Murder trial hears of Richard Oland's wealth - and son's mounting debts - InfoNews

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Murder trial hears of Richard Oland's wealth - and son's mounting debts

Dennis Oland heads to the Law Courts in Saint John, N.B., on Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2019 as his trial in the bludgeoning death of his millionaire father, Richard Oland, continues. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
January 31, 2019 - 11:58 AM

SAINT JOHN, N.B. - While Dennis Oland was dealing with mounting debt in 2011, his father Richard was living the life of a multi-millionaire, travelling the world in pursuit of new sailboats and the pastimes he enjoyed.

The contrast between the lives of father and son is being presented in a Saint John courtroom where Dennis Oland is being tried for the second-degree murder of Richard Oland on July 6, 2011.

Crown prosecutors have told the trial, before judge alone, they believe financial stress was at the heart of the bludgeoning death of the 69-year-old multi-millionaire.

The prosecution case is that 50-year-old Dennis Oland killed his father "in a rage" following a disagreement over money.

Robert McFadden, an accountant and long-time business associate of Richard Oland, was on the stand Thursday, where he gave the trial a picture of the victim — a man he had known and worked with since 1980.

McFadden said Richard Oland's holdings were worth about $36 million at the time of his death and he was the owner and sole director of three companies dealing with investments and real estate.

There are now two directors of those companies as a result of the murder: Dennis Oland and McFadden, the trustees and co-executors of Richard Oland's will.

The accountant said he arrived at Oland's office in uptown Saint John at around 9 a.m. on July 6, 2011.

"We had a meeting planned with some insurance fellows who wanted to sell a life insurance policy to Richard," McFadden said under questioning from prosecutor P.J. Veniot.

Oland, he said, already had a life insurance policy worth about $8 million. The beneficiary was his investment company, the Far End Corporation.

Defence lawyer Michael Lacy said it was a "cosmic coincidence" that life insurance agents were trying to sell Oland a new policy just hours before his death.

McFadden said the rest of the day following the insurance meeting was "unremarkable." He said Oland had just returned from a sailing trip followed by an eight-day fishing trip "so he wanted to get caught up on his mail."

He said he left the office at 5:30 p.m., just moments before Dennis Oland arrived for a visit with his father. Prosecutors and police believe Dennis Oland killed his father around 6:30 p.m.

McFadden told the court that Oland was having a new sailboat built in Spain. He also had a boat built in New Zealand several years earlier, but now wanted a newer boat.

The accountant told the court about travelling with Oland "to scout out sailboats."

"I also travelled with him for races in the United States and the Caribbean."

Banking officials from CIBC also were on the stand Thursday detailing lending activity involving Dennis Oland.

Oland had increased a $75,000 line of credit he was given in 2010 to $163,000 in March 2011.

Richard Oland gave Dennis $538,000 in 2008 and 2009, when the younger Oland was going through a costly divorce.

The money allowed Dennis to keep the beautiful old family home in Rothesay, on the outskirts of Saint John. The house was originally owned by the late Philip Oland, one of the most influential and successful executives in the family business, Moosehead Breweries Ltd.

"He (Richard Oland) viewed it as a loan," McFadden said of the $538,000.

"He just wasn't worried about collecting it."

Dennis did have to pay monthly, interest-only payments to his father on the loan of a little over $1,600. The trial has heard that shortly before visiting his father on July 6, 2011, Oland's cheque for one of those interest payments had bounced.

McFadden said he was aware of Richard Oland's affair with Saint John real estate agent Diana Sedlacek. He told the court Dennis asked him on one occasion, at least a year and a half before the murder, to tell his father "to cool it" because word of the affair was getting out.

McFadden said he did not pass on the message to Richard Oland.

Dennis Oland is the last known person to have seen his father alive. He has pleaded not guilty to the murder.

This is a retrial since Oland's conviction in 2015 was set aside on appeal and the new trial ordered. The current trial is expected to last until mid-March.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2019
The Canadian Press

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