File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS Dennis Oland heads from court in Fredericton.

Dennis Oland murder trial focuses on his father’s missing iPhone

SAINT JOHN, N.B. — One of the most baffling aspects of the Richard Oland murder case was the focus of attention at his son’s trial on Wednesday: What happened to the multi-millionaire’s cell phone, the only thing taken from the crime scene?

Const. Stephen Davidson, lead investigator of the Oland homicide for Saint John police, is on the stand at Dennis Oland’s second-degree murder trial, describing the steps he took to track cell phone calls and texts in an effort to see where the missing iPhone went.

“We made test calls in the city of Saint John and in Rothesay,” Davidson said under questioning by Crown prosecutor P.J. Veniot.

The phone, which was never found, and its last known route are key pieces of evidence for the prosecution, which is continuing to lay out its case at the Oland retrial in Saint John.

This is the second trial for Dennis Oland after his jury conviction in 2015 was set aside on appeal in 2016. It is proceeding before judge alone in the New Brunswick Court of Queen’s Bench.

When the bludgeoned body of 69-year-old Richard Oland was found on July 7, 2011, on the floor of his uptown Saint John office, the only thing missing was his iPhone. He was wearing a valuable watch, the keys to his expensive car were on the floor near the body and cash in the office was untouched – all indications to police that robbery was not a motive.

Dennis Oland, 50, an investment adviser, is the last known person to have seen his father alive. He was in his father’s office from about 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on July 6, 2011. Most of the time, the two were alone.

Oland told police that when he left the office at around 6:30 p.m., he headed back to his home in nearby Rothesay, with a stop at the local Renforth wharf to see if his children were swimming there.

Police and prosecutors say the missing phone also was on the move at that time. The last communication received by Richard Oland’s cell was a text message from his mistress at 6:44 p.m. on July 6, 2011, and it appears to have pinged off a tower in Rothesay, near the wharf.

Davidson told the court he also did tests to establish distance and time to make the drive, for instance, from the Oland office in uptown Saint John to the Renforth wharf in Rothesay.

“It took 12 minutes and 24 seconds to get to the Renforth wharf,” he said, adding that traffic and driving conditions could affect driving time on any given day.

Rogers Communications, Richard Oland’s service provider, established the iPhone’s movements through data records. Prosecutors have already told the court they intend to call a cellular network expert to testify that cell phones typically connect with the closest tower since that provides the strongest signal.

Davidson said he made the test calls on a phone, similar to the one Oland had owned, in March, 2012.

“I stopped at several places as I travelled to Rothesay, including the Renforth wharf,” he said, testing to see how the phone worked and which towers were involved.

As recently as February 2018, Davidson was adding to the cell phone evidence. He said that at the request of the cellular network expert, Joseph Sadoun, he took a series of photographs of cell phone towers in the area. Sadoun will testify for the prosecution in the new year.

Oland

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Red Deer & District Chamber of Commerce. (Contributed photo)
Red Deer & District Chamber of Commerce announces business of the year winners

All finalists ‘displayed courage’ this year, says chamber CEO

More than 400 COVID-19 cases reported in Alberta Wednesday, according to multiple reports. (File photo)
Over 400 additional COVID-19 cases Wednesday

3,372 active cases of COVID-19 in Alberta

A 47-megawatt solar power project has been proposed for a site southwest of the Nova Chemicals petrochemical complex.
Map contributed
$52-million solar power project proposed for Joffre

Project to be built southwest of Nova Chemicals plant could be producing power by the end of 2021

AnnaMarie Lea, artistic director of Lacombe’s Cow Patti Theatre, thinks a lot of people would love to focus on something other than the pandemic, with a few hours of entertainment. (Contributed photo).
Some Red Deer-area shows will go on — with new pandemic precautions

Some theatrical productions are happening under new rules

Red Deer Mayor Tara Veer will be at the legislature Thursday to urge members of the UCP caucus to drop the plan to consolidate EMS dispatch by Jan. 4. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)
Red Deer mayor takes EMS consolidation fight to Edmonton

Mayors of Red Deer, Lethbridge, Calgary and Wood Buffalo to address UCP caucus on Thursday

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney arrives for an announcement at a news conference in Calgary, Alta., Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020.	Kenney is isolating at home after one of his ministers tested positive for COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol
Alberta premier isolating after minister tests positive for COVID-19

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney is isolating at home

Tampa Bay Rays' Brandon Lowe rounds the bases after a home run off Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Tony Gonsolin during the first inning in Game 2 of the baseball World Series Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
Lowe homers twice, Rays hold off Dodgers 6-4 to even Series

Lowe homers twice, Rays hold off Dodgers 6-4 to even Series

Mighty Heart is held outside trainer Josie Carroll's stable by exercise rider Des McMahon, as the colt is washed down after being breezed at Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto on October 15, 2020. Mighty Heart will make his Triple Crown quest from the the No. 8 post Saturday. The Queen's Plate and Prince of Wales champion was named the even-money favourite in the draw Wednesday for the $400,000 Breeders' Stakes. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
Mighty Heart to take run at ending Triple Crown drought in $400,000 Breeders Stakes

Mighty Heart to take run at ending Triple Crown drought in $400,000 Breeders Stakes

Toronto Blue Jays President Mark Shapiro watches during baseball spring training in Dunedin, Fla., on Friday, February 24, 2017/ Short on specifics and long on bullishness, Shapiro set an optimistic tone during his first general media availability since the team was eliminated from the post-season a few weeks ago. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Toronto Blue Jays president Mark Shapiro short on specifics, long on bullishness

Toronto Blue Jays president Mark Shapiro short on specifics, long on bullishness

Liverpool's Fabinho, saves from the goal line after a header from Ajax's captain Dusan Tadic from scoring during the group D Champions League soccer match between Ajax and Liverpool at the Johan Cruyff ArenA in Amsterdam, Netherlands, Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)
Real Madrid beaten again, Bayern surges in Champions League

Real Madrid beaten again, Bayern surges in Champions League

Toronto Wolfpack captain Josh McCrone raises the Betfred Championship Trophy alongside teammates after defeating the Featherstone Rovers in the Million Pound Game in Betfred Championship rugby league action in Toronto on October 5, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Cole Burston
Financially troubled Toronto Wolfpack could learn fate soon as early as next week

Financially troubled Toronto Wolfpack could learn fate soon as early as next week

Kansas City Chiefs' Demarcus Robinson (11) holds off Buffalo Bills' Tre'Davious White (27) as Bills' Justin Zimmer (61) also pursues during the second half of an NFL football game, Monday, Oct. 19, 2020, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus)
Bills defence looks to rebound after consecutive losses

Bills defence looks to rebound after consecutive losses

CPL champion Forge FC ready for CONCACAF League opener in El Salvador

CPL champion Forge FC ready for CONCACAF League opener in El Salvador

Most Read