Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Oland Bail Appeal Could Set Legal Precedent on Release of Convicted Murderers

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Oland Bail Appeal Could Set Legal Precedent on Release of Convicted Murderers

Article excerpt

Oland bail appeal could set legal precedent

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FREDERICTON - Convicted murderer Dennis Oland's bid for bail at the Supreme Court of Canada could set an important legal precedent nationally, and several provinces are arguing such releases may not be in the public interest.

Ontario, Alberta, and British Columbia have filed motions for leave to intervene in Oland's appeal to the top court.

Ontario's Attorney General says Canadians expect sentences for murder and other serious crimes to be enforced, and bail should only be considered when there are "very strong" grounds of appeal.

"It will be Ontario's position that reasonable members of the public expect that sentences imposed for all crimes, but particularly for more serious offences, will be enforced when handed down," wrote Gregory Tweney, acting director of the Attorney General's criminal law office.

Oland, 48, was sentenced in February to life in prison with no chance of parole for 10 years, after being found guilty of second-degree murder in death of his multimillionaire father, who was found bludgeoned in his Saint John, N.B., office five years ago.

Richard Oland, 69, was discovered face down in a pool of blood on July 7, 2011. He had suffered 45 sharp and blunt force injuries to his head, neck and hands. No murder weapon was ever found.

Dennis Oland is seeking release pending the appeal of his murder conviction, but the request has already been denied by two lower courts.

Nicole O'Byrne, an associate law professor at the University of New Brunswick, said Tuesday the law surrounding bail pending appeal in murder cases "has not been clearly defined" by the top court.

"It is likely that the Supreme Court of Canada granted leave in this case because it is an opportunity for the court to provide guidance for the country as a whole on the law of bail pending appeal," she said, adding current jurisprudence comes from a series of lower court rulings. …

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