Police arrest son in slaying of businessman Richard Oland, no charge specified

SAINT JOHN, N.B. – The son of slain businessman Richard Oland has been arrested by police in New Brunswick in connection with his father’s homicide more than two years ago.

Saint John police say Dennis Oland, 45, will appear in court Wednesday, but they have not specified what charge he will face. They say Oland was arrested Tuesday but released no other details and a spokesman for the police department could not be reached for comment.

Richard Oland’s body was found in his Saint John office on July 7, 2011. He was 69.

He was a member of the family that owns Moosehead Breweries Ltd., but left the company in the 1980s.

Oland was first identified as a suspect in the case in court documents released in May after two media organizations argued they should be made public at a hearing before Judge R. Leslie Jackson of the provincial court.

Jackson has not released any information considered to be hallmark evidence, which the Crown has described as information relating to the crime scene and physical condition and position of Oland’s body that only the killer or killers would know.

Last month, a sworn affidavit was released that says blood on a sports jacket found in the Rothesay, N.B., home of Dennis Oland matched the DNA profile of his father.

The affidavit by Sgt. Tony Hayes of Saint John police says a brown Hugo Boss jacket with blood stains that police seized from his home was sent to a forensics lab in Halifax in November 2011 for testing. The affidavit dated Sept. 7, 2012, says the results from the lab show that the blood stains matched Richard Oland’s DNA.

Gary Miller, the lawyer for Dennis Oland, has previously declined comment on the documents released by the court.

The documents contain claims not proven in court.

In a statement released Tuesday and signed by Derek Oland, the family says it believes Dennis Oland is innocent.

“We will rely on the court of law, believing in the judicial process,” it says.

“We believe our nephew and cousin Dennis is, in fact, innocent and we will support him and his family members through the course of whatever legal actions unfold.”

The statement says the family is trying to deal with what has happened.

“This situation truly is a tragedy for all of us who are part of the Oland family, and we are striving to understand and deal with the many implications,” it says.

The affidavit from Hayes released last month says the jacket was resubmitted to the lab in March 2012 for further testing and more blood evidence was found in three other areas.

In one area of the jacket’s right cuff, DNA that originated from two people was found, the affidavit says.

The estimated probability of selecting an unrelated Canadian Caucasian randomly with the same profile was one in 180 million, it says.

The affidavit says the jacket also had a dry cleaning tag that shows it had been taken to V.I.P. Dry Cleaners in Rothesay on July 8, 2011 — the day after Richard Oland was found dead in his Saint John office.

During an in-camera court proceeding in July 2012, Const. Stephen Davidson of the Saint John police said the jacket was “one of the most important pieces of evidence we have in proving this case and taking it to trial.”

Search warrants released in May also say that when Dennis Oland was questioned by police, he said he was wearing a blue jacket on July 6, 2011 — the day before his father’s body was found — but two people told police they saw him wearing a brown jacket that day.

Those warrants also say that a surveillance video showed Dennis Oland wearing a brown jacket when he arrived and left his place of work that day.

The same documents says Dennis Oland was “experiencing financial hardships” and owed his father more than $500,000.

According to a second affidavit released last month, dated Oct. 2, 2012, Dennis Oland told police on July 7, 2011, that his father had bankrolled his divorce a few years earlier and he was making interest-only repayments to him.

The document says police found that monthly payments were being made to Richard Oland’s personal chequing account but there were no deposits made in May and June 2011 and that a deposit made on July 5, 2011, was rejected due to insufficient funds. The dollar amounts were redacted.

After Richard Oland left his family’s brewery he worked in the trucking business at the Saint John Shipbuilding and Drydock Co. He was also a director of several firms.

He was made an officer in the Order of Canada in 1998.

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