Dennis Oland has denied his personal financial problems were a motive to kill his multimillionaire father, Richard, but there’s little doubt he was caught in a severe money crunch on the day his dad was beaten to death.
Oland, 51, told his second-degree murder trial on Friday he was shuffling around debt after several months of rising expenses and shrinking income from his job as an investment adviser.
“I agree it was tight,” Oland said during testimony at his trial for the murder of his father, former Moosehead Breweries executive Richard Oland.
Dennis Oland had bounced a payment on the collateral mortgage on his home – a property that had been in the Oland family for many years. As well, a monthly cheque for $1,667 on an earlier, interest-only loan from his dad for $500,000 had bounced the day before he visited his father in his Saint John office on July 6, 2011.
Oland said he was not aware the cheque had been returned when he visited his father on the day of the killing. He is the last known person to have seen Richard Oland alive.
“Your total spending in the period from January to July, 2011, was about $120,000 – almost four times your income in that same period. I suggest, Mr. Oland, you were living beyond your means,” Crown prosecutor Jill Knee said to Oland during her cross examination on Friday.
“Yes,” replied Oland.
“It wasn’t sustainable was it?” she asked.
“I would have to grow my income or decrease my spending â€¦ I was in the process of increasing my income,” he said.
Oland’s salary from January to July, 2011, was just $34,124.02. In addition to paying $4,300 per month in spousal and child support from his first marriage and the monthly instalments to his father, he and his second wife, Lisa, had taken several costly international trips.
His credit cards were maxed out and he had just borrowed $8,000 from his employer, CIBC Wood Gundy, as an advance on his pay.
Despite the challenges, Oland told Knee he was not desperate.
“If I needed more money, I would have borrowed more,” he said.
Knee pressed Oland on his financial situation, suggesting his dire need for money contrasted sharply with his father’s comfortable situation. Among other things, the 69-year-old multimillionaire was having an expensive racing yacht built in Spain, she said, but he was not going to help his son.
“You were mad Richard Oland wasn’t going to bail you out,” she said.
“No,” he answered.
Oland said he did not discuss money during his visit with his father. He said they talked about his family history research.
Knee also explored Oland’s troubled relationship with his father, referring often to his police interview from July 7, 2011, – the day his father’s body was found.
Oland told police the father-son relationship was often strained and difficult. He said his father could be unreasonable and demanding, but he told Knee it wasn’t all bad.
“He was a good dad,” he said. “He wasn’t the best dad, but he was a good dad.”
Oland denied Knee’s allegation that he lied to police when he told them he was wearing a navy jacket on the day he visited his father rather than the brown one he did wear. The brown jacket was later found to have four small bloodstains on it and Richard Oland’s DNA.
Oland also failed to tell police that he actually went into his father’s office three times on the afternoon of July 6, 2011, during a roughly one hour period. He had mentioned only two visits.
Oland insisted they were simply mistakes, oversights caused by the stress and shock of the day.
“We were distraught,” he said, referring to the Oland family.
Knee told him the third visit he failed to mention to police was when he killed his father – an allegation Oland denied.
“Absolutely not,” he said.
Dennis Oland was charged with the second degree murder of his father in 2013. He was convicted in a jury trial in 2015 but the verdict was set aside on appeal and the new trial ordered.
The trial resumes on Tuesday. Justice Terrence Morrison has agreed to a defence request to visit the crime scene, Richard Oland’s office, on Tuesday afternoon.
Morrison said the public is not allowed to be part of the tour.