Crown will not appeal Dennis Oland's murder acquittal

ملفات اخبار العرب24-كندا: Dennis Oland, 51, leaving the law courts in Saint John with his family after he was found not guilty July 19 of murdering his father. (Andrew Vaughan/Canadian Press)

Public Prosecution Services will not appeal Dennis Oland's second-degree murder acquittal in the 2011 bludgeoning death of his father, multimillionaire Richard Oland, in Saint John.

The decision, announced on Tuesday, brings an end to the legal battle that began nearly six years ago when Oland was charged.

New Brunswick Court of Queen's Bench Justice Terrence Morrison found Oland, 51, not guilty on July 19.

He said there was "much to implicate" Oland in the brutal killing, but there were "too many missing pieces" in the Crown's case to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

After careful review of Morrison's 146-page decision and assessment of "policy and legal considerations," Public Prosecution Services "has determined that there is no basis upon which the Crown can appeal the acquittal of Dennis Oland," it said in a statement.

Morrison, they said, was "impacted by the 'alibi-like' evidence relating to the 'guesstimates' of the time of death of Richard Oland," when two men heard thumping noises coming from his office. "Consequently, his decision erects a complete barrier to an appeal by the Crown," according to the statement.

"Unlike other pieces of evidence, alibi evidence is determinative in itself of the final issue of guilt or innocence."

"Morrison's finding of reasonable doubt related to the alibi-like evidence and the resulting acquittal in this case are unassailable by the Crown."

'Only possible decision'

Oland's lead defence lawyer, Alan Gold, says it was the prosecution's "only possible decision as a matter of law and quite expected." He described Morrison's decision as "legally impeccable.

"Perhaps now the police investigation to actually solve the case if that is possible will move forward," he said in an emailed statement.

Saint John Police Force Chief Bruce Connell could not immediately be reached for comment.

Oland's retrial has cost New Brunswick taxpayers nearly $930,000, with additional expenses expected, figures obtained by CBC News reveal.

His first trial in 2015 and subsequent appeal cost more than $637,000, for a combined total of more than $1.5 million.

Lead defence lawyer Alan Gold, right, joined by fellow lawyers Michael Lacy, left, and James McConnell following Oland's acquittal July 19, said the Crown's decision not to appeal was 'quite expected.' (Roger Cosman/CBC)

The body of Richard Oland, of the prominent Moosehead Breweries family, was discovered face down in a pool of blood in his uptown Saint John investment firm office on the morning of July 7, 2011.

The 69-year-old had suffered 45 sharp-and blunt-force injuries to his head, neck and hands. No weapon was ever found, and the only confirmed item that disappeared from the crime scene was the victim's cellphone.

His son, who was the last known person to see him alive when he visited him at his office the night before, was charged with second-degree murder in November 2013.

A key piece of evidence in the Crown's case against him was the brown sports jacket he wore when he visited his father. It was later found to have four small bloodstains on it and DNA matching his father's profile.

Richard Oland, 69, of the prominent Moosehead Breweries family, was found dead in his Saint John office on July 7, 2011. (Canadian Yachting Association)

A jury found Oland guilty in December 2015, and he was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for at least 10 years.

Oland served about 10 months before the New Brunswick Court of Appeal overturned his conviction and ordered a new trial, citing an error in the judge's instructions to the jury. Oland was released on bail the following day.

The married father of four has maintained his innocence from the beginning, and members of his extended family have stood by him.

Public Prosecution Services had until Aug. 19 to file an appeal.

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