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Oland family members call on police commission to release inquiry's findings

SAINT JOHN, N.B. — Dennis Oland's mother and wife issued a joint statement Tuesday urging the New Brunswick Police Commission to make public the findings of an ongoing inquiry into the Saint John Police Force's investigation of Richard Oland's murder.

The statement was issued in response to media reports that suggested the findings might be kept secret.

The commission could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

A jury found Dennis Oland guilty last month of second-degree murder in death of his father, well-known New Brunswick businessman Richard Oland.

Richard Oland's body was found face down in a pool of blood in his Saint John office on July 7, 2011. He had suffered 45 blunt and sharp force blows to his head, neck and hands, although no weapon was ever found.

The Oland family is perhaps best known for founding Mooshead Breweries in Saint John, Canada's oldest independent brewery.

In the Oland family's statement, Connie and Lisa Oland repeat their assertion that Dennis Oland was wrongfully convicted and they suggest that the possibility the inquiry's findings may be kept under wraps "is unacceptable, and serves only to further erode the community's confidence and trust."

The two women issued a statement Dec. 23 saying they are certain the person who killed Richard Oland is still on the loose, and the family is working on an appeal.

How Saint John police conducted their investigation was a central issue at Dennis Oland's trial, which began in September.

Justice John Walsh reminded jurors during his charge there was evidence that police failed to prevent too many people from entering Richard Oland's office after his body was found, and officers allowed a second-floor washroom to be used before it could be forensically tested.

The court also heard police didn't ensure the back door — a possible exit from the crime scene — remained untouched before it could be examined.

The review was announced days after a jury found Dennis Oland guilty. The commission said it was acting at the request of the Saint John board of police commissioners.

Earlier this month, former Crown prosecutor was Kathleen Lordon was appointed by the commission to lead the review.

The Fredericton-based commission has said Lordon's recommendations will be forwarded to the provincial minister of public safety.

Last month, the executive director of the commission, Steve Roberge, said the inquiry can go beyond the issues of the crime scene and look at any issues relevant to police performance in the high-profile investigation, including the use of search warrants.

At the time, Roberge said many of the issues have already been dealt with by the force.

Roberge also said an investigation of deputy chief Glen McCloskey — requested in October following the testimony of a former police officer — is a separate matter and was already underway.

Former staff sergeant Mike King alleged in his testimony at the Oland trial that McCloskey had entered the crime scene on July 7, 2011. King also testified that McCloskey, then an inspector, later asked him not to tell the court the senior officer had been there.

McCloskey denied the allegation when he testified.

The Canadian Press

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