NEWS

Dennis Oland's preliminary inquiry on murder charge set to wrap up

11/26/2014 02:59 EST | Updated 01/25/2015 05:59 EST
More than three years after prominent businessman Richard Oland was found slain in his Saint John office, Crown prosecutors will summarize their case against his only son, Dennis Oland.

Closing arguments in Dennis Oland's preliminary inquiry on a charge of second-degree murder are scheduled to be held at the Saint John Law Courts building today, starting at 9:30 a.m.

The public hearing, which started six months ago, is designed to test the strength of the prosecution's case.

Provincial court Judge Ronald LeBlanc, who was brought in from Bathurst, N.B., to hear the matter, will decide whether there's enough evidence for Oland, 46, to stand trial on the murder charge.

It's not yet clear when LeBlanc will give his ruling, but it is likely he will reserve decision until a later date.

LeBlanc previously imposed a publication ban on evidence presented during the inquiry, which will only be lifted if Oland is discharged or at the end of a trial, if a trial is ordered.

Dozens of witnesses have testified since the inquiry began in May, including police officers and medical experts. The court has also reviewed graphic photographs.

Oland, who is free on bail, has been attending the hearing, accompanied by several relatives who have stood by him since the beginning, including his mother, Connie, his two sisters, Lisa Bustin and Jacqueline Walsh, and his wife, Lisa.

He is being represented by two prominent defence lawyers — Alan Gold, of Toronto, and Gary Miller, of Fredericton.

​The Crown prosecutors handling the file are John Henheffer, Patrick Wilbur and Derek Weaver.

Inquiry extended several times

Richard Oland, 69, was found dead in his investment firm office, Far End Corporation, on July 7, 2011.

His son, an investment adviser, was arrested more than two years later, on Nov. 12, 2013, and charged the following day.

He spent six nights in jail before being released on a $50,000 surety posted by his uncle Derek Oland, the executive chairman of Moosehead Breweries Limited.

Dennis Oland was also ordered to surrender his passport and abide by several conditions, including that he advise police of any change of address or any travel outside New Brunswick.

The preliminary inquiry was originally expected to take about 20 non-consecutive days, but had to be extended several times and has been sitting on and off since May 12.

Closing arguments were previously scheduled to be held on Nov. 12 and Nov. 13, but were postponed until today because the judge was ill and unable to attend.

Although two days had been set aside at that time, the lawyers are now expected to make their final arguments in one day.

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