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The Globe and Mail

Judge grants access to redacted documents in Oland homicide case

Richard Oland was a member of the family that owns Moosehead Breweries Ltd., but left the company in 1981.


A judge is releasing edited versions of search warrants and supporting documents in the homicide investigation of a prominent New Brunswick businessman to a lawyer for two media outlets.

However, Judge R. Leslie Jackson said Monday that the information in the five documents relating to Richard Oland's slaying are banned from publication for two more days.

The search warrants and other documents have remained sealed in the year since Mr. Oland's death at his Saint John office, but the New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal and CBC have applied for release of their contents.

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Judge Jackson said in Saint John provincial court that lawyers for the Oland family still have to make arguments to restrict the release of at least four more files.

The judge ruled none of the contents can be published prior to Thursday, when he said media lawyer David Coles is expected to make arguments on behalf of his clients for further disclosure.

Judge Jackson said the first group of files will be sent to Mr. Coles to allow him time to review them prior to Thursday's hearing.

Judge Jackson heard in-camera arguments Monday from lawyers for the Oland family to restrict the release of portions of the records.

Bill Teed, the lawyer for the Oland family, and Gary Miller, the lawyer for Richard Oland's son Dennis Oland, declined comment.

Crown lawyer John Henheffer had withdrawn his request to keep all of the documents sealed during an Aug. 2 hearing, and instead asked Judge Jackson to determine what information could be released.

On Monday, he asked for a publication ban until Thursday on the records that are being sent to Mr. Coles, and he offered no further comment outside the court.

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Police have concluded that the 69-year-old Mr. Oland's death was a homicide and he likely knew the suspect, but they have not said how he was killed.

Police have argued the search warrants contain crucial evidence that may only be known by the suspect or a witness. They say that releasing the warrants might potentially affect the reliability of any witness who might come forward in the future.

Mr. Coles has said the two news organizations are seeking full release of the search warrants and supporting documents in part because there is a public interest in the delays in the investigation.

Mr. Oland was a member of the family that owns Moosehead Breweries Ltd., but left the company in 1981. He also worked in the trucking business, at the Saint John Shipbuilding and Drydock Co., and as a director for 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.

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