Judge in Oland trial gives jurors instruction on police investigation

The judge at Dennis Oland's murder trial gave the jury instructions Tuesday on evidence that suggests there was an inadequate police investigation in the case.

SAINT JOHN, N.B. — The judge at Dennis Oland’s murder trial gave the jury instructions Tuesday on evidence that suggests there was an inadequate police investigation in the case.

Justice John Walsh of New Brunswick’s Court of Queen’s Bench has occasionally given the jurors direction on things like hearsay evidence during Oland’s second-degree murder trial.

On Tuesday, Walsh told the jury: “You have heard evidence suggesting the police investigation was inadequate.”

He then said it would be up to the jury to decide whether that evidence alone or in combination with other evidence creates doubt of guilt, and added he would have more to say at the end of the trial.

Oland has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder in connection with the death of his father, Richard Oland, whose body was found in his Saint John office the morning of July 7, 2011.

In his comments to the jury, Walsh didn’t specify the evidence the jury heard “suggesting the police investigation was inadequate.”

Police testimony has had a prominent place at times in the trial.

Former staff sergeant Mike King alleged in his testimony that Deputy Chief McCloskey suggested he not reveal that McCloskey had entered the bloody crime scene where Oland’s body was found. McCloskey, who was an inspector at the time, denied the allegation when he testified.

The jury has also heard from an RCMP blood spatter expert that he arrived at the murder scene four days after the businessman’s body was found. Sgt. Brian Wentzell testified that by the time he arrived, blood had dried and was beginning to flake away from the floor of Oland’s office.

The Halifax-based expert said it was a disadvantage to his work that the body had already been removed and that so much time had passed.

Court has heard that Oland suffered about 40 blows to his head and neck.

Earlier Tuesday, Richard Oland’s business associate testified that it was a normal day in the office on July 6, 2011.

Robert McFadden said Oland had a meeting that morning about his life insurance and spent the rest of the day catching up on work.

McFadden, who knew Oland since 1981 when he was president of the Canada Games that were planned for Saint John, said he and Dennis Oland were the executors of the elder Oland’s will and they became the directors of his companies after his death.

He said he also he helped in discussions during Dennis Oland’s divorce over a two-year period in 2008-2009, which ended with Richard Oland giving his son a $538,000 loan to cover a cash settlement, to settle a mortgage and cover a line of credit. Dennis was to pay interest payments of $1,667 per month.

Under the will, he said Richard’s wife Connie got their house and its contents. After all debts were paid, all the money and trusts were put into a spousal trust for Connie’s benefit and she received payments.

Upon her death, the trust would be dissolved and the value would be split equally among Dennis and his two sisters, McFadden said.

Asked by Crown prosecutor P.J. Veniot if McFadden knew of Diana Sedlacek, McFadden replied: “I was aware of her.”

The trial has been told that Richard Oland was having an affair with Sedlacek, a real estate agent.

Veniot asked McFadden if he had ever spoken about Sedlacek with Dennis Oland.

McFadden said Dennis had brought up the topic about 18 months before his father’s death, and he suggested that McFadden tell his father “to cool it” because word of their affair was getting out.

He testified that he never had that conversation with Richard Oland because the situation didn’t arise, adding that his business associate was careful. He said if the elder Oland and Sedlacek went on a trip, they’d go on separate flights.

“You follow the money and see the airline tickets, you know what’s going on,” McFadden said.

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