12/12/2014 10:55 EST | Updated 02/11/2015 05:59 EST

Dennis Oland ordered to stand trial for 2nd-degree murder

Dennis Oland will stand trial for second-degree murder in the death of his father, prominent New Brunswick businessman Richard Oland, more than three years ago, a judge has decided.

Provincial court Judge Ronald LeBlanc delivered the decision in Saint John on Friday morning, following a preliminary inquiry that stretched out over six months.

Oland, 46, is to enter a plea on Feb. 2.

Oland showed no reaction to the decision. He nodded solemnly, shook the hand of at least one supporter and then quietly left the courtroom.

Oland will continue to live in the community under the same conditions he was released on last year.

Preliminary inquiries are designed to test the strength of the prosecution's case and determine whether there is enough evidence to proceed to trial.

The test before the judge, who was brought in from Bathurst, was whether a properly instructed jury acting reasonably could return a guilty verdict on the evidence presented.

The court heard testimony from 42 witnesses, including police officers and medical experts during the preliminary inquiry, which lasted 37 days, spread out between May and November. Graphic photographs were also entered as exhibits.

A publication ban on the evidence that was ordered on May 12 at the request of the defence will only be lifted at the end of Oland's trial.

Publication bans are common during preliminary inquiries to avoid prejudicing potential jurors.

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 and several conditions, including that he surrender his passport, and advise police of any change of address or any travel outside New Brunswick.

During closing arguments last month, Crown prosecutor John Henheffer told the courtroom the prosecution's case was based on a "series of circumstantial facts" and forensic analysis which, when viewed in totality, the "reasonable and logical inference" is that Dennis Oland is the assailant.

Connie Oland — Dennis's mother and Richard's widow — issued a statement last year declaring her son's innocence.

"We know that he will be found innocent in an objective and fair process in a court of law," the statement from Connie Oland, Dennis's wife, Lisa Oland, and sisters Lisa Bustin and Jacqueline Walsh stated.

His extended family has also stood by him since the beginning.

Derek Oland  — Dennis's uncle and Richard's brother — had issued a statement saying they believe Dennis is innocent, and that they would support him and his family through the legal proceedings.

The other Crown prosecutors involved in the case are Patrick Wilbur and Derek Weaver.

Oland is being represented by high-profile defence lawyers Alan Gold of Toronto and Gary Miller of Fredericton.