Expert in DNA analysis takes the stand at murder trial of Dennis Oland

A former scientist for the RCMP who examined evidence in the murder of New Brunswick businessman Richard Oland gave a detailed explanation Monday on DNA analysis.

SAINT JOHN, N.B. — A former scientist for the RCMP who examined evidence in the murder of New Brunswick businessman Richard Oland gave a detailed explanation Monday on DNA analysis.

Joy Kearsey, a scientist at the RCMP lab in Halifax until it closed last year, said human DNA is 99.9 per cent identical and the remaining 0.1 per cent is different between individuals, which represents three million differences.

“Forensic analysis targets those differences,” she told a jury in the Court of Queen’s Bench after being called by the Crown as a witness at the trial of Dennis Oland, who has pleaded not guilty to a charge of second-degree murder.

Kearsey said DNA, or deoxyribonucleic acid, is genetic material that is inherited from each parent and is in essentially every cell of the body.

She explained how DNA samples are compared, and explained some of the math used to determine the probability of a possible match.

The court was told she prepared 11 reports on the Oland case, amassing 1,400 pages of information.

Crown prosecutor P.J. Veniot said in his opening statement at the start of the trial that DNA samples taken from a brown jacket seized from the home of Dennis Oland matched the profile of Richard Oland.

Oland, 47, is the last known person to see his father alive.

Investigators focused on his brown sports jacket as a key piece of evidence since the day after the murder when Oland told police he was wearing a navy blazer during a visit to his father’s office on July 6, 2011.

Witnesses and security video played at the trial show Oland wearing a brown jacket that day.

Richard Oland, 69, was found face down in a pool of blood in his Saint John office on July 7, 2011.

He had suffered about 40 blows to his head and neck from a blunt instrument and bladed weapon.

Kearsey completed her tutorial by mid-afternoon and the jury was sent home until Tuesday morning.

Justice John Walsh told the jury that the Crown and defence lawyers would spend the rest of the day trying to condense Kearsey’s 1,400 pages of notes.

“The lawyers will take time to make this more manageable for you,” Walsh told the jury.

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