Oland's estranged wife appeals court decision revealing her domestic violence allegations

·4 min read

Lisa Andrik-Oland is appealing a judge's decision to lift a publication ban on a domestic violence complaint she made against her estranged husband, Dennis Oland.

Chief Justice of Court of Queen's Bench Tracey DeWare previously decided media can publish details of intimate partner violence allegations against Dennis Oland. The violence complaint came nearly a year after Oland was acquitted of second-degree murder in the 2011 death of his father, Richard Oland.

In the decision released two weeks ago, DeWare said the media can publish a transcript of a complaint made by Andrik-Oland, but only after 14 days have passed to give lawyers a chance to appeal if they want to.

Andrik-Oland's lawyers appealed this decision Wednesday.

They also filed an application to keep the complaint under publication ban beyond the 14 days, until the appeal is decided.

If I had known my personal privacy would be violated by the media, I might not have come forward. - Lisa Andrik-Oland, applicant

In an affidavit submitted in support of keeping the publication ban, Andrik-Oland said she made the domestic violence complaint after fearing for her safety, and publications of the "private and painful" details would "only re-victimize me."

Lawyers say DeWare misinterpreted the open court principle, made the decision "divorced from context," and did not consider Andrik-Oland's Charter rights in the context of intimate partner violence

Andrik-Oland said DeWare's decision has potential implications for all intimate partner violence victims "who rely upon the confidentiality of the process."

Fear for her safety

Andrik-Oland said on June 9, 2020 she was "required to leave my home due to genuine fear for my personal safety when my spouse entered into my home in an agitated and demanding state and refused to leave."

The next day she made an application under the Intimate Partner Violence Intervention Act and was granted an emergency intervention order from an adjudicative officer. The officer imposed a publication ban on the details of the complaint.

"I was assured that the information I shared would be kept confidential," Andrik-Oland said. "The information in support of my request was very private and painful to share."

Andrew Vaughan/Canadian Press
Andrew Vaughan/Canadian Press

After the emergency order was granted, she said she felt safe to return to her home. However she said when she got home, she found some hardware was removed, cutting off her internet access, and disabling the internet-based security system, including the security cameras.

After reviewing the finding of the officer, DeWare found there wasn't enough evidence to maintain the order without a hearing. At the hearing held a few days later, Andrik-Oland's lawyer said her client and Dennis Oland had reached an agreement and asked for the emergency order to be set aside.

Andrik-Oland said Oland agreed to a restraining order and an order saying she had exclusive possession of the house.

She said she was "very concerned" that a picture of her house was published.

"My father-in-law's murder remains unsolved," she said.

Andrik-Oland said she's been affected by the public scrutiny caused by her estranged husband's high-profile murder trials.

"I am the former spouse of a person accused of, and found not guilty of, murder," she said. "I feel judgment in hushed whispers when I enter a coffee shop."

She said she had no choice but to file for the emergency intervention order for her safety.

"If I had known my personal privacy would be violated by the media, I might not have come forward," she said.

In the decision under appeal, DeWare decided the adjudicative officer had no jurisdiction to impose a publication ban on the details in the first place. She ruled maintaining that ban would be "inappropriate and not in conformity" with the open-court principle.

In her decision, DeWare said she saw no evidence that publishing the details of the allegations would cause serious harm to the administration of justice. She also said she found no evidence that publishing the details would stop future victims from accessing protections under the intimate partner violence emergency intervention legislation.

No date has been set to hear the appeal yet.