New Brunswick professor shocked by guilty verdict in Oland murder trial

SAINT JOHN, N.B. -- Legal watchers in the Maritimes expressed surprise over Saturday's murder conviction against a member of one of New Brunswick's most prominent families, with one expert forecasting an appeal.

See Full Article

A professor of criminal justice history who has been following the trial of Dennis Oland said he was shocked a jury came back with a guilty verdict.

Greg Marquis of the University of New Brunswick, who is writing a book about the Oland trial, said the evidence presented at the trial was largely circumstantial.

Marquis pointed out that Judge John Walsh emphasized in his legal instructions to the jurors that they could not convict Oland second-degree murder in the death of his father Richard Oland unless they felt his guilt was proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

Marquis said if he had been on the jury he would have struggled with that concept in the light of evidence available, which included a brown sports jacket with some blood stains found on it.

"There was not a lot of direct evidence. There was no murder weapon or witnesses," he said in an interview on Sunday, a day after the jury handed down its verdict of guilty of second degree murder.

"There was hardly any blood evidence, except for on the brown sports jacket. That was a key piece of forensic evidence but even that is problematic because no one could say how the blood got onto the jacket or how long it had been there."

Oland's mother Connie has issued a statement maintaining her son's innocence and said they would be discussing options with the prominent New Brunswick family's legal team.

Robert Currie, a criminal law professor Dalhousie University in Halifax, predicted Oland will appeal the conviction.

However Currie said Oland's avenues for an appeal are limited because the jury's deliberations are kept confidential, so there is no written decision to dispute as there are when a case is tried by the judge alone.

Appeals in jury trials are usually limited to the judge's instructions to the jury or the admissibility of evidence, said Currie. He predicted Oland would appeal the decision to allow the brown sports jacket as evidence at the trial.

Oland was wearing the jacket when he visited his father on July 6, 2011 -- the day before he was found face down in a pool of blood in his Saint John office. The DNA of the blood stains matched the profile of Richard Oland.

However, none of the expert witnesses could say how long the blood had been on the jacket or how it got there.

The Oland family is one of the Maritimes' best known families and founded Moosehead Breweries.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Palestinian kills three members of Israeli family in West Bank stabbing [Video]

    World News Toronto Sun
    JERUSALEM — Israel’s military fortified its troops in the West Bank and placed forces on high alert Saturday, a day after a Palestinian stabbed to death three members of an Israeli family and some of the worst Israeli-Palestinian clashes in years erupted over tensions at the Holy Land’s most contested shrine. Source
  • Crane collapse kills 7, injures 2 in southern Chinese city

    World News CTV News
    BEIJING -- A crane leaned and collapsed on a construction site of a major infrastructure company in southern China, killing seven people and injuring two, authorities said Sunday. The collapse occurred late Saturday at the construction site for the southern headquarters of the state-owned China Communications Construction Co. Source
  • Alberta Progressive Conservatives and Wildrose vote 95% in favour of merger

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    The Wildrose Party approved unifying with Progressive Conservatives in an historic vote Saturday. Just over ninety-five per cent of Wildrose members voted yes for unity, well above the 75 per cent majority it needed to give the merger a go-ahead. Source
  • B.C. wildfire evacuation lifted for hundreds as federal government promises funds

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    KAMLOOPS, B.C. — The federal government is promising more funding to support residents affected by raging wildfires in British Columbia as some of the thousands of people displaced prepare to return home. Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said the government will supply $600 per household evacuated due to wildfires and $300 for their eventual return — funds that will be managed and distributed by the Canadian Red Cross. Source
  • Wildrose, Progressive Conservative parties to merge with 95% approval

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    The Wildrose Party approved unifying with Progressive Conservatives in an historic vote Saturday. Just over ninety-five per cent of Wildrose members voted yes for unity, well above the 75 per cent majority it needed to give the merger a go-ahead. Source
  • Princess Diana's last conversation with her sons recounted in documentary

    World News CTV News
    LONDON -- It was a typical phone call between two boys playing and their mother, who was on vacation in France. It was brief -- the boys wanted to get back to playing with their cousins, not spend time on the phone chatting. Source
  • O.J. Simpson's brand out of juice

    World News Toronto Sun
    Can O.J. have a fourth quarter comeback? Not without a game ball. O.J. isn’t the first celebrity to grace his mug on a mugshot, and many have made their way back to the top — Hugh Grant, Keifer Sutherland, Britney Spears and Robert Downey Jr. Source
  • Wildrose votes yes to unity with 95% of the vote

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    The Wildrose Party approved unifying with Progressive Conservatives in an historic vote Saturday. Just over ninety-five per cent of Wildrose members voted yes for unity, well above the 75 per cent majority it needed to give the merger a go-ahead. Source
  • What’s next for O.J. Simpson? [Photos]

    World News Toronto Sun
    At times, during O.J. Simpson’s parole hearing it seemed as though the battered old jock was moving his body like he was evading bruising linebackers. The big man on campus. Bobbing. Weaving. Jocular. Locker room O.J. O.J. Source
  • 9/11 victim's wife disgusted by $10.5M Khadr deal [Photos]

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    The widow of a Toronto businessman killed in the World Trade Centre on 9/11 says its sickening that the Liberal government has allowed terrorist Omar Khadr to play the victim card and collect $10.5 million. Maureen Basnicki’s husband, Ken Basnicki, was in New York City on business when he was killed in the North Tower on Sept. Source