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

  • Storm dumps record-breaking snow in Arizona on way to Texas

    World News CTV News
    FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. -- A winter storm dumped record-breaking amounts of snow in Arizona and forced the closure Friday of roads, schools and government offices across the Southwest. The storm was pushing through eastern Arizona and heading for New Mexico and Texas after dumping nearly 3 feet (0.9 metres) of snow Thursday at the Flagstaff airport during the city's snowiest day on record, and more than 2 feet (0.6 metres) in Payson, a town that logs that much snow as its yearly average. Source
  • California parents plead guilty to shackling, torturing their children

    World News CBC News
    A California couple pleaded guilty Friday to torture and years of abuse that included shackling some of their 13 children to beds and starving them to the point it stunted their growth. David and Louise Turpin will spend at least 25 years in prison after entering the pleas in Riverside County Superior Court to 14 counts that included cruelty toward all but their toddler daughter, and imprisoning them in a house that appeared neatly kept outside, but festered with filth and reeked of human…
  • Sudan declares state of emergency, disbands Cabinet

    World News CTV News
    CAIRO -- Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir on Friday declared a state of emergency for a year and disbanded the government amid deadly protests. Al-Bashir -- who seized power in a 1989 coup-- also said that he will postpone pushing for constitutional amendments to allow him to seek a third term in office. Source
  • Alberta to ban seclusion or time-out rooms for students in schools

    Canada News CTV News
    EDMONTON -- Alberta Education Minister David Eggen says the province will ban the use of seclusion or time-out rooms for students in schools. Problems with seclusion rooms surfaced last September when the parents of an autistic boy filed a lawsuit against the province. Source
  • Plan to bring grieving mother's relatives to Halifax 'moving quickly'

    Canada News CTV News
    HALIFAX -- Federal officials are closer to bringing as many as 10 relatives of a grieving Syrian refugee to Nova Scotia, as Halifax residents prepared to gather Saturday for the funeral of her seven children who died in a fast-moving house fire. Source
  • Ontario woman tried to smuggle man across U.S. border in trunk of car: docs

    World News CTV News
    A Toronto-area settlement worker could face jail time in the United States after attempting to smuggle a failed refugee claimant across the border in the trunk of her car. Court documents show Donna Pham pleaded guilty this week to one count of conspiracy to defraud the U.S. Source
  • AP source: Mueller report not expected next week

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- Special counsel Robert Mueller's report on the Russia investigation is not expected to be delivered to the Justice Department next week, a senior department official told The Associated Press on Friday. The official could not discuss the matter publicly and spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity. Source
  • London, Ont., police to start naming those charged with buying sex

    Canada News CTV News
    A police force in southwestern Ontario says it will start releasing the names of those charged with buying sex in a bid to curb human trafficking. The announcement came at a meeting of the Police Services Board in London, Ont. Source
  • Canadian students urged to study in China despite Kovrig, Spavor arrests

    Canada News CTV News
    OTTAWA -- Eight days after Chinese authorities imprisoned Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, a senior Canadian foreign ministry official urged Canadian students to apply for a program to study in China. Sarah Taylor, the director-general of the north-Asia bureau at Global Affairs Canada, made the pitch for the 45-year-old Canada-China Scholarship Exchange Program during a Dec. Source
  • Russian court extends detention for alleged American spy

    World News CTV News
    MOSCOW -- A Russian court ruled Friday to keep a former U.S. Marine held for alleged spying jailed in Moscow for another three months. Michigan resident Paul Whelan was arrested at a hotel in the Russian capital at the end of December. Source