N.B. Police Association to speak out on probe into police’s handling of Oland investigation

The New Brunswick Police Association is set to critique the handling of a probe into former Saint John Police Force Deputy Chief Glen McCloskey’s conduct during the investigation of the murder of Richard Oland in 2011.

Details are scarce, but the association has been critical of the actions taken by the New Brunswick Police Commission, a provincial body that oversees police conduct and discipline. This criticism came after the Saint John Board of Police Commissioners requested a review of the Saint John Police Force’s handling of the Oland case.

The New Brunswick Police Association says McCloskey’s privacy was violated by the New Brunswick Police Commission as a result of that investigation and that they’ll provide more details at the press conference.

Review of Saint John police conduct

The investigation came under scrutiny during the original murder trial of Dennis Oland in 2015.

Oland had been charged with the death of his 69-year-old father Richard, whose body was found lying in a pool of blood on July 7, 2011.

The investigation examined an alleged series of missteps by Saint John police — including a failure to properly secure the crime scene — and the conduct of McCloskey.

Justice John Walsh, in his charge to the jury at the 2015 trial, noted that police failed to prevent too many people from accessing the crime scene, to keep anyone from using the washroom on the second floor of the office building before it was tested and to ensure the back door wasn’t touched.

During the trial, one of the police officers at the scene of the murder, retired Staff Sgt. Mike King, suggested that McCloskey asked him not to testify the deputy police chief had been at the crime scene.

McCloskey, who had no active role in the investigation, took the stand and denied King’s allegations.

King’s testimony prompted police Chief John Bates to ask the New Brunswick Police Commission to investigate the matter under the Police Act.

The commission eventually put the Police Act investigation on hold and turned the investigation over to Halifax Regional Police after it was determined the inquiry warranted a criminal investigation and an investigation by an independent organization.

McCloskey was eventually cleared of any wrongdoing by Halifax police in October 2016.

The investigation under the Police Act resumed following the conclusion of the criminal investigation, but the results have remained in the dark.

The new Oland trial

Oland was convicted of the second-degree murder of his father at the conclusion of the 2015 trial, serving 10 months in jail before the decision was overturned on appeal and a new trial was ordered.

Oland has always maintained his innocence.

A mistrial was declared after it was discovered that during jury selection for the second trial, a Saint John police officer had used a police database to track all interactions between would-be jurors and police.

The trial later continued in front of Justice Terrence Morrison alone.

The trial has previously learned that Richard Oland was bludgeoned to death with an unknown weapon or weapons.

The 45 wounds on his hands and head were mostly from a sharp-edged implement, such as an axe of some sort, and there were a few round wounds that appeared to be from a hammer, the court heard in previous testimony.

The second trial remains adjourned until Jan. 7, 2019. It is expected to last until March.

Press conference

McCloskey retired from the Saint John Police Force earlier this year after nearly 30 years on the force.

The New Brunswick Police Association’s press conference is slated for 1 p.m. AT at the New Brunswick Police Association’s headquarters in Saint John.

—With files from Andrew Cromwell

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