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Decision in appeal of Dennis Oland’s murder conviction expected Monday

WATCH ABOVE: Arguments have completed in the appeal of Dennis Oland's 2nd degree murder conviction for the July 2011 killing of his father well known Saint John businessman Richard Oland. Global's Andrew Cromwell reports.

Dennis Oland is expected to learn Monday if he’ll continue to serve a life sentence for the murder of his father, win acquittal, or be ordered to stand trial all over again.

Defence and Crown lawyers finished presenting arguments before three justices of New Brunswick’s Court of Appeal Thursday on whether the guilty verdict delivered by a jury in December should stand or be overturned.

Oland’s lawyers argued that the verdict was unreasonable, that the trial judge made errors in his instructions to the jury, and by allowing the introduction of some pieces of evidence such as Oland’s brown sports jacket.

READ MORE: Dennis Oland’s lawyers call jury’s verdict unreasonable on day 2 of appeal

Much of the three-day hearing focused on Dennis Oland’s incorrect statement that he was wearing a navy blazer on the evening his father was murdered.

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During the lengthy trial last year, the Crown portrayed the statement to police as an intentional lie, while the defence said it was an honest mistake.

The brown jacket Oland was actually wearing was later found to have minuscule blood stains and DNA matching the profile of Oland’s father, Richard.

Oland’s lawyer argued the trial judge erred in his instructions to the jury on how to view the incorrect statement about the colour of the jacket.

Alan Gold cited numerous examples of case law where he said independent evidence is necessary to prove whether an incorrect statement is a lie. He said that independent evidence didn’t exist during Oland’s trial and the judge failed to properly instruct the jury.

WATCH: Dennis Oland’s appeal of his murder conviction started Tuesday. Here’s what happened on day 2: 

Dennis Oland’s legal team concludes arguments in appeal
Dennis Oland’s legal team concludes arguments in appeal

Crown prosecutor Kathryn Gregory said she believes the judge’s charge was correct by allowing the jury to weigh all of the evidence. She said even if there was an error, it wouldn’t diminish the case against Oland.

“It’s the Crown’s position that if the trial judge did make an error in relation to his charge it was a harmless error. The evidence in relation to the statement was not a critical aspect of this case. It related to the colour of his jacket, but it did not go to the ultimate question,” she told the court Thursday.

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But Chief Justice Ernest Drapeau took issue with her statement.

“I have a hard time accepting that a lie about the jacket worn the day of the visit at Oland’s office, and then the jacket is analyzed and DNA of Oland senior is found on that jacket – that, that is somehow an inconsequential piece of evidence,” he said.

Drapeau said he and the other two justices on the appeal panel are having difficulty dealing with the issue of Dennis Oland’s post-offence conduct, but he said they are keeping an open mind.

READ MORE: Dennis Oland’s lawyer says ‘mistake’ about jacket not a sign of guilt

Crown prosecutor Kathryn Gregory said she believes the judge’s charge was correct by allowing the jury to weigh all of the evidence. She said even if there was an error, it wouldn’t diminish the case against Oland.

“It’s the Crown’s position that if the trial judge did make an error in relation to his charge it was a harmless error. The evidence in relation to the statement was not a critical aspect of this case. It related to the colour of his jacket, but it did not go to the ultimate question,” she told the court Thursday.

But Chief Justice Ernest Drapeau took issue with her statement on Thursday.

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“I have a hard time accepting that a lie about the jacket worn the day of the visit at Oland’s office, and then the jacket is analyzed and DNA of Oland senior is found on that jacket – that, that is somehow an inconsequential piece of evidence,” he said.

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Gold referred to the statement about the jacket as “a linchpin” to the Crown’s case. He said without it, the Crown’s case falls apart, and a new trial need to be ordered.

Drapeau said he and the other two justices on the appeal panel are having difficulty dealing with the issue of Dennis Oland’s post-offence conduct, but he said they are keeping an open mind.

The badly beaten body of well-known multimillionaire Richard Oland was found in his Saint John office on July 7, 2011.

He had suffered 45 blunt and sharp-force blows to his head, neck and hands. No murder weapon was ever found.

Dennis Oland, 48, was convicted and sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for at least 10 years.

Gold has argued that the Crown in the trial went too far by speculating to the jury about what he believed happened on the night that Richard Oland was killed.

But on Thursday, Drapeau said he didn’t agree.

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“I am not persuaded that the Crown counsel at trial engaged in impermissible speculation. There was some evidence in the record that allowed Crown counsel to raise these issues in his summation,” Drapeau told the court.

However, Gold said the Crown expressed his personal belief, and in doing so, went too far.

He said the Crown suggested “a hypothetical conversation leading to a murderous rage.”

“There’s no evidentiary basis that the appellant was even capable of such a thing,” Gold said.

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Drapeau noted the expense of the lengthy trial and questioned whether cost should be a factor in the appeal court’s decision.

“Should we be reticent at ordering a new trial because this was an expensive first trial? Does that come into the equation or should we simply render justice according to law?,” he asked.

Gregory said the decision should be made according to the law.

Drapeau said the three judges hope to release their decision, with reasons, on Monday.

They could reject the appeal, order an acquittal, or order a new trial.