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

  • One dead, one in critical after plane crashes into river near Jasper, Alberta

    Canada News CTV News
    JASPER, Alta. - One person has died and another was taken to hospital after a small plane crashed into a river in western Alberta. RCMP Const. Shelley Nasheim says the aircraft was attempting to take off from an airstrip near Jasper on Sunday afternoon when it crashed into a nearby river. Source
  • 5 shot dead, 6 wounded in Acapulco bar near beach

    World News CTV News
    ACAPULCO, Mexico -- Gunmen killed five men and wounded six other people at a popular bar in Acapulco on Sunday, the latest in a string of violent incidents for the once-glamorous Pacific Coast resort city that has fallen on hard times. Source
  • Puerto Rico governor says he won't seek re-election in wake of scandal

    World News CBC News
    Puerto Rico's embattled governor says he will not seek re-election but will not resign as the island's leader, though he will step down as head of his pro-statehood party. Ricardo Rossello made the announcement Sunday via a brief Facebook video as hundreds of viewers posted angry messages. Source
  • U.S. notes advance in Mexican migration enforcement

    World News CTV News
    MEXICO CITY -- U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo acknowledged during a meeting Sunday that Mexico has made significant progress on migration enforcement, Mexican Foreign Secretary Marcelo Ebrard said. Ebrard said in a statement that due to these advances, Mexico sees no need to negotiate a "safe third country" agreement with Washington that would require migrants to apply for asylum in Mexico rather than in the U.S. Source
  • Plane crash near Jasper townsite sends two people to hospital

    Canada News CBC News
    Two people have been taken to hospital after a small plane crashed near the town of Jasper on Sunday afternoon. It was reported at about 1:30 p.m. that the aircraft crashed into the Athabasca River near the local airport, RCMP Const. Source
  • 1 person dead, another in critical condition after plane crash in Jasper, Alta.

    Canada News CBC News
    One person is dead and another is in critical condition after a small plane crashed near the town of Jasper, Alta., on Sunday afternoon. Alberta Health Services spokesperson Amy Crofts confirmed one person was declared dead on scene, and the other was taken to hospital. Source
  • President's party leads Ukraine election, exit poll says

    World News CTV News
    KIEV, Ukraine -- President Volodymyr Zelenskiy's party took the largest share of votes in the country's snap parliamentary election, an exit poll showed Sunday. The poll of 13,000 voters showed Servant of the People getting 43.9% of the vote for party-list candidates, far ahead of rivals. Source
  • U.S. accuses Venezuela jet of aggressive action over Caribbean

    World News CTV News
    CARACAS, Venezuela -- U.S. authorities on Sunday said that a Venezuelan fighter jet "aggressively shadowed" an American intelligence plane flying in international airspace over the Caribbean, underscoring rising tensions between the two nations. The U.S. Source
  • Relief in sight for southeastern Canada following weekend heat wave

    Canada News CTV News
    MONTREAL -- Relief is in sight for sweltering Canadians after a weekend of high humidity and thunderstorms that have affected sporting events, caused localized flooding, and sent people flocking to local pools to beat the heat. Source
  • Roy Halladay's widow calls late pitcher 'true competitor' at Hall of Fame induction

    Canada News CBC News
    The late Roy Halladay has been inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y. His widow, Brandy, delivered the speech and fought back tears as she spoke. The 40-year-old Halladay was killed in a plane crash in November 2017. Source