Former prosecutor to probe police handling of Oland murder
Published Sunday, January 3, 2016 6:02PM AST
A former Crown prosecutor has been tasked with examining the Saint John Police Force's handling of the Richard Oland murder investigation.
Kathleen Lordon has been appointed by the New Brunswick Police Commission to lead the review, which was launched in December at the request of the Saint John Board of Police Commissioners.
“We've already made a number of improvements,” said Nicole Paquet of the Saint John Police Commission. “A lot of the things that came forward through the trial happened four, four and a half years ago, so we want to make sure that we've got a third-party who comes in and looks at those issues.”
The review was announced days after a jury found Dennis Oland guilty in the death of his father, whose body was found in his Saint John office in July 2011.
The way Saint John police conducted their investigation was a central issue during the second-degree murder trial, which began in September.
Justice John Walsh reminded jurors during his charge there was evidence that police failed to prevent too many people from entering Richard Oland's office after his body was found and officers allowed a second-floor washroom to be used before it could be forensically tested.
The court also heard police didn't ensure the back door -- a possible exit from the crime scene -- remain untouched before it could be examined.
"We want to be able to address those issues that came forward, those are the questions that we're focused on primarily," said Paquet.
Greg Marquis, a history professor at the University of New Brunswick Saint John, is writing a book on the case. He says the investigation is an important part of the story.
"I will be talking about the Saint John police chief at the time,” said Marquis, “and some of the controversies surrounding the police and some of the other cases they've worked on."
Marquis says the results of the investigation will be interesting - and potentially important.
"It is interesting that they've hired a lawyer, so obviously they're looking at things from the point of view of the legal collection of evidence and that type of thing, protection of evidence," he said.
The police commission says the results and any recommendations will be forwarded to the provincial minister of public safety for consideration.
No timeline has been set for Kathleen Lordon to examine the investigation.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Ashley Blackford and The Canadian Press.