Co. in the port city.
After the Halifax Explosion destroyed the family’s plant in 1917, George Oland – Richard’s grandfather – moved to New Brunswick, where he bought another brewery.