New Brunswick police commission to probe police handling of Oland murder

FREDERICTON -- An investigator is being appointed to examine how the Saint John police force handled the Richard Oland murder.

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The announcement was made Tuesday on the website of the New Brunswick Police Commission, which says it's acting at the request of the Saint John board of police commissioners.

The way Saint John police conducted their investigation was a central issue during the second-degree murder trial, which began in September.

A jury found Dennis Oland guilty Saturday of killing his father.

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 -- remain untouched before it could be examined.

Steve Roberge, the executive director of the Fredericton-based commission, said in a telephone interview that his investigators have been asked to look into the concerns raised by Walsh in his address to the jury.

He also 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.

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

"We've been talking about this for a while now. ... We have been assured that since 2011 there have been a lot of changes on how the Saint John police force operates, a lot of them for the better," he said.

"A lot of the issues raised in the Oland trial have long since been addressed and our role is really to confirm that ... and if we happen to note any issues that require the public's attention we'll be happy to share that with the (Saint John police) chief as well."

The results and any recommendations will be forwarded to the provincial minister of Public Safety for consideration, but there is no set timeline for completion.

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



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