Wednesday 9 August 2017

Book ~ "Truth and Honour: The Death of Richard Oland and the Trial of Dennis Oland" (2017) Greg Marquis

From Goodreads ~ "Truth and Honour" explores the 2011 murder of Saint John businessman Richard Oland, of the prominent family that owns Moosehead Breweries, the ensuing police investigation and the arrest, trial, and conviction of the victim's son, Dennis Oland, for second-degree murder. 

Oland's trial would be the most publicized in New Brunswick history. What the trial judge called "a family tragedy of Shakespearian proportions," this real-life murder mystery included adultery, family dysfunction, largely circumstantial evidence, allegations of police incompetence, a high-powered legal defense and a verdict that shocked the community. 

Today, the Oland family maintains Dennis Oland's innocence. Author Greg Marquis, a professor of Canadian history at the University of New Brunswick Saint John, leads readers through the case, from the discovery of the crime to the conviction and sentencing of the defendant. 

Offering multiple perspectives, "Truth and Honour" explores this question: was Dennis Oland responsible for the death of his father? 

In July 2011, the body of 69-year-old businessman Richard Oland was found in his office in Saint John, NB.  The Oland family owns Moosehead Breweries Limited, which is Canada's oldest independent brewery.  The brewery was founded in 1867 and is still privately owned and operated by the Oland family.

Richard had been bludgeoned to death (he'd suffered 45 blows to the head, neck and hands).  In November 2013, Oland's only son, Dennis, was officially charged with second degree murder and found guilty in December 2015.  Dennis was sentenced to life in prison, with a possibility of parole in 10 years.  His lawyers immediately began the appeals process, which was successful, and Dennis' conviction was overturned in October 2016 (he'd spent ten months in prison).  A new trial was ordered, which should start next year.

Dennis is supposedly the last known person to see his father alive. During the first trial, the Crown suggested Dennis' possible motives for killing his father were his financial struggles and/or alleged anger over his father's extramarital affair with a real estate agent.  A key piece of evidence in the Crown's case against him was a blood-stained brown sports jacket, found in his bedroom closet a week after his father's body was discovered.   It had four small bloodstains on it which DNA matched to his father's.  Dennis has denied any involvement in his father's death and his extended family has stood by him from the beginning, maintaining he is innocent.

This is a very comprehensive book about this case (I'd heard about it over the years in the news) and I found it interesting.  There is a lot of detail and it's obvious the author spent a great deal of time researching it.  It was first published in October 2016 but was updated in April 2017 with a chapter about the conviction being overturned and what lies ahead for Dennis.

No comments: