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Preliminary hearing for Oland case in May

Preliminary hearing for Oland case in MayDennis Oland is pictured in Saint John, N.B., November 19, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Michael Hawkins

SAINT JOHN, N.B. - A six-week preliminary hearing for Dennis Oland, who is charged with second-degree murder in the death of his father Richard, will begin in May.

Richard Oland was found dead in his Saint John office on July 7, 2011. The 69-year-old was a well-known businessman and member of the Order of Canada.

He was also a member of the family that owns Moosehead Breweries, but left the company in the 1980s and went on to work in the trucking business and at the Saint John Shipbuilding and Drydock Co.

His son was arrested in November and granted bail. Dennis Oland was not in provincial court when it set the preliminary hearing to begin May 12.

Dennis Oland was first identified as a suspect in his father's death in court documents released in May. Since then, pieces of the police investigation have been released by a provincial court judge after two media organizations argued that search warrants and affidavits to support them should be made public.

Among the assertions that have been released in those documents was a sworn police affidavit that says blood on a sports jacket found in Dennis Oland's home in Rothesay matched the DNA profile of his father. Search warrants also say that Dennis Oland was "experiencing financial hardships" and owed his father more than $500,000.

The documents contain claims not proven in court. Members of Dennis Oland's family have said they believe he is innocent.

Saint John police Chief Bill Reid said in November that Richard Oland died after repeated blows, but he wouldn't elaborate or say whether police found a murder weapon.

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