SAINT JOHN, N.B. — Dennis Oland's lawyers intend to argue that granting the New Brunswick businessman bail while he appeals his second-degree murder conviction would not undermine public confidence in the justice system.
A 48-page written argument submitted to the Supreme Court of Canada last week argues the public would see his release from prison as “appropriate” while he waits for his appeal to be heard.
"A reasonable member of the public would appreciate that this case was a very close one," wrote lawyers Alan Gold, Gary Miller and James McConnell. "The defence position that a wrongful conviction of an innocent man has occurred may well turn out to be the case."
New Brunswick courts have twice rejected Oland's request to be freed on bail pending the appeal of his conviction. In February, New Brunswick Court of Appeal Justice J.C. Marc Richard denied his release, saying that public confidence in the justice system would be "undermined." A three-judge panel in the same court upheld Richard's decision.
The Supreme Court will hear arguments on Oct. 31 on whether the lower court's decision should be overturned, about two weeks before Oland's challenge of his murder conviction is due to go before New Brunswick's Court of Appeal.
In court documents, lawyers echoed earlier statements that Oland would be a "model candidate" for bail.
The former investment adviser was sentenced in February to life in prison without chance of parole for 10 years. Richard Oland was found dead in his Saint John office in July 2011, the victim of a beating during which he suffered 45 blows to his head, neck and hands.
The Olands are one of New Brunswick's most prominent families and the driving force behind Moosehead breweries.
No one convicted of murder has ever been granted bail in New Brunswick. Oland's lawyers say across Canada, the courts have granted bail in 34 out of 77 similar appeals dating back to 1976.