Appeal of Dennis Oland's conviction for murder of father enters second day

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FREDERICTON – The lawyer for Dennis Oland is arguing that the jury’s verdict of guilty in his second-degree murder trial was unreasonable and an acquittal is the reasonable verdict when viewed by legal experts.

“The lens of judicial experience understands why, in the circumstances of this case, the well-intentioned, well-meaning, hard-working jury produced a verdict that the law recognizes as an unreasonable one in law, and one which this honourable court is required by law to reverse,” Alan Gold said Wednesday as he addressed three justices of the New Brunswick Court of Appeal.

Gold said the case against his client was totally circumstantial, and relied on a persuasive argument from the Crown speculating on what they believed happened.

Oland’s father, multimillionaire Richard Oland was bludgeoned to death in his Saint John office in July 2011.

He suffered 45 blunt and sharp force blows to his head, neck and hands.

Chief Justice Ernest Drapeau has expressed concerns about speculation used by the Crown during the trial.

On Wednesday, Gold supplied the court with examples of case law dealing with speculation.

“If the Crown weaves a persuasive argument based on what they believe really happened…that can account for the verdict, even though it should never have taken place,” he told the court.

In wrapping up his submissions to the Court of Appeal, Gold said there are two possible scenarios.

He said either Dennis Oland was an unlucky innocent person who just happened to visit his father on the same day he was killed, or an “incredibly lucky amateur killer” who in 15 minutes was able to brutally kill his father, take his iPhone and dispose of it and the weapon, and leave no trace of evidence in his uncleaned car or on his Blackberry, and then, within an hour, get changed and go shopping with his wife.

Plus, Gold said, there was a completely independent alibi.

Anthony Shaw testified during the trial that he was at Printing Plus — a business directly below Richard Oland’s office — and heard noises that be believed to be the murder between 7:30 and 8 p.m. on the evening of July 6, 2011. Security camera video shows Dennis Oland and his wife shopping in Rothesay during that time.

“Properly and completely set out, the inference of guilt is so incredibly improbable and unreasonable once you consider all of the evidence, ” Gold said. “Instead of guilt being the only reasonable inference as required by law, it is the inference of innocence that is the only reasonable inference.”

The Crown’s case during the trial relied on Dennis Oland’s brown Hugo Boss jacket, which was found to have a number of minuscule blood stains and DNA that matched the profile of Richard Oland.

Gold has told the court that the warrant obtained by police did not permit forensic testing, or to send it out of province to the RCMP lab.

Oland’s lawyers are seeking acquittal or a new trial.

The Crown is now presenting its case.

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