The father of two young girls found dead on Christmas Day appeared in court today facing two counts of second-degree murder. Andrew Robert Douglas Berry, 43, is being charged in connection with the deaths of his two daughters Chloe, 6, and Aubrey Berry, 4, whose bodies were found in his Oak Bay apartment on Dec. 25. (Keri Coles/Oak Bay News)

Preliminary hearing date delayed in case of slain Victoria sisters

Andrew Berry’s next court appearance in three weeks to set date for preliminary hearing

Andrew Berry, the Victoria father charged with two counts of second-degree murder in the deaths of his two daughters found dead in his apartment on Christmas Day, made his third court appearance this morning.

The expected outcome of today’s appearance was to set a preliminary hearing date, but the Crown has instead asked for three more weeks to prepare.

There was tension in the courtroom before the judge entered as Berry’s criminal defense lawyer, Kevin McCullough, appeared to have terse words with Crown prosecutor Patrick Weir. It was unclear what they were discussing but audible to the crowd was an exclamation of “you’re dead wrong” from McCullough directed at Weir.

Once the proceedings started, Andrew Berry appeared by video, sitting expressionless on a blue bench with a sign behind him that read Vancouver Island Regional Correctional Centre. With hair cut short and wearing a sleeveless shirt, Berry said nothing during his appearance.

The court granted the Crown’s request and adjourned until March 15 at 9:30 a.m.

It is not uncommon for such delays to be requested, especially involving serious crimes where collecting statements, getting expert reports and preparing documents can take time. McCullough – speaking generally, not related to this case – noted that autopsy and forensic reports can take months, not weeks.

In the Canadian Charter, a person charged with an offence has the right to be tried within a reasonable time.

“Is this case moving at a pace? I don’t think for any accused person it can move fast enough,” said McCullough. “Having said that, am I surprised at this three week adjournment today? No.”

He had previously mentioned his client was having a difficult time in custody.

“For a person who has never been in custody before, it is always very difficult. I can tell you that in part, that’s why I’m looking for a speedy trial,” said McCullough on Feb. 1 after Berry’s last court appearance.

Outside of court, McCullough said he is not ruling out a bail application for Berry. He mentioned two of his other clients who are charged with murder and are out on bail, one in Kelowna and one in Nanaimo.

“They are out on bail. One is charged with first and one is charged with second. People who are charged with murder get out on bail,” said McCullough. “It’s not an absolute prohibition.”

RELATED: Counsel stresses presumption of innocence in Victoria murder case

RELATED: Father charged with murder of two young daughters appears in court

On Christmas Day, Chloe, 6, and Aubrey Berry, 4, were in the care of their father at his apartment on the corner of Beach Drive and Goodwin Street in Oak Bay, B.C.. The children were supposed to go home to their mother’s house on Christmas afternoon but didn’t arrive. Their mother Sarah Cotton contacted the Oak Bay police who responded to Berry’s apartment and found the bodies of the two girls.

Andrew Berry was found in the apartment with them, suffering from injuries, and was taken to the hospital. Berry was arrested and charged upon release from the hospital.

In the wake of the Christmas Day double homicide of Chloe and Aubrey Berry, criticism has arisen around Justice Victoria Gray’s decision to grant the girls’ father the right to have the girls visit him on Christmas Eve.

Chief Justice Christopher Hinkson spoke up recently in defence of Gray. He reportedly didn’t think evidence brought before the judge in the 2016 divorce proceedings could have suggested the father was likely to commit the crime — if in fact he did. The criticism of the judge that followed the tragedy is unfair in his opinion.

RELATED: A thousand come out to honour Chloe and Aubrey Berry at public funeral

RELATED: Victoria gathers to honour sisters


 

keri.coles@oakbaynews.com

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

 

British Columbia Court Services Online shows Andrew Berry charged with two counts of second-degree murder, sworn on Jan. 3. (Screenshot from CSO)

Sisters 6-year-old Chloe Berry and 4-year-old Aubrey Berry were the victims of the Christmas Day double homicide in Oak Bay. (Submitted photo)

Just Posted

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Tier 3 Bantam Championships

“The packed arena and electricity within was fantastic.”

Port Hardy RCMP issues warning about recent overdose

“Our primary concern is public safety. We are urging the public to be aware of what is circulating.”

Port Hardy RCMP looking for volunteers who are interested in public safety

“The volunteer program will include community and crime prevention programs”

Suspicious fire in Alert Bay burns two homes, spreads to nearby bush

Police say underage suspects have been identified

VIDEO: North Island Bantam Eagles tie Dawson Creek Canucks in front of massive hometown crowd in Port Hardy

The Tier 3 Bantam Championships continued in style last night at the Don Cruickshank Memorial Arena.

Sparks fly as SUV speeds down wrong side of Highway 1 trying to flee RCMP

Captured on video, the vehicle headed westbound against oncoming traffic before crashing

Fundraising campaign launched for man caught in SilverStar avalanche

In only two days, the GoFundMe surpassed its $15,000 goal

Terror at sea: Helicopter rescues frightened cruise passengers in Norway

The Viking Sky cruise ship was carrying 1,300 passengers and crew when it experienced engine trouble

Search and rescue team helicopters injured climber from B.C. provincial park

A 30-year-old woman suffered a suspected lower-limb fracture in Skaha Bluffs Provincial Park

DOJ: Trump campaign did not co-ordinate with Russia in 2016

Attorney General William Barr said special counsel “does not exonerate” Trump of obstructing justice

Trudeau in Vancouver to support Tamara Taggart at Liberal nomination event

The former broadcaster is seeking the nomination for the Vancouver Kingsway riding

Trudeau calls May 6 byelection for B.C. riding of Nanaimo-Ladysmith

The riding opened up when Sheila Malcolmson resigned in January

B.C. VIEWS: The hijacking of our education system gathers speed

Children taught to strike and shout fringe far-left demands

Judges on Twitter? Ethical guidance for those on the bench under review

Canadian judges involvement in community life are among issues under review

Most Read