Five grounds of “public importance” are being argued by Dennis Oland‘s lawyers as reason for the Supreme Court of Canada to acquit him and find his second-degree murder conviction an “unreasonable verdict.”
Among these five grounds is the “earwitness” testimony of a man who works under the Saint John, N.B. office of Oland’s father Richard. During the trial, Anthony Shaw testified that he heard “loud thumping noises” between 7:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. — a time at which security camera footage placed Oland and his wife shopping in Rothesay, N.B., a town about 15 to 20 minutes away from his father’s office. Oland’s defence, in submissions made public this week, argues this evidence is “critical” for leave to cross-appeal on grounds of the “unreasonable verdict” and also gives Oland a clear alibi.
In addition to Shaw’s testimony, the defence also raises several other grounds including whether specific search warrants carried out authorized forensic testing of a brown jacket belonging to Oland, after-the-fact conduct by the accused, how computer-related evidence like cellphone data should be assessed, and the rules applying to how an accused is cross-examined in court.
According to the documents obtained by Global News, the defence is not seeking any costs.
Oland is said to have visited his father on the day of the murder around 5:30 p.m. on July 6, 2011, according to the documents. Richard’s secretary said he “seemed happy to see his son,” and when she left at about 5:45 p.m., the two were “engrossed” in talk about family genealogy.
Richard was found the next morning “bludgeoned to death.”
Oland, now 49, was originally convicted in 2015 for the 2011 killing of his father and was sentenced to life in prison with no eligibility for parole for 10 years. That conviction was overturned in October 2016, a new trial was ordered and the day after, Oland was granted bail.
The application for leave to appeal the conviction comes less than a week after the Supreme Court found the New Brunswick Court of Appeal had erred in its decision not to grant Oland appeal earlier in 2016, when he appealed his murder conviction and applied for bail. Canada’s highest court still heard arguments about the decision, even though it was made a moot point when the now 49-year-old’s conviction was overturned and bail was granted.
The New Brunswick Crown filed a leave to appeal the court ruling overturning Oland’s murder conviction in January. Oland’s lawyers filed their response and applied for a leave to cross-appeal last Thursday.
Oland defence lawyer Alan Gold told Global News it may take until June before anyone hears from the country’s highest court.
“We’ll get a decision from the court as to whether they will consider any part of Dennis’s case further, and if not, then we’ll start planning the new trial,” Gold said.
If the Supreme Court chooses not to hear the Crown or defence’s appeal and cross-appeal respectively, Oland’s second trial is not expected to begin until at least 2018.
— With files from Andrew Cromwell, Global News