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

Several potential leads not pursued after Oland murder, investigator admits

SAINT JOHN, N.B. — Several potential leads that were not pursued by police investigating Richard Oland’s murder have been raised by the defence at Dennis Oland’s second-degree murder trial.

Defence lawyer Alan Gold cross-examined Const. Stephen Davidson, lead investigator of the murder for the Saint John police, on Thursday and asked him why police did not do more to question possible witnesses and look into curious occurrences.

One of those odd developments was the discovery a few weeks after the July 6, 2011, murder of multi-millionaire Richard Oland of a bunch of sticky notes with names written on them of Oland family members, past and present. The notes were found on the ground by a passer-by in west Saint John, far from the crime scene, and turned over to police.

Names scribbled on the notes included Dick, Derek, Philip and Susan, the word “alcoholic” and “1800s.” Susannah Oland, who lived in the 19th century, was the creator of the original beer recipe that formed the basis of the Oland family’s Moosehead Brewery.

Gold wanted to know if the papers had been fingerprinted, or if a piece of material that appeared to be a hair stuck on one of the notes had been examined. But Davidson said nothing was done with the papers.

“There was no follow up to these pieces of paper?” Gold asked.

“Correct,” Davidson said.

Police also did not check on a report by a woman who said she heard shouting in the area of the crime scene on the night of the murder. As well, Gerry Lowe, a member of the New Brunswick legislature, was sitting in a restaurant near the crime scene and said he saw a man leave the building at around 7:30 p.m. But Lowe was not sure if he saw the man on the night of the murder or the day before.

Davidson said police did not investigate to see if Lowe had been at the restaurant the day before the killing.

Oland’s defence team is arguing at trial that the Saint John police investigation was inadequate. Almost every police officer who has been on the stand during the trial’s first two weeks has been asked pointed questions about weaknesses in procedures and problems in protecting the crime scene.

The Oland trial adjourned on Thursday until Jan. 7, 2019. It is expected to last until March.

Two witnesses who likely heard Richard Oland being beaten to death in his Saint John office initially told police they heard loud thumping noises at around 8 p.m., a time that would exclude Dennis Oland as the killer.

On Thursday, Gold examined Davidson’s notes from July 7, 2011, the day Oland’s battered body was found lying in a pool of blood on the floor of his office.

Davidson, a young police officer at the time who was new to the major crimes unit, interviewed John Ainsworth and Anthony Shaw. The two men had been working together in the Printing Plus office on the ground floor of the building on July 6.

Oland’s office was on the second floor.

Davidson’s notes from Ainsworth state: “8 p.m. Stomping 5 – 6 times on the floor.” From Shaw, his notes report: “8ish, thumping on floor. Loud thumping. Did not check but mildly alarmed. Unusual for 8ish.”

Gold asked Davidson if Ainsworth, who owns the office building, indicated his 8 p.m. comment was a “guesstimate.”

“No, he did not,” Davidson said.

Denis Oland

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

Just Posted

Big Oil’s interest in renewable energy investments expected to waver: report

Suncor announced it would cut its 2020 capital budget by 26 per cent in response to lower oil prices

A message from the Advocate publisher

In good times and bad, The Red Deer Advocate has been here… Continue reading

Watch Prime Minister: Trudeau announces funding for kids, grandparents Sunday

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addresses the Canadian children and their grandparents Sunday… Continue reading

‘There isn’t consistency:’ COVID-19 response varies for children in care

WINNIPEG — Phones have been ringing continuously at the office of the… Continue reading

‘Do something now:’ Inmate’s wife calls for release of non-violent offenders

Luciana Infusino-Tomei has been left alone to care for her young daughter… Continue reading

WATCH: COVID-19 doesn’t stop Red Deer Public Library from telling stories

Deb Isbister has been reading stories to children for more than 20… Continue reading

Alberta Health Services provides COVID-19 prevention tips

Alberta Health Services has a number of recommendations for people amid the… Continue reading

Alberta government website has latest COVID-19 statistics

Red Deer Advocate readers can stay up to date on the COVID-19… Continue reading

Athletes, musicians help raise 500,000 euros to fight virus

“It’s a very difficult situation, and for the league to be able to do something like this, it makes players, clubs and fans very proud”

Tokyo Olympics: Signs suggest summer dates for 2021 Olympics

Organizing committee suggested there would be no major change from 2020.

Doug Ford’s handling of the pandemic draws praise from friends and foes

TORONTO — No aspect of Canadian life has been left untouched by… Continue reading

Cineplex Inc., MEC enact mass layoffs amid COVID-19 store, theatre closures

Mountain Equipment Co-Op and Cineplex Inc. have laid off thousands of employees… Continue reading

I am still facing that existential angst

Stir crazy. I looked the phrase up, just for fun. “Restless or… Continue reading

Red Deer College adapting and adjusting to COVID-19

I have worked in post-secondary education for more than 30 years, and… Continue reading

Most Read