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.

andrew berrychloe and aubrey berryVictoria Law Courts

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

 

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

PHOTOS: B.C. Day long weekend on White Rock beach

Hundreds of families gathered at the beach Sunday

Seeds of Change Surrey to launch two new programs

United Way of the Lower Mainland donated $77,000

White Rock RCMP to host free bicycle registration clinic

Stolen registered bicycles are easier to return to proper owner if recovered

QUIZ: How much do you know about British Columbia?

On this B.C. Day long weekend, put your knowledge of our province to the test

VIDEO: Otter pups learn to swim at B.C. wildlife rescue facility

Watch Critter Care’s Nathan Wagstaffe help seven young otters go for their first dip

Michael Buble among 13 British Columbians to receive Order of B.C.

Ceremony will be delayed to 2021 due to COVID-19

U.S. border communities feel loss of Canadian tourists, shoppers and friends

Restrictions on non-essential travel across the Canada-U.S. border have been in place since March 2`

Rollout of COVID-19 Alert app faces criticism over accessibility

App requires users to have Apple or Android phones made in the last five years, and a relatively new operating system

Fraser Valley Bandits clinch playoff spot with win

Bandits down Niagara River Lions 70-57 on Sunday, improve to 3-2

Alleged impaired driver sparks small wildfire near Lytton after crash: B.C. RCMP

Good Samaritans prevented the blaze from getting out of control

B.C. First Nation adopts ‘digital twinning’ software to better manage territory

Software allows users to visualize what a mountain might look like if the trees on its slopes were logged

All inquiry recommendations implemented after fatal Port Hardy RCMP shooting: Ministry

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. cleared the RCMP officers involved of wrongdoing

Most Read