Sisters 4-year-old Aubrey Berry and 6-year-old Chloe Berry were found dead in their father’s apartment in Oak Bay on Christmas Day. Their father Andrew Berry is charged with two counts of second-degree murder in their deaths. On Tuesday, defence counsel began to deliver its closing arguments. (Submitted photo)

Defense says burden of proof not met in double murder case against Victoria father

Closing statements begin in trial for man accused of killing daughters Christmas 2017

More than five months after the trial started, on Tuesday, defence counsel begun an impassioned campaign of closing arguments in defense of Oak Bay father Andrew Berry.

Berry, 45, is accused in the murders of his daughters Chloe, 6, and Aubrey, 4, found dead from multiple stab wounds in his Beach Drive apartment on Christmas Day, 2017. The girls’ bodies were discovered that evening around 6 p.m. along with Berry, who was found in his bath tub with wounds on his neck and chest.

READ ALSO: Father on trial for murder describes being ‘tackled’ and ‘stabbed’ in Oak Bay apartment

Starting mid-April the trial has seen dozens of witnesses take the stand, including first responders, a blood spatter analyst, the girls’ mother Sarah Cotton and Andrew Berry himself.

Berry has testified that he was entangled in gambling debts and owed thousands to a Chinese loan shark. Berry told the court room that the loan shark had a key to his apartment and his henchmen had visited several times before the murders to store and collect packages.

On Tuesday, defence counsel Kevin McCullough started his closing arguments by hammering in on reasonable doubt and presumption of innocence – reiterating multiple times that it’s Crown’s responsibility to prove Berry’s guilt.

Seemingly incredulous at what he called a “completely circumstantial” Crown case, McCullough insists the only thing the Court knows with certainty is when and where Berry and the girls were found “and a lot of ambiguous evidence.”

“Everything else is uncertain,” he said.

McCullough’s closing arguments centre around his problems with the Crown’s case: Time of death, motive, forensics, the timing of an alleged suicide note, and the nature of Berry’s injuries.

READ ALSO: Crown cross-examines Oak Bay dad accused of killing daughters

McCullough told the jury to question the Crown’s timeline, which puts the murders of the two girls around 8 a.m. on Christmas morning. He says witness testimony of ‘thunderous noises’ heard from Berry’s unit can’t be corroborated, and should be subject to the jury’s doubt.

He referenced testimony from Cotton, who said she had gone around the building with Brenda Berry on Christmas Day, frantically knocking on windows and ringing the buzzer of Berry’s unit in an attempt to find her daughters, who Berry was supposed to have returned to her care. Cotton told the court she did not look into the windows.

But McCullough said her evidence is not correct – that she did in fact look into the bedroom windows, and didn’t see her daughters there because Chloe and Aubrey hadn’t been killed yet.

He said the reason Cotton wouldn’t tell the court the bedrooms were empty “is because she does not want to help Mr. Berry.”

“It’s obvious, it’s just obvious,” McCullough said, hitting the stand in front of him with emphasis. “Ms.Cotton loathed Mr. Berry. She loathed him for years,” he said. “When it comes to Ms. Cotton please look at it from that angle.”

READ ALSO: WATCH: Residents honour Chloe and Aubrey Berry

Berry’s defense attorney doubled down on his issues with Crown’s forensic evidence, poking at the methods and behaviour of first responders on the scene, who he described as careless and inexperienced.

Experts determined that the girls’ last meal occurred six to 12 hours prior to their deaths, and both were described as stiff by first responders at the time they were discovered. McCullough insisted that Crown had not produced any forensic evidence concluding the time or nature of their murders. There were no fingerprints taken from the alleged murder weapons, he argued, and no DNA from Chloe or Aubrey found on Berry’s clothing.

Referencing Berry’s fragmented memories of the moments after he was allegedly stabbed, McCullough said that if his client was going to come up with a story, “he would have come up with a far better one than that.”

READ ALSO: Oak Bay father denies he made plans to kill himself on Christmas Day 2017

McCullough discussed motive too, asking the jury to think critically about a suicide note found on Berry’s kitchen table. In the note, Berry wrote to his daughters: ‘listen to me’ and ‘protect your sister.’

“That should leave you with no doubt … he was wanting to make sure the girls were protected,” McCullough said.

Online searches found on Berry’s computer showed he had looked up methods for a ‘peaceful suicide’ – searches McCullough says are at odds with his injuries on Dec. 25, 2017.

“Looking at Mr. Berry’s injuries, could there be a less peaceful way to die than stabbing yourself in the throat?” McCullough posed to the jury.

In order to find Berry guilty, McCullough said the Crown must prove that his client is lying.

“When the accused takes the stand and says he didn’t do it and gives you detailed evidence, the Crown better prove he’s a liar – Not maybe, but that he definitely is,” he said. “It’s not good enough to call him a liar and then do nothing to prove it.”

Defense will continue with closing arguments on Wednesday.



nina.grossman@blackpress.ca

Follow us on Instagram
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Eagles Boxers at BC Championships

Pictured above: Eagles Boxers are back from the BC Provincial Championships in… Continue reading

It happened this week in 1913

February 16 - 22: Compiled by Dave Humphrey from the archived newspapers… Continue reading

Key City Theatre establishes new endowment fund

The Key City Theatre Legacy Fund was made possible thanks to an anonymous donation

Victoria’s Carmanah performs for Fisher Peak concert series

The Fisher Peak Winter Ale Concert Series presented an intimate night of… Continue reading

City approves amendments for proposed Innes Ave housing development

Local residents brought concerns to council during public hearing before the council vote

Fashion Fridays: The 8 best quality online stores! Shop the ultimate sales

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

VIDEO: 2020 BC Winter Games kick off in Fort St. John

More than 1,000 of B.C.’s best athletes will be competing over the next three days

Meet the Wet’suwet’en who want the Coastal GasLink pipeline

Supporters of the pipeline are upset only one side is being heard nationwide

Shopping cart collector at B.C. Costco awarded $583,000 after getting pinned by car

Kurtis Ryan Burdeniuk, 22, was retrieving carts when a driver backed into him in the parking lot

‘Usain Bolt he was not’: B.C. gang police seize drugs, cash after foot chase

‘The man took off running when he saw our officers approaching,’ CFSEU BC says

Canadians released from coronavirus-ridden cruise ship in Japan fly home

Those who were cleared to travel are to be screened again at Canadian Forces Base Trenton

Health officials confirm sixth COVID-19 case in B.C.

Woman remains in isolation as Fraser Health officials investigate

The next Russo-Turkish War?

Gwynne Dyer Turkey has not won a war against Russia since the… Continue reading

On Living Faithfully and Compassionately

Pictured above: Baptist ethicism David Gushee By Yme Woensdregt Almost 26 years… Continue reading

Most Read