Defence questions police handling of evidence at Oland trial
Published Monday, November 16, 2015 10:28AM AST
Last Updated Monday, November 16, 2015 8:43PM AST
Police handling of key evidence was subject to more questioning at the Dennis Oland murder trial on Monday – including the brown sports jacket seized from Oland’s home that had been to the drycleaners.
Const. David MacDonald was the seizing officer when police searched Oland’s home about a week after his father's murder.
Police seized hairs and fibres from Richard Oland’s body during an autopsy, including hair samples taken from his hand.
During cross-examination, defence lawyer Alan Gold focused on what wasn't found.
"Am I correct that whatever was submitted for analysis, none of it advanced any case against Dennis Oland?" Gold asked MacDonald.
"No. There was no DNA evidence," replied MacDonald.
Police seized and took samples from Dennis Oland's Volkswagen Golf - a car that has previously been testified as messy inside.
MacDonald says nothing was found in the car to advance the case against Dennis Oland, including in the reusable grocery bag in the trunk.
MacDonald agreed with Gold when the defence lawyer told the court police officers are trained to protect exhibits at all costs – certainly not touch them with their bare hands, nor even breathe on them if possible to prevent them from becoming contaminated with other DNA.
A brown sports jacket was seized from Dennis Oland's closet. It was among a list of items police were looking for.
MacDonald says he rolled up the jacket and placed it in a paper bag where it sat for four months before examination.
"Did it not occur to you that rolling up the jacket may have caused trace evidence to migrate from one part of the jacket to another?" asked Gold.
"Not at the time," MacDonald replied.
Dry cleaning shop owner Yang Gwan Nam identified the brown jacket in court on Monday. He looked at the sales receipt and said the jacket had been dropped off on July 8 for next-day pickup.
He did not remember the customer who dropped it off.
Judge John Walsh told the jury that the Crown will likely wrap up its case against Dennis Oland next week.
Dennis Oland has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder in connection with the death of his father, Richard Oland, whose body was found in his Saint John office the morning of July 7, 2011.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Mike Cameron