Lawyers to ask New Brunswick court for delay in setting Oland murder trial date
Dennis Oland arrives at Court of Queen's Bench in Saint John, N.B. on Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2017. (Andrew Vaughan / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Kevin Bissett, The Canadian Press
Published Sunday, August 6, 2017 2:38PM ADT
Last Updated Sunday, August 6, 2017 5:04PM ADT
SAINT JOHN, N.B. -- Prosecutors and lawyers for Dennis Oland will be back in New Brunswick court Tuesday for a hearing to set a date for a new second-degree murder trial, but it's expected they'll ask for a month-long delay.
"They want to have more time to prepare," said Court of Queen's Bench clerk Amanda Evans.
It's now expected the scheduling hearing will be bumped until Sept. 5.
Oland is charged in the 2011 bludgeoning death of his well-known multimillionaire father, Richard Oland, who was found face down in a pool of blood in his Saint John, N.B., office on July 7, 2011.
An autopsy showed he suffered 45 sharp and blunt force blows to his head, neck and hands. A murder weapon was never found.
During Dennis Oland's trial, the court heard he had visited his father's office the night before and was the last known person to see him alive.
Oland was convicted in 2015, but was released on bail last October when the New Brunswick Court of Appeal ordered a new trial, citing an error in the judge's instructions to the jury.
Dennis Oland had told police he was wearing a navy blazer when he visited his father, but witnesses and video evidence showed him wearing a brown Hugo Boss jacket that was later found to have tiny traces of blood and DNA that matched his father's profile.
The Crown portrayed Oland's original statement about the jacket as an intentional lie, while the defence said it was an honest mistake. The appeal court said the trial judge did not properly instruct the jurors as to the probative value of that statement.
Last month, the Supreme Court of Canada dismissed an application by the Crown to restore the conviction, and a cross-appeal seeking an acquittal.
Court documents indicate the retrial is expected to last up to 65 days -- the same length as the original trial.
Nicole O'Byrne, a law professor at the University of New Brunswick, said that's not unexpected.
"We'll have the same amount of evidence to be presented, if not more," she said.
O'Byrne said it all depends on what evidence will be deemed admissible at the trial.
"If there are key pieces of evidence that aren't admitted that the jury won't be able to consider or the judge won't be able to consider, that would significantly decrease the length of time because there would be less evidence to be examined at the trial," she said.
O'Byrne said pre-trial hearings -- where matters such as the admissibility of evidence will be considered -- will be very important to determine how the trial proceeds.
The jury in the first trial was chosen from a pool of more than 1,100 people.
O'Byrne said despite all the news coverage and two books on the first trial, she doesn't think finding a new jury will be an issue.
"The test is not whether or not you've heard of the case. The test is whether or not as a potential juror you would have an open mind to making determinations based on the evidence as to whether the Crown has met its case," she said.
Judge Terrence Morrison of Fredericton is expected to hear the retrial sometime in 2018.