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Slain businessman Richard Oland, son would get into 'big fights,' document says

SAINT JOHN, N.B. - An affidavit in the homicide investigation of businessman Richard Oland released Friday says his son Dennis told investigators he would occasionally get into "big fights" with his father but they would dissipate quickly.

Const. Stephen Davidson of the Saint John, N.B., police obtained a statement from Dennis Oland on July 7, 2011, the same day the elder Oland was found dead in his office.

"His father felt that a father could not be friends with his son," Davidson says in the affidavit, signed by Saint John police Sgt. Tony Hayes in support of a search warrant and two production orders.

"He would occasionally have big fights with Richard Oland but they would blow over quickly."

Police have said Dennis Oland is the suspect in the case. No charges have been laid against him and no arrests have been made in the case.

The affidavit says Const. Sean Rocca obtained a statement from Constance Oland, Richard's wife, who described her husband as "having a very strong and controlling personality."

"He was not physically abusive but was emotionally and verbally abusive," the affidavit says, though it adds, "She does not believe that Dennis Oland would hurt Richard Oland."

The document also says Const. Charles Breen obtained a statement from Diana Sedlacek on July 8, 2011. The document says Sedlacek was Richard Oland's girlfriend for eight years.

"Mrs. Sedlacek stated that Richard Oland did not have a lot of respect for his son and thought he was lazy," the affidavit says.

Provincial court Judge R. Leslie Jackson ordered the release of the redacted affidavit and other documents Friday after the New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal and CBC applied for the release of the information. Gary Miller, the lawyer for Dennis Oland, consented in court to their release.

The affidavit says a man who looked similar to Dennis Oland was seen behaving unusually at a wharf the day before his father's body was discovered.

Barbara Murray told police she saw a man "dressed very nice" walk briskly by her van in a parking lot towards the Renforth Wharf in Rothesay on July 6, 2011.

Murray said the man stopped and picked something up at the beginning of the wharf before walking to the end of the wharf, where he opened a bag and took something red out, says the affidavit.

Murray told police the man then wrapped the item he picked up at the beginning of the wharf and put it in the bag before walking briskly back towards the parking lot behaviour she found strange, says the document.

"I knew it wasn't right," the affidavit quotes Murray as telling police. "There was a purpose to what he was doing, a real purpose."

On Oct. 26, 2011, Murray told Davidson, the lead investigator in the case, that one of the pallbearers at Richard Oland's funeral looked "very similar" to the man she saw at the wharf. Davidson recognized the pallbearer as being Oland's son, Dennis.

The affidavit says a dive team inspected the area where the man was seen at the wharf to look for a specific item but found nothing suspicious. The item was blacked out in the affidavit.

Portions of search warrants made public in May say the suspect in Richard Oland's slaying is his son Dennis.

Richard Oland was a member of the family that owns Moosehead Breweries Ltd., but left the company in the 1980s. He also worked in the trucking business, at the Saint John Shipbuilding and Drydock Co., and as a director of several firms, including Eastern Provincial Airways, Newfoundland Capital Corp., and Ganong Bros.

He also served as president of the board of the 1985 Canada Summer Games in Saint John, and was appointed an officer of the Order of Canada in 1998.



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