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

Cannabis facility planned in Courtenay

Design up to 100,000 square feet

Pride Society of the Comox Valley set to kick off week-long celebration

The organization is celebrating Pride Week with a variety of events to bring the community together.

Major private donation to Kus-kus-sum project

Frank and Bobbi Denton, longtime residents of the Comox Valley, have donated… Continue reading

CONTEST: Win a pair of tickets to Sunfest Country Music Festival

Make sure to Like the Comox Valley Record’s Facebook page

3L happy with CVRD staff reversal of ruling

Company’s request for minor amendment to RGS was announced as defeated Tuesday, overturned Wednesday

BC Games: Day 1 comes to an end

Medals have already been handed out following one day of competition in the 2018 BC Summer Games

Bob Castle’s Under the Glacier cartoon for July 19, 2018

Bob Castle’s Under the Glacier cartoon for July 19, 2018… Continue reading

Blaney hopes to see seniors ministry

Government creates federal department for seniors

BC Wildfire update on Okanagan blazes

Watch the media briefing on the current fire situation in the Okanagan.

ZONE 6: Rugby star Maggie Banks carries family legacy to BC Games

Shawnigan Lake student and Coquitlam native following her parents to the national program

RCMP help to save goats from wildfire

The fast-approaching wildfire, sparked Thursday, forced the evacuation of five homes

VIDEO: Near drowning captured on popular B.C. river

Search and Rescue manager says the popular pastime of floating in the summer is inherently dangerous

Crosswalk vandalism leaves black mark for Cowichan as B.C. Games begin

Rainbow crosswalk defaced just days after being painted

Photo gallery: BC Games Day 1

A brief look at action from the 2018 BC Summer Games in the Cowichan Valley

Most Read