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Preliminary inquiry for Dennis Oland begins

Preliminary inquiry for Dennis Oland beginsDennis Oland, charged with second-degree murder in the death of his father, arrives for his preliminary hearing at the Law Courts in Saint John, N.B. on Monday, May 12, 2014. Richard Oland, 69, was found dead in his Saint John office on July 7, 2011. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan

SAINT JOHN, N.B. - Dennis Oland, who is charged with second-degree murder in the death of his father Richard, was accompanied by his mother, uncle and other members of the well-known Maritime family as his preliminary hearing got underway Monday.

A publication ban was placed on the evidence presented at the hearing in provincial court in Saint John, which has set aside 20 days for the proceedings.

At one point, some family members left the courtroom while evidence was shown. Dennis Oland remained in his front row seat with his head down while that evidence was presented by the prosecution.

Richard Oland was found dead in his Saint John office on July 7, 2011. The 69-year-old was a prominent businessman, a member of the Order of Canada, and went on to work in the trucking business and at the Saint John Shipbuilding and Drydock Co. after leaving Moosehead Breweries in the 1980s.

His son Dennis was arrested in November and granted bail on a $50,000 surety. He has not spoken publicly about the case since his arrest.

He was first identified as a suspect in his father's death in court documents released last 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.

The preliminary hearing will resume Wednesday.

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