Oland jury got it wrong, lawyer tells appeal court as he seeks bail

FREDERICTON -- Dennis Oland's lawyer says his client should be released pending an appeal of his murder conviction because the jury's verdict was unreasonable.

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Just a day after he was sentenced to life in jail with parole eligibility after a decade, Oland was back in court seeking bail in Fredericton before the New Brunswick Court of Appeal.

Defence lawyer Alan Gold argued that Oland's conviction for the second-degree murder of his multi-millionaire father was flawed on a number of levels.

"I'm not saying the jury was being bad or anything, they're human," said Gold.

"There is nothing in the evidence that warrants the continued detention of Dennis 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.

Gold said the trial judge's instructions at the end of the trial allowed the jurors to conclude that since there was little blood on Dennis Oland's brown jacket there would be little blood on his cellular telephone.

The lawyer said the judge should have provided instructions that cautioned against this kind of reasoning.

Gold argued there was plenty of evidence that there should have been a large amount of blood splatter on the jacket, and he added the miniscule stains on Oland's jacket were never identified as spatter.

The lawyer also said bail should be granted because of trial evidence Dennis Oland wasn't at his father's office when a witness described hearing thumping sounds coming from the room, but instead shopping in the Saint John suburb of Rothesay.

In an affidavit filed with the court, Oland says he would continue to work as a director of his father's companies and live at home with his wife, Lisa, if granted bail.

Both his mother and uncle say they have unencumbered assets of at least $1 million each and are prepared to provide whatever level of bail the court may set.

Justice John Walsh said in his sentencing ruling Thursday in Saint John that the younger Oland, an investment advisor, "simply lost it, snapped, or exploded."

Following his conviction, Oland's mother Connie said in statement the family was shocked by the outcome and that she and other family members continued to believe he was innocent.

The Olands are an establishment family in the history of the Maritimes, having founded Moosehead Breweries, although Richard Oland left the family business in 1981.

During the trial, the Crown focused on possible motives, including Dennis Oland's financial difficulties and the knowledge his father was having an affair.

The key piece of evidence for the Crown was a brown jacket worn by Dennis Oland that had a number of small blood stains and also DNA that matched the profile of Richard Oland.


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