N.B. judge to decide on Dennis Oland's request for bail

FREDERICTON -- It's rare for a defence lawyer to seek bail for a convicted murderer pending appeal - and even more rare for a judge to grant it - but lawyers for Dennis Oland are hoping their application will beat the odds on Wednesday.

See Full Article

Bail under such circumstances has never been granted for a convicted murderer in New Brunswick, and only 21 times in Canadian history.

"The standards are so high to meet the test that usually defence counsels don't attempt it, and they just let their client sit in jail pending appeal, and then they hope for the best on appeal," said Nicole O'Byrne, a law professor at the University of New Brunswick.

Dennis Oland, 48, was sentenced last week to life in prison with no chance of parole for at least 10 years for the second-degree murder of his father, millionaire businessman Richard Oland.

The elder Oland was found bludgeoned in his Saint John office in July 2011. He had suffered 45 blunt and sharp force blows to his head, neck and hands. No murder weapon was ever found.

In their notice of appeal, the defence argues that the verdict was "an unreasonable verdict in law and not one that a reasonable jury, properly instructed, could judicially have arrived at."

They ask the court to allow the appeal, quash the conviction and direct a verdict of acquittal or order a new trial.

Last week, defence lawyer Alan Gold told the Court of Appeal that bail should be granted because the grounds of appeal were not frivolous and should be judged on the merits by an appellate court.

He said there were questions of law that need to be reviewed.

O'Byrne said the best example is the brown sports jacket Oland wore the night his father was killed. Experts testified at trial the jacket bore tiny spots of Richard Oland's blood.

"Whether that was admitted or not would make a big difference in the outcome of the case," O'Byrne said.

She said Gold made the case that when his client was previously on bail, he met the conditions and proved he was not a flight risk.

"(Oland) doesn't have a former criminal record, they have 70-plus letters of support from the community, and family members have put up a $400,000 surety to guarantee his bail. That's unusual, that set of circumstances," O'Byrne said.

Gold argued that it would take months to prepare the written transcript from the trial, so it would probably be October at the earliest before an appeal could be heard.

But the Crown made the argument that it's not in the public's interest to have a convicted murderer released into the community unless there were exceptional circumstances.

O'Byrne said that's what makes cases like this so rare in Canada.

"Those 21 cases that they referred to -- the seven wrongful conviction cases were very high-profile cases -- and then you've got Robert Latimer and cases such as that. This is extremely rare for this application to have even been made," she said.

"It is up to the appeal court judge, who is hearing this application, to balance the interests of the accused and that of the public interest."

Justice Marc Richard is to deliver his decision Wednesday afternoon.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Late former French president Valéry Giscard d'Estaing helped reshape Europe

    World News CBC News
    No one who saw it will forget Valéry Giscard d'Estaing's imperious exit from the ÉlyséePalace. Seated alone at his desk, he offered a stiff televised farewell to the French who had voted him out of office, then stood and left the room. Source
  • A nurse and six of her family members have COVID-19, and it began with a small act of kindness

    World News CTV News
    New Jersey nurse Sofia Burke said it took one family member letting their guard down "for one second" for COVID-19 to infect seven of the eight people in her household. Burke spoke with CNN's Don Lemon through an oxygen mask Wednesday. Source
  • China hits out at U.S. after report of new visa restrictions

    World News CTV News
    BEIJING -- China on Thursday accused critics in the U.S. government of "an escalation of political suppression" against Beijing following a report of new visa restrictions on members of China's ruling Communist Party and their immediate family members. Source
  • Kyle Rittenhouse has preliminary hearing on Wisconsin charges

    World News CTV News
    KENOSHA, WIS. -- A 17-year-old from Illinois accused of killing two men during an August protest in Wisconsin is due in court Thursday for a preliminary hearing in the case. Kyle Rittenhouse, of Antioch, is also charged in the wounding of a third person on Aug. Source
  • Hundreds of Ethiopian immigrants get warm welcome in Israel

    World News CTV News
    BEN-GURION INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, ISRAEL -- Hundreds of Ethiopian immigrants on Thursday arrived to a festive ceremony at Israel's international airport, as the government took a step toward carrying out its pledge to reunite hundreds of families split between the two countries. Source
  • This London, Ont. teen wants a national, three-digit suicide help line and politicians are taking action

    Canada News CBC News
    After not being able to access help herself, a 19-year-old Ontario woman is pushing for a three-digit suicide help line and politicians are starting to listen. Madi Muggridge, from London, Ont., struggled with anxiety and depression at a young age, but the situation got particularly bad when she was 13 years old and scary thoughts started to trickle in, she told CBC News. Source
  • Fishing tournament organizer fined after nearly 200 fish found in dumpster

    Canada News CBC News
    A fishing tournament organizer and TV personality has brought his business to New Brunswick after being fined $9,000 and losing his Ontario fishing licence for not reporting the nearly 200 dead bass he threw into a dumpster. Ben Woo was convicted of failing to abide by the terms and conditions of the licence allowing tournament organizers to transport fish to be weighed and measured before they were returned live to the water. Source
  • Alberta planning COVID-19 field hospitals for 750 patients, internal document shows

    Canada News CBC News
    An internal Alberta government document shows the province has been planning for more than a week to set up indoor field hospitals to treat 750 COVID-19 patients. The Alberta Health Services (AHS) document, dated Nov. 28 and obtained by CBC News, details a draft implementation plan for two or more facilities, with 375 beds each in Calgary and Edmonton for patients with mild-to-moderate symptoms. Source
  • Canada-U.S. border rules: Why some travellers get to cross while others are shut out

    Canada News CBC News
    Kim Zavesky is desperate to return to her home in Golden, B.C. After retiring last year, she and her husband — both Americans — sold their house in Chandler, Ariz., and moved most of their belongings to their second home in Golden, in southeastern British Columbia. Source
  • Why the 1976 U.S. swine flu vaccinations may offer lessons for the COVID-19 pandemic

    Canada News CBC News
    For Pascal Imperato, a communicable disease epidemiologist who in 1976 was in charge of immunizing New York City against a potential swine flu epidemic, the effort to vaccinate the population against COVID-19 feels like a familiar challenge. "We were going to vaccinate six million people in six weeks," he said in a phone interview. Source