Day: July 19, 2019

Dennis Oland will take time to ‘mentally regroup’ after acquittal: lawyer

SAINT JOHN, N.B. — Dennis Oland’s acquittal in the 2011 murder of his father has left many questions about what comes next for the member of one of Atlantic Canada’s most prominent families following a very public eight-year legal ordeal.

The 51-year-old former financial adviser hugged his defence team following Friday’s decision by Justice Terrence Morrison, but accompanied by members of his family, he quickly departed the courthouse without talking to reporters.

It was left to his Toronto-based defence lawyer, Alan Gold, to speak to Oland’s state of mind after what he called “a very punishing eight years” for his client and his family.

Gold said Oland’s immediate plans are simply to “mentally regroup” and spend quality time with his family.

“Right now he is entitled to as much private time with his family, where he can just lie there and convince himself that it’s finally over. That is going to be his big psychic task — he’s going to wake up and not believe it’s finally over, because it’s gone on for so long.”

Oland was washing his car when he was arrested and charged with second-degree murder in 2013, two years after his father, prominent businessman Richard Oland was bludgeoned to death in his uptown Saint John office.

Gold recounted the roller-coaster legal journey that ensued, including Oland’s conviction by a jury at the end of his first trial in 2015, his incarceration and release following several appeals, and then ultimately a second trial that resulted in his acquittal by judge alone.

Members of Oland’s family have been unwavering in their support since his arrest, including his mother Connie, his wife Lisa, his four children, and his uncle Derrick Oland, the executive chairman of Moosehead Breweries Ltd. — Canada’s oldest independent brewery and the longtime family business.

“We wish to restate our steadfast support for Dennis and our faith that the judicial process will prove his innocence,” the family said in a statement issued last November.

Richard Oland was a former vice-president with Moosehead Breweries until he lost out in a succession dispute and left to run his own enterprises.

The court heard he had amassed a fortune worth an estimated $36-million, and despite a relationship that was strained at times, he extended generous loans to his son, who was deeply in debt by the time of the murder.

The retrial was told Dennis Oland, who worked at CIBC Wood Gundy, had reached the limit on most of his personal accounts despite having his credit limits raised by thousands of dollars. He was struggling to meet commitments that included $4,300 per month for child and spousal support and more than $1,650 owed to his father each month for a $500,000 loan made two years earlier.

On the day his father’s body was found, Oland owed $163,939.68 on a line of credit.

The indebtedness was a big part of the prosecution’s theory in the case and was fodder for much speculation in Saint John, a port city of about 70,000.

Now Oland is left to pick up the pieces after one of the most sensational criminal cases to grip the Maritimes in decades.

Gold said Oland will find it hard to believe his ordeal is truly over. “Just leave him in peace and let him come to the wonderful realization it is finally over,” he told reporters.

Gold wouldn’t say whether Oland plans any civil litigation.

“I only do criminal defence work. I have no idea about civil suits,” he said.

The Canadian Press

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By The Wall of Law July 19, 2019 Off

Dennis Oland will take time to ‘mentally regroup’ after acquittal: lawyer

SAINT JOHN, N.B. — Dennis Oland’s acquittal in the 2011 murder of his father has left many questions about what comes next for the member of one of Atlantic Canada’s most prominent families following a very public eight-year legal ordeal.

The 51-year-old former financial adviser hugged his defence team following Friday’s decision by Justice Terrence Morrison, but accompanied by members of his family, he quickly departed the courthouse without talking to reporters.

It was left to his Toronto-based defence lawyer, Alan Gold, to speak to Oland’s state of mind after what he called “a very punishing eight years” for his client and his family.

Gold said Oland’s immediate plans are simply to “mentally regroup” and spend quality time with his family.

“Right now he is entitled to as much private time with his family, where he can just lie there and convince himself that it’s finally over. That is going to be his big psychic task — he’s going to wake up and not believe it’s finally over, because it’s gone on for so long.”

Oland was washing his car when he was arrested and charged with second-degree murder in 2013, two years after his father, prominent businessman Richard Oland was bludgeoned to death in his uptown Saint John office.

Gold recounted the roller-coaster legal journey that ensued, including Oland’s conviction by a jury at the end of his first trial in 2015, his incarceration and release following several appeals, and then ultimately a second trial that resulted in his acquittal by judge alone.

Members of Oland’s family have been unwavering in their support since his arrest, including his mother Connie, his wife Lisa, his four children, and his uncle Derrick Oland, the executive chairman of Moosehead Breweries Ltd. — Canada’s oldest independent brewery and the longtime family business.

“We wish to restate our steadfast support for Dennis and our faith that the judicial process will prove his innocence,” the family said in a statement issued last November.

Richard Oland was a former vice-president with Moosehead Breweries until he lost out in a succession dispute and left to run his own enterprises.

The court heard he had amassed a fortune worth an estimated $36-million, and despite a relationship that was strained at times, he extended generous loans to his son, who was deeply in debt by the time of the murder.

The retrial was told Dennis Oland, who worked at CIBC Wood Gundy, had reached the limit on most of his personal accounts despite having his credit limits raised by thousands of dollars. He was struggling to meet commitments that included $4,300 per month for child and spousal support and more than $1,650 owed to his father each month for a $500,000 loan made two years earlier.

On the day his father’s body was found, Oland owed $163,939.68 on a line of credit.

The indebtedness was a big part of the prosecution’s theory in the case and was fodder for much speculation in Saint John, a port city of about 70,000.

Now Oland is left to pick up the pieces after one of the most sensational criminal cases to grip the Maritimes in decades.

Gold said Oland will find it hard to believe his ordeal is truly over. “Just leave him in peace and let him come to the wonderful realization it is finally over,” he told reporters.

Gold wouldn’t say whether Oland plans any civil litigation.

“I only do criminal defence work. I have no idea about civil suits,” he said.

The Canadian Press

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By The Wall of Law July 19, 2019 Off

Judge finds Dennis Oland not guilty of murder in father’s death

SAINT JOHN, N.B.—Dennis Oland has been found not guilty of second-degree murder in the 2011 bludgeoning death of his multi-millionaire father, Richard.

Justice Terrence Morrison of the New Brunswick Court of Queen’s Bench delivered his decision Friday to a packed courtroom in Saint John, N.B.

Morrison said there were too many missing pieces of the puzzle to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. “More than suspicion is needed to convict a person of murder,” he said.

Dennis Oland, 51, a former financial adviser who was charged with second degree murder in 2013, hugged his defence team after the verdict was read.

READ: How Dennis Oland got a retrial for second-degree murder

His reaction was in stark contrast to his response after his first trial in 2015 when a jury found him guilty of second degree murder. At that time, he collapsed in the courtroom and sobbed uncontrollably into the robes of one of his defence lawyers.

That jury verdict was overturned on appeal and a second trial was held, this time before judge alone.

Members of the Oland family who have stood by Dennis throughout the almost decade-long ordeal cried tears of joy in the courtroom. The New Brunswick branch of the Maritime beer-brewing clan is one of the wealthiest families in the province.

The family-owned business, Moosehead Breweries, is based in Saint John, and Richard Oland was a former vice-president until he lost out in a succession dispute and left to run his own enterprises.

It was in one of those companies, the investment firm Far End Corp., that the 69-year-old was bludgeoned to death sometime during the night of July 6, 2011. His body was found by his assistant the next morning. He had been beaten to death with a weapon that was never found.

From the start, Dennis Oland insisted he had nothing to do with his father’s death. But he was the one and only suspect for the Saint John Police Department from the day the body was found.

He is the last known person to have seen his father alive. The trial heard he went up and down to his father’s office three times in the space of about an hour on July 6, 2011, between 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. He said his father was fine when he left him after a pleasant chat about the genealogy of the Oland family.

The police and prosecution theory was that during his third and final visit to the office, Oland used something like a drywall hammer with both a sharp edge and a blunt end to beat his father to death, striking 45 blows, mostly to the head.

“Absolutely ridiculous,” Oland said when prosecutors accused him on the stand in March. “I’m not that kind of monster.”

The prosecution theory of the crime was that Oland attacked his father in a rage following an argument over money. Dennis Oland was deeply in debt; Richard Oland had amassed a fortune worth an estimated $36 million and was living the high life, racing yachts and travelling with his mistress.

The defence team, led by Toronto lawyer Alan Gold, downplayed the importance of money. Oland himself told the court that while things were a bit tight—he was overspending by roughly $14,000 per month and his credit cards and lines of credit were maxxed out—he could always borrow more money when he needed it.

Both Oland trials spanned several months. The second trial also was supposed to be a jury trial, but the discovery that a Saint John police officer who was helping the prosecution with jury selection used a database that was not permitted led to a mistrial, the dismissal of selected jurors and the decision to proceed before judge alone.

The conduct of the Saint John Police Department was central to the defence strategy in both trials. Without a jury in the second trial, defence lawyers had tough questions for police officers who took the stand and often admitted to not being as careful as they should have been in protecting the crime scene.

Defence lawyer Mike Lacy said so many officers, both senior and junior, visited the bloody scene, it was like “a tourist attraction.”

Gold also raised the issue of “confirmation bias” or tunnel vision in the police investigation. He argued that Saint John police decided early that Oland was the killer and they discounted any evidence that may have pointed in another direction.

Oland did not comment as he left the courthouse Friday. Supporters applauded as he was led to a waiting car.

—With files from Kevin Bissett

MORE ABOUT DENNIS OLAND:

 

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By The Wall of Law July 19, 2019 Off

Dennis Oland Found Not Guilty Of Murder In His Father’s 2011 Death

Dennis Oland attends a news briefing by his legal team in Saint John, N.B., on Nov. 20, 2018

SAINT JOHN, N.B. — Dennis Oland has been found not guilty of second-degree murder in the 2011 bludgeoning death of his multimillionaire father, Richard Oland.

Justice Terrence Morrison of the New Brunswick Court of Queen’s Bench delivered his decision Friday to a packed courtroom in Saint John, N.B.

Morrison said there were too many missing pieces of the puzzle to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. “More than suspicion is needed to convict a person of murder,” he said.

Dennis Oland, 51, a former financial adviser who was charged with second degree murder in 2013, hugged his defence team after the verdict was read.

His reaction was in stark contrast to his response after his first trial in 2015 when a jury found him guilty of second-degree murder. At that time, he collapsed in the courtroom and sobbed uncontrollably into the robes of one of his defence lawyers.

That jury verdict was overturned on appeal and a second trial was held, this time before judge alone.

Members of the Oland family who have stood by Dennis throughout the almost decade-long ordeal cried tears of joy in the courtroom. The New Brunswick branch of the Maritime beer-brewing clan is one of the wealthiest families in the province.

The family-owned business, Moosehead Breweries, is based in Saint John, and Richard Oland was a former vice-president until he lost out in a succession dispute and left to run his own enterprises.

It was in one of those companies, the investment firm Far End Corp., that the 69-year-old man was bludgeoned to death sometime during the night of July 6, 2011. His body was found by his assistant the next morning. He had been beaten to death with a weapon that was never found.

From the start, Dennis Oland insisted he had nothing to do with his father’s death. But he was the one and only suspect for the Saint John Police Department from the day the body was found.

He is the last known person to have seen his father alive. The trial heard he went up and down to his father’s office three times in the space of about an hour on July 6, 2011, between 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. He said his father was fine when he left him after a pleasant chat about the genealogy of the Oland family.

Watch: Dennis Oland was questioned by police after his father’s death in 2011. Story continues below.

 

The police and prosecution theory was that during his third and final visit to the office, Oland used something like a drywall hammer with both a sharp edge and a blunt end to beat his father to death, striking 45 blows, mostly to the head.

“Absolutely ridiculous,” Oland said when prosecutors accused him on the stand in March. “I’m not that kind of monster.”

The prosecution theory of the crime was that Oland attacked his father in a rage following an argument over money. Dennis Oland was deeply in debt; Richard Oland had amassed a fortune worth an estimated $36 million and was living the high life, racing yachts and travelling with his mistress.

The defence team, led by Toronto lawyer Alan Gold, downplayed the importance of money. Oland himself told the court that while things were a bit tight — he was overspending by roughly $14,000 per month and his credit cards and lines of credit were maxxed out — but he could always borrow more money when he needed it.

Defence team focused on police work

Both Oland trials spanned several months. The second trial also was supposed to be a jury trial, but the discovery that a Saint John police officer who was helping the prosecution with jury selection used a database that was not permitted led to a mistrial, the dismissal of selected jurors and the decision to proceed before judge alone.

The conduct of the Saint John Police Department was central to the defence strategy in both trials. Without a jury in the second trial, defence lawyers had tough questions for police officers who took the stand and often admitted to not being as careful as they should have been in protecting the crime scene.

Defence lawyer Mike Lacy said so many officers, both senior and junior, visited the bloody scene, it was like “a tourist attraction.”

Gold also raised the issue of “confirmation bias” or tunnel vision in the police investigation. He argued that Saint John police decided early that Oland was the killer and they discounted any evidence that may have pointed in another direction.

Oland did not comment as he left the courthouse Friday. Supporters applauded as he was led to a waiting car.

With files from Kevin Bissett

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By The Wall of Law July 19, 2019 Off

Hands up anyone who thought the election would be fought over the food guide

Welcome to a sneak peek of the Maclean’s Politics Insider newsletter. Sign-up at the bottom of the page to get it delivered straight to your inbox.

So many polls, such little consensus: With at least a dozen polls released since the start of summer all seeming to send a different message about the electorate’s views, it can be overwhelming. Cue Philippe J. Fournier, founder of poll aggregator 338Canada, who cautions against getting caught up in the findings of any single poll: “We compile the results, keep our eyes on the big picture, and we don’t let one single poll set the narrative.” (Maclean’s)

Hashtag inflation: On Tuesday it seemed like all of Canada was tweeting #TrudeauMustGo, with the hashtag appearing on Twitter’s trending list for much of the day. But analysis by the National Observer found that a lot of those accounts joining in the anti-Trudeau tweetfest had only been set up days earlier, and some were posting messages at an un-human rate of 200 to 300 a day. (National Observer)

Settled: The federal government will pay $900 million to settle several class-action lawsuits that claimed the Canadian military was “poisoned by a discriminatory and sexualized culture.” It’s expected that tens of thousands of victims who allege they experienced sexual misconduct will file claims in the settlement. (Global News)

The settlement comes four years after a report by former Supreme Court justice Marie Deschamps found an “underlying sexualized culture” in the military and that the forces were hostile to women and LGBTQ2 members. However allegations of assault and abuse date back decades. In 2014 Maclean’s and Quebec’s L’actualité magazine partnered on a months-long investigation into sexual violence in Canada’s military:

Lise Gauthier doesn’t have enough fingers to count the number of times she was raped, assaulted or sexually harassed by fellow soldiers.

The 51-year-old, from Sherbrooke, Que., spent half her life in the Canadian Forces. When she signed up at 18, she was young and idealistic, and couldn’t wait to get her hands on the engine of a fighter plane. For the next 25 years, she wore the blue uniform of the Royal Canadian Air Force proudly, like it was a second skin, convinced she was serving a greater cause.

Yet the whole time, she was actually waging a private war. And the battlefield was her own body. (Maclean’s)

Tone deaf: A feel-good ad produced by Chinese telecom giant Huawei and targeting Canadians is not going over the way the company would like. Its message — with Huawei’s 5G network “your friends and family have never been closer” — has clanged on social media, writes Matt Gurney, what with China’s retaliatory detention of two Canadians after the RCMP arrested Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou on a U.S. warrant:

Canada has honoured the American request, as it is bound by treaty to do; Meng is out on bail in Vancouver while fighting extradition. China, in turn, has arrested at least three citizens on questionable charges. Diplomat-on-leave Michael Kovrig and entrepreneur Michael Spavor have been jailed for over six months now without access to their friends or family or lawyers. China has also re-sentenced a Canadian previously convicted of drug charges to death, and has blocked exports of Canadian agricultural products.

The responses to Huawei Canada’s ad, as you can imagine, did not fail to note this connection. (Maclean’s)

Boiling over: While Andrew Scheer launched the first volley in his fight against the food guide, calling it “ideologically driven” and not based on science, now dieticians and scientists are firing back. Scheer’s comments were “intensely stupid,” the University of Ottawa obesity expert Dr. Yoni Freedhoff told the Canadian Press. “[The current food guide] is biased in favour of health, evidence and science. And that is the way it should be.”

Seeing an opportunity, Justin Trudeau grabbed a fistful of KD and lept into the food fight: “[The food guide] is there to serve Canadian families. It has nothing to do with politics. But I’m not surprised the Conservatives don’t get that. We all remember they declared war on the long-form census, now they seem to be declaring war on the Canada Food Guide.” (CBC News)

A different Green revolution: Elizabeth May‘s plan to support the oil sands by using only Canadian oil during the transition away from fossil-fuels is not going over well with a lot of people in her party, who want the oil sands shut down immediately. Alex Tyrrell, leader of the Green Party of Quebec, is leading a dissident campaign to force the federal party to change its platform. “It’s very important for us as a Green party that we oppose the tar sands in the strongest way possible,” he told the Toronto Star. “The Green party didn’t get this far by moderating itself.” (Toronto Star)

More small party woes: The entire board of one of the People’s Party of Canada’s Winnipeg ridings resigned en masse, arguing in a letter to Maxime Bernier that the party has  abandoned its principles and given prominence to “racists, bigots, antisemites and conspiracy theorists.” The Elmwood-Transcona riding board added, “We are appalled to see it encouraged with a wink and a nod now.” (CBC News)

Mea culpa: As he has done several times before, Trudeau admitted last week to having occasionally goofed during his first term. Speaking at a Canadian Teachers Federation event he said, “I’m more than willing to admit that, like any good teacher, I’ve made mistakes and I have learned a lot through this process.” Is that a good strategy, asks Aaron Wherry over at the CBC:

That prime ministers make mistakes is fairly self-evident. Great amounts of time and energy are devoted each day to cataloguing every possible example of failure or disappointment. But public admissions of personal failure by politicians are still relatively rare — perhaps because there is relatively little to be gained from acknowledging the obvious. (CBC News)

Money talks: The money from third-party advertisers has started to roll out. Elections Canada records show two groups have spent to get their messages to voters, one a pro-energy, anti-carbon tax group, the other advocating for electoral reform. (Canadian Press)

You border on the Adriatic: Former prime minister Stephen Harper really is everywhere, this time speaking at a conference organized by the Iranian dissident group MEK, at its headquarters in rural Albania. The group is a “a violent, thuggish, corrupt cult,” one Middle East expert told iPolitics, and even Harper’s own government once labelled it a terrorist organization. Apparently Harper, who has spoken at a MEK event once before, was a hit, drawing cheers when he told the audience, “I am delighted to be here, because there are a few causes in this world today more important, at this moment, than what you are pursuing: the right of the people of Iran to change their government and their right to do it through freedom and the power of the ballot box.” (iPolitics)

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By The Wall of Law July 19, 2019 Off