Monday 16 October 2017

Book Review - Truth & Honour, The Death of Richard Oland and the Trial of Dennis Oland

I just finished reading Truth & Honour, which examines the investigation into the the murder of Saint John, New Brunswick, businessman Richard Oland (of the Moosehead Brewing Company) in 2011, the arrest of his son Dennis two years later and the subsequent trail.

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.

The book is very thorough, although it could be a very dry read in places, which is due to the explanations of some of what seems to be minor facts. It was interesting to note how different our court system is compared to the American one and how much more complicated justice systems are in real life.

I have been interested in this case since I first heard that it happened. A wealthy man murdered with an axe or drywall hammer in his office in early evening with no obvious evidence pointing to the killer right away has all the makings of a good fiction, except it all really occurred.  To me, the fact that Richard Oland was struck repeatedly with the hammer or axe over forty times tells me this is a crime of passion, that the killer had to be somebody very close to Richard. After reading this book, I am now convinced that Dennis did indeed commit the crime.

One note the author continually makes, which is kind of sad, is that after the murder the family kept speaking of poor Dennis not being able to see his family at Christmas or holidays and poor Dennis having to spend time in jail, where Richard, the victim, seems hardly ever thought of.

If you like true crime stories, or stories of murder, this book is for you. Draw your own conclusions as to whether he did it or not.

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