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The crown has determined that there is no cause for appeal.

"Justice Morrison, was impacted by the ‘alibi-like’ evidence relating to the ‘guesstimates’ of the time of death of Richard Oland,” Public Prosecution Services says in its statement. “Consequently, his decision erects a complete barrier to an appeal by the Crown.”

Although I haven't found a full prosecution statement, the media noted the above reason for them not appealing DO's guilty verdict. With the thumping noises from DO's office being acknowledged by both the defense and prosecution as to when DO was being killed, it came down to the testimony of witnesses Shaw and Ainsworth. The judge accepted Shaw's testimony and Ainsworth's "original statement" which coincided with Shaw's. He rejected Ainsworth's later testimony where he changed the time when he heard DO being killed, which allowed the prosecution to stick to their TOD being while DO was at the office. I am happy to see Ainsworth's (illogical) inconsistency come back on him, and I admire his friend Shaw for sticking to his original statement.

Judge Morrison's ruling:

Thumping noises:

The men who heard "thumping" noises coming from the victim's office on the night he was killed also raised a reasonable doubt as to the time of death, said Morrison.

The only reasonable inference is that the noises heard by Anthony Shaw and John Ainsworth were the killing, he said. "Indeed, the Crown concedes the point."

Shaw's "guesstimate" for when he heard the noises was around 7:30 p.m., which Morrison deemed "reliable" evidence.

Ainsworth testified he could only estimate the noises were sometime between 6 p.m. and 8:11 p.m., but in a previous videotaped sworn statement to a private investigator hired by the defence, he put the timing at between 7:30 p.m. and 7:45 p.m.

Morrison said he accepted Ainsworth's previous statement over his testimony.

I thought that the condensed media version of the judge's reasoning to find Dennis not guilty should be posted. He addressed every point I have posted about the evidence presented ,and the lack of evidence which should have resulted in reasonable doubt for the jury. The minuscule blood stains on the brown jacket, which were a DNA match to RO was the deciding factor for the jury imo.  The judge addresses this, and actually determines that the jacket would have been covered in blood and makes this evidence a plus for the defense. He explains his reasons for all the evidence.

I honestly don't  know for sure if  Dennis killed his father. The judge doesn't know for sure either. We both believe that  the circumstantial evidence left room for reasonable doubt. If Dennis is innocent, I am happy for him. LE will never admit that they had tunnel vision and I doubt any further investigation on their part.

he New Brunswick Court of Appeal because of an error in the trial judge's instructions to the jury, Morrison had to provide reasons for his decision, based on the evidence presented at his retrial and the law.

Here are some of the key points he covered:


Although motive is not an essential element of the offence, it "provides context for the interpretation of the evidence," said Morrison.

"Without motive, the trier of fact is being asked to put the jigsaw puzzle together without the benefit of seeing the picture on the puzzle box," Morrison said.

The Crown's motive theory was three-pronged and here is Morrison's reasoning about each one:

1) Oland had a troubled relationship with his father.

Morrison said he had no doubt Oland and his father had a "difficult relationship." He noted the evidence suggested the elder Oland had a "demanding, controlling and difficult personality."

But Morrison could not conclude the relationship was "so dysfunctional" as to be abnormal. "In my view, whatever resentments the relationship may have fostered in Dennis Oland they cannot, on their own, account for Richard Oland's murder."

Richard Oland, 69, of the prominent Moosehead Breweries family, was found dead in his Saint John office on July 7, 2011. He had suffered 45 sharp- and blunt-force injuries to his head, neck and hands. (Canadian Yachting Association)
2) Oland "disapproved" of his father's extra-marital affair with local realtor Diana Sedlacek.

Morrison rejected this suggestion "outright." The gist of the conversation Oland had with his father's business associate Robert McFadden about the affair "hardly belies a burning resentment, let alone red-eyed rage," he said.

McFadden testified Oland told him in 2008-09, "Maybe you could mention to him to cool it, or be more discreet."

"It was a rather tepid suggestion made in a one-off, unrelated conversation at least a year and a half before the murder," said Morrison.

3) When Oland visited his father at his office on July 6, 2011, the night he was killed, he was in dire financial straits and had "nowhere left to turn" but to his father, whose investments were worth an estimated $36 million.

Dennis Oland not guilty of murder in retrial over 2011 death of multimillionaire father
Morrison said "there is little doubt" Oland's financial situation "was bleak."

Between January and July 6, 2011, he spent $86,000 more than his income. He had missed two interest-only payments of $1,666.67 to his father on his $538,000 loan.

Oland also missed his June 2011 payment on his $163,000 line of credit from CIBC, which he had secured against the ancestral home. This line of credit wasn't known to his father, who wanted him to sign a mortgage and right of first refusal agreement with him over the home, the courtroom heard. 

Crown prosecutors posited Oland asked his father for financial assistance during the visit, his father refused and he killed him in a state of "rage."

Dennis Oland's bank account rarely had a positive balance that lasted more than a month. The balance spiked upward when his pay was deposited, but declined as funds were used to pay bills and other living costs, said forensic accountant Eric Johnson. (Court exhibit)
Morrison accepted Oland's testimony that he was not overly concerned about his financial situation, but found his testimony regarding a $16,000 advance on his salary he received from CIBC Wood Gundy where he worked as a financial adviser "simply not credible."

Oland had sent an email to his supervisor on June 1 stating he expected to increase his book of business by August/September. "We are looking at total new assets in the $10-20 million range."

"The clear and unequivocal meaning of that email is that … he expected to have an additional $10-20 million invested by his father and another unnamed investor," not just that $10-$20 million was his growth target, as he testified to, said Morrison.

The judge dismissed as "unrealistic" Oland's testimony that he would have been able to "extricate himself from his financial morass" simply by increasing his book of business. "That is a long-term plan, not an immediate solution," he said.

Dennis Oland's home in Rothesay has been in the Oland family for more than 70 years. The property is nearly three hectares and includes horse stables, a large garage, several small outbuildings, as well as a large pasture horse riding ring and wooded areas. (Court exhibit)
Still, Morrison did not find there was a "tipping point" in Oland's financial situation "that drove [him] to desperation" that night.

He said the evidence did not support the Crown's suggestion Oland's father knew about his missed interest-only payments or that it concerned him.

He also found no evidence of the Crown's suggestion Oland was at risk of losing the ancestral home, worth an estimated $650,000, to foreclosure, noting he had missed only one payment of $481.

Morrison said, even if he found Oland was in a financial crisis on July 6, the evidence showed that when Oland sought financial help in the past, his father did not refuse him.

Court of Queen's Bench Justice Terrence Morrison, of Fredericton, presided over Dennis Oland's murder retrial alone after a mistrial was declared in his jury retrial over improper background checks of prospective jurors by a police officer. (CBC)
In addition, Morrison found no evidence that Oland received any direct financial benefit from his father's death. McFadden testified the elder Oland's will provided for a spousal trust for his wife, Connie Oland, with the remainder divided among his son and two daughters only upon her death, he said.

Besides, said Morrison, financial gain as the motive for murder implies premeditation. "This would fly in the face of the Crown's theory that this was a crime of passion born of an enraged mind and would be inconsistent with the charge of second-degree murder found in the indictment."

Blood and DNA on jacket

A key piece of evidence in the Crown's case against Oland was the brown sports jacket he wore when he visited his father on the night he was killed.

Oland told police he was wearing a navy blazer that night, but video surveillance and witness testimony showed he actually wore the brown Hugo Boss jacket.

The jacket was taken to be dry cleaned the morning after Oland was questioned by police. It was later seized and found to have four small bloodstains on it and DNA matching his father's profile.

The Crown alleged Oland lied to police about which jacket he wore to mislead them.

Dennis Oland told police he was wearing a navy blazer when he went to visit his father on July 6, 2011, but video surveillance showed he was wearing a brown sports jacket that day. (Court exhibit)
There is "some merit" to the Crown's contention that Oland "deliberately obfuscated" certain facts during his police interview, said Morrison. He noted Oland "entirely omitted" making a third trip to his father's office that night.

But Morrison was not satisfied there was sufficient evidence to conclude Oland's untrue statement about the jacket was a lie fabricated to deceive police.

He also pointed out Oland was under police surveillance as soon as he left his police interview on July 7 and there was no evidence he attended the dry cleaners on July 8.

The brown sports jacket seized from Dennis Oland's bedroom closet had four small bloodstains on it and DNA matching his father's profile. (Court exhibit)
In Morrison's view, the bloodstains found on the jacket actually supported the defence's case more than the Crown's.

The small number and "very small" size of the bloodstains are inconsistent with the bloody crime scene, he said.

Three of the stains — two on the right sleeve and one on the upper left chest — were all less than three millimetres in size and the fourth, on the middle of the back, near the hem, was less than two millimetres, the trial heard.

Morrison contrasted that with the crime scene photos, which depicted "a gruesome and bloody murder," with blood spatter 360 degrees.

In my view, [the brown sports jacket] is a piece of circumstantial evidence favouring the accused.
- Terrence Morrison, New Brunswick Court of Queen's Bench justice
The Crown argued the lack of a blood trail leaving the office and the lack of evidence of any cleanup at the scene suggested the killer walked away with little blood on him or her.

But Morrison said he accepted the opinion of the defence's bloodstain analyst who said if the brown sports jacket had been worn during the murder, it would have had "significant and visible blood spatter on it."

Although the Crown suggested the lack of blood could have been caused by the dry cleaning, the judge said there is "a dearth of evidence as to the effect of dry cleaning on bloodstained clothing."

In addition, the dry cleaners testified they examine clothing items for stains before they clean them and did not note any bloodstains on the jacket.

The bloodstains on Dennis Oland's jacket were 'very small,' the judge said. This is a 500 per cent magnification of one of them. (Court exhibit)
Any suggestion the jacket was washed "falls into the realm of impermissible speculation," he said.

There is no evidence to support the killer donning coveralls either, said Morrison.

"Indeed, the taking of such precautions would necessarily imply planning and premeditation which is antithetical to the Crown's theory of the case: a crime of passion born of an enraged mind."

The defence argued the blood and DNA was "innocent transfer" that could have pre-dated the murder.

Saint Johners react to 'not guilty' verdict in Dennis Oland murder trial
Dennis Oland in his own words: What he told his murder retrial
The victim's secretary testified he had a skin condition that would make his scalp bleed and that he was touchy-feely when he talked to people. Oland had also moved into his father's home for a few months while his own house was undergoing renovations and stored his clothes in his father's closet, the trial heard.

Morrison said the absence of blood spatter on the shoes and other clothing items Oland wore when he visited his father along with the absence of blood on the reusable grocery bag he had with him, the Blackberry he used after leaving the office and the car he drove home "calls into question the inference that the blood on the jacket is blood spatter."

"In my view, [the jacket] is a piece of circumstantial evidence favouring the accused that can be considered, along with all the other evidence, in determining whether the Crown has proven guilt beyond a reasonable doubt."

Time of death

The other "pillar" of the Crown's case, said Morrison, was the time of death evidence.

The Crown argued the victim was killed sometime between 5:45 p.m. and 6:36 p.m., when Oland was alone with him in his office and would have had exclusive opportunity to kill him.

Prosecutors presented evidence that the last human interaction with the victim's main computer was at 5:39 p.m. and the last communication received by his cellphone before it went silent was a text message at 6:44 p.m.

That text was transmitted by a tower in Rothesay near the wharf where Oland stopped on his way home from visiting his father at around that same time. The cellphone was never found.

A radio frequency engineer testified the cellphone was likely in the Rothesay area at the time because cellphones are designed to connect with whichever tower provides the strongest signal and as a general rule, that's the closest one.

Richard Oland's iPhone was the only item that went missing from the crime scene. It had been plugged into his computer until 4:44 p.m. on July 6, 2011, just hours before he was killed. (Court exhibit)
Morrison described the digital evidence as "persuasive." The lack of computer interaction was "probably because something was amiss," he said. Diana Sedlacek had tried to text and call the victim several times, without success, suggesting Oland "was likely not responding … because he was unable," said Morrison.

He also accepted the engineer's opinion that it was unlikely a cellphone located in uptown Saint John would connect with a cell tower in Rothesay, about 14 kilometres northeast.

However, the evidence was not conclusive, he said.

Thumping noises

The men who heard "thumping" noises coming from the victim's office on the night he was killed also raised a reasonable doubt as to the time of death, said Morrison.

The only reasonable inference is that the noises heard by Anthony Shaw and John Ainsworth were the killing, he said. "Indeed, the Crown concedes the point."

Shaw's "guesstimate" for when he heard the noises was around 7:30 p.m., which Morrison deemed "reliable" evidence.

Ainsworth testified he could only estimate the noises were sometime between 6 p.m. and 8:11 p.m., but in a previous videotaped sworn statement to a private investigator hired by the defence, he put the timing at between 7:30 p.m. and 7:45 p.m.

Morrison said he accepted Ainsworth's previous statement over his testimony.

Richard Oland's missing cellphone 'happened to connect to a cell tower in the Rothesay area at approximately the same time that Dennis Oland was in the same general area, 10 minutes after leaving his father's office,' the judge said. 'One might consider these circumstances to be more than mere coincidence. But more than suspicion is required to convict a person of murder.' (CBC)
He also found "some — albeit tenuous" support for the 7:30-8:00 p.m. timeframe came from Saint John Harbour MLA Gerry Lowe, who said he saw a man exit the door that led to the victim's second-floor office while he was eating at the restaurant across the street.

Lowe, a regular patron of Thandi restaurant, was uncertain which night he saw the man. But he recalled being with a female companion and seeing a photo shoot that night.

Security video showed Lowe was at the restaurant with a woman on July 6 between 7:40 p.m. and 8:35 p.m., and an agreed statement of facts showed there was a photographer doing a marketing shoot there that night, arriving at 7:46 p.m.

Dennis Oland's 2nd murder trial: What was new this time around
The defence had security video of Oland shopping with his wife in Rothesay by 7:38 p.m. If his father was killed any time after approximately 7 p.m., then Oland "could not have been the killer," the judge said.

Therefore, "notwithstanding the credibility and reliability" of Shaw's evidence, Morrison said he could not "wholeheartedly accept it."

"In short, I have a reasonable doubt as to whether Richard Oland was killed prior to 6:44 p.m. or when Mr. Shaw says he heard the murder at 7:30 p.m. In the circumstances of this case, if I have a reasonable doubt as to the time of death, I must acquit the accused."

Public Prosecution Services has not yet decided whether to appeal. It has 30 days to file.


 The Olands were up against a brick wall. They may not have been screaming, but they publicly have stood behind Dennis from the start.

I must note that his immediate family are not united in their support of Denis- his mom, wife, and uncles certainly, but the use of the term 'Oland family' in this context of support is a misnomer, and the family division a stark and uncomfortable one.

I recall you saying that one sister never attended court from the start. I'll assume, based on your comment, that neither of DO's sisters was there to show support, nor was Dick's sister ever noted as being there. I missed that in the several relayed "family" statements to the media over the years. It doesn't sound like the "family" will heal and move on from this. A sad reality and no justice for Dick likely coming--ever.


The judge's reasons for his ruling of not guilty are outlined in his full submission included in the above link. It is an eye-opener that every potential juror should read.

Assuming that he is correct in his reasoning to find DO not guilty, there is no way every juror in a purely circumstantial evidence trial is going to realize what constitutes reasonable doubt, or what circumstantial evidence is valid, or how to decide if the overall evidence is enough to fill in enough missing pieces in the puzzle to decide on a guilty verdict.

Reading his judgement confirms my long-held belief that ordinary jurors like me and you, cannot fully grasp this level of legality re reasonable doubt in a murder trial based on circumstantial evidence. I think all murder trials should be heard by judge alone. I realize that any judge who errs in his instructions to the jury is grounds for an appeal (as in DO's case). But there is no recourse if the jury alone gets it wrong, and the jury doesn't have to explain their reasons for their verdict, as a judge has to. It doesn't seem fair or logical to expect ordinary citizens to fully understand what a judge knows, and vote accordingly.  moo

I also figured he would be found Not Guilty...too bad the case was bungled from the start.

So....New Brunswick investigators...get apparently have a killer that has gotten away with murder for eight years now.  I’m surprised that Dicks family hasn’t been screaming about the killer who got

Defense lawyer Gold, at his press statements today said that there is no celebration of Dennis being found not guilty until such time that the real killer is caught.  Take that for what you think it is worth.

The Oland family offered to put up a reward early in the investigation. Chief of Police, Bill Reid refused the offer, saying we know Dennis did it. The police tunnel vision was evident from the day after RO was killed. It was also acknowledged by the judge in the preliminary hearing. The Olands were up against a brick wall. They may not have been screaming, but they publicly have stood behind Dennis from the start.

I think it is obvious that the family realized early on that their first priority was to fight for DO through the investigation and trials by relying on their defense lawyers and the justice system.  Now they can turn their attention to who killed RO. 

But this will be difficult, if not impossible for the family.  The SJP will never admit that they may have arrested the wrong person. They will never cooperate and share information with any outside investigative team hired by the Oland's.  A family reward at this time, without SJP cooperation will be useless if tips aren't followed up on by LE.  Add to that, Crown prosecutors will never admit that they prosecuted the wrong guy.

It does appear that nobody seemed to care about poor Dick (and maybe they don't) but I can understand how their first priority was focused on Dennis. jmo

Pretty much the expected outcome, I think, Have Faith.  I would have have been surprised this time around if it had gone the other way.

Ruby, it all came down to whether there was "reasonable doubt".  In that regard, I am not surprised that this is what the judge determined. The jury should have legally determined the same imo.

A bit more information of the judge's comments by CBC court tweets. The Crown will review the judge's reason for his decision before deciding to appeal it or not.


Judge finds him NOT GUILTY!

Justice Terrence Morrison of the New Brunswick Court of Queen’s Bench delivered his decision Friday to a packed courtroom in Saint John, N.B.
Morrison said there were too many missing pieces of the puzzle to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

“More than suspicion is needed to convict a person of murder,” he said.


edited to add second link

Absolutely, it was a very thoughtful gesture for someone to actually install a culvert to help access to Sonia's memorial marker from the road. Since this is the location where her body was found, I find it a bit eerie that Sonia's family has no idea who went to all that trouble. This effort is beyond a caring stranger leaving a bouquet of flowers at the site, which people tend to do at first, and friends tend to do for a few years.  But this culvert was built 9 years after her murder, sometime within the last year, without the family being told about it, or knowing who did it.

Hopefully a modest  friend will tell the family that they constructed the culvert. That is the likely outcome. But if nobody comes forward, I would be a bit disturbed at trying to visualize who would feel the emotional need to maintain the site where her murdered body was dumped and not come forward to share this with her family.

Just some thoughts.

The judge's decision is not expected until July 19.

New Brunswick Court of Queen's Bench Justice Terrence Morrison had hoped to have a ruling ready by June 7. But after hearing closing arguments on Thursday, he said he now realizes that was "wildly optimistic."

  I wonder why closing arguments delayed the judge's expected time of ruling from June 7 to July 19?

I take him at face value when the judge he says that his original estimate of how long it would take him to render the decision was too 'optimistic' In the CBC's twitter reporting from the page you link he backs that up with notes to other Judge only murder trials. Given he had researched and was able to orate those case comparisons to the court he must have realized he would need more time before the closing arguments began, but didn't announce it until he made his closing comments after said arguments.   

Thanks BaySailer for the explanation-- I didn't read the twitters this time.

The judge's decision is not expected until July 19.

New Brunswick Court of Queen's Bench Justice Terrence Morrison had hoped to have a ruling ready by June 7. But after hearing closing arguments on Thursday, he said he now realizes that was "wildly optimistic."

  I wonder why closing arguments delayed the judge's expected time of ruling from June 7 to July 19?

I was feeling a little meloncholy today, not quite sure why. It's spring and another change of seasons, I guess. I took a walk around the yard and noticed tulips where they weren't suppose to be; popping up in the middle of the lawn, between the bushes, peeking out from behind view. That's when I remembered that Penny's parents use to have tulips in their garden. They purchased a new plant every year they were together. Their tulips were so resilient and hardy. These Tulips today looked cute and carefree all over the lawn. Perhaps a squirrel carried them to their new destination; replanted them. Who knows.

My mind wandered from Penny's parents to Penny. I still feel so much relief that she was found. I wonder what it would be like if she were still here? I know people don't live forever, but does that mean that we can't wish they did sometimes? In mid-May it will be five years since Penny was found; 10 years since she disappeared. I know I've always said during our search that I just wanted to know that she didn't need to be found. That she wasn't hurting. I'm truly thankful for that. But, it is days like this that I always ask "Why?" A part of me still needs to know what happened. When they found her, the authorities spoke directly to her next of kin, her children, but not to Penny's siblings and family. We really didn't get the full story. Even if we did, I don't know if we ever really do get closure. None of us asked to be put in this position but have been left to deal with it in our own way. Sometimes, I just wish I could let it go....

But Penny is up in heaven with her parents, and we are down here with crazy and carefree tulips all over the yard. Replanted, and I don't know why. But, somehow I feel there is a message in that. I think I'll leave them be - cute and carefree.

Conccerned, you found new tulips ready to pop up in your yard that you never planted. It will be ten years since Penny went missing in less than two weeks. I would also take this as a message.  Penny wants you to truly find peace of mind, wants to thank you for caring, and wants you to know that she is in a good place.  She knows how much you love gardening. You will never know the answer to "why" until you two hook up in heaven. Love your flowers in the moment, and know that answers will come later.

One of your quotes:

"I remember the day I heard the news that they found Penny, I decided to go to a place that sold plants and flowers. You see after Penny went missing I never bought flowers for the garden because I figured if I had time to garden then I wasn't trying to find Penny. And, for six years we couldn't enjoy things when we knew she may need to be found. Gardening was one of those things I gave up..."

It was a waste  when so much of our research idea's, including pictures, vanished off this site... We have entertained different suspects over the years showing what they looked like.  For the sake of D1's post above, here is a reminder of Arnold's handy work;  the following extensive write-up/s say it all.  Arnold spend a long time around the Alberta area... very active in 1981.

All of our media articles and photo uploads vanished from the London serial killer sites that we worked on for years. Years of time and effort researching and uploading historic articles were lost. I have asked if there was any possibility that Chris could correct this but we have never heard from him. To say that the London Crew is devastated is an understatement. UC was gutted when he changed servers and I guess there was nothing he could do. I'm still not over the loss, and have been devastated about  the history that was lost on all of our cases. But I am happy to see  that UC members are forging ahead in cases, despite this, as in Kelly's case.

There is a new book coming out about one of our historical London cases (Jackie English) and I hope that it will bring interest back to UC members. Good to see Kelly's tread active.

London / Re: Jacqueline English - London, ON - Murdered - 1969
« on: April 17, 2019, 01:39:26 PM »
 Happy Heavenly Birthday to Jackie.  Jesa has made sure that she will never be forgotten, which is the ultimate in sisterly love. I believe Jackie is right beside you Jesa, celebrating her life with you.



I think this should explain for you why the Defence pulled their witness, Have Faith.  I might have thought the judge would have made a ruling rather than telling the two parties to sort it out for themselves.  It seemed to me that was his job, not theirs.  In the event he had ruled in favour of the Crown, I would have thought the Defence  would still have the right to not call the witness if they so chose. 

Both sides made reasonable arguments, I thought, but in the interest of "truth", it could have helped to hear what the witness had to say.

Thanks Ruby. I still don't get it. lol

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