SAINT JOHN, N.B. — A paramedic who responded to Richard Oland’s office the day the well-known businessman was found dead has testified at a murder trial in New Brunswick that police didn’t take his statement until more than a year after the fact.
Philias Comeau told the Court of Queen’s Bench in Saint John today that he and his partner got a call before 9 a.m. on July 7, 2011, about someone with a wound and trauma.
Upon entering Oland’s office building on Canterbury Street in Saint John, Comeau testified that a police officer stuck his head out of Oland’s office to say the paramedics didn’t need to bring any gear with them.
Comeau says he noticed a strong odour as he approached the office.
“I call it the odour of death,” he said.
Comeau says Oland’s body was lying in a large pool of blood and rigor mortis had set in.
He described the 69-year-old’s injuries as “incompatible for life.”
The Crown has told the jury that Oland was killed in a violent outburst that resulted in 40 blows to his head and neck.
Under cross examination by defence lawyer Gary Miller, Comeau said he wasn’t contacted by the police for a statement until November 2012.
Miller asked if police would normally seek a statement much sooner. Comeau said “yes.”
Oland’s son Dennis has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder in the high-profile case.
A police officer who also testified this morning echoed the comments of witnesses from earlier in the week who described a strong odour and a bloody crime scene in Richard Oland’s office.
Const. Don Shannon of the Saint John Police Force told Crown attorney Patrick Wilbur he assisted with an article search of the area, checking along buildings, in grass, under cars and a construction area down the street.
Shannon said he was looking for anything that could have been involved in the incident at the office including blood, clothing or a weapon, but found nothing during the hour-long search.