Testimony focuses on building’s rear exit at Oland trial Friday

Posted on: January 29th, 2019 by
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SAINT JOHN – The possible escape route of the killer or killers of New Brunswick businessman Richard Oland was the focus of testimony Friday at a murder trial in Saint John.

The defence focused on a rear exit from the second floor of the office building where Oland’s battered body was discovered on July 7, 2011.

Oland’s son Dennis has pleaded not guilty to a charge of second-degree murder in his father’s death.

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On Friday morning, Const. Ben MacLeod of the Saint John police department told the court that he guarded the crime scene at 52 Canterbury St. during the evening of July 7, 2011, and the early morning hours of July 8.

He says the exit door to the alleyway behind the building was open the entire time.

Previously, other officers had testified that the door had been closed earlier in the day and they hadn’t seen anyone examine it.

Under cross examination by defence lawyer Gary Miller, MacLeod said he didn’t go into the alleyway but did stand in the doorway during the night because it was hot.

“As you were standing in that doorway did it occur to you the perpetrator of this dastardly deed could have left that way?,” Miller asked.

MacLeod said, at the time, he wasn’t aware of all the details of the crime and was simply securing the scene, but “it dawned on me that it was a possibility.”

Const. Michael Horgan, the Saint John Police Force canine officer, testified that he scoured the neighbourhood with his dog on July 7, 2011 but found no evidence as a result of the search.

Horgan said he searched an area encircling the crime scene, including the rear alleyway, and noted it rained hard for about 10 minutes during his search.

During cross-examination, defence lawyer Alan Gold showed pictures of the alleyway to Horgan.

He asked Horgan about searching various parts of the alley, including steps that exit the second floor of 52 Canterbury St. Each time, Horgan responded “I searched the back alley.”

At one point Horgan said he couldn’t identify some of the photos as being that specific alley.

Gold showed the picture of a grassy area separated from the alleyway by a concrete wall. The grassy area has exits to a couple of nearby streets.

When asked if he searched this area, Horgan said “Not that I recall.”

“We don’t know how the killer or killers left the building based on the fact you were not able to find any evidence,” Gold said.

“Correct,” Horgan responded.

The Crown has told the jury that Richard Oland was killed in a violent outburst that resulted in 40 blows to his head and neck.

The trial resumes Monday.


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