Day 3 of Defence closing arguments wraps in Andrew Berry trial

girls

Andrew Berry's Defence counsel took the better part of 3 days to deliver closing arguments to the jury as the 5-month trial nears an end.

The 45-year-old Oak Bay father is charged with 2 counts of second degree murder in the Christmas Day 2017 deaths of his 6 and 4 year old daughters, Chloe and Aubrey, and has pleaded not guilty.   

We warn details in this story may be disturbing:

During the 5 month trial the Defence has maintained that Berry had a serious gambling problem, and was in debt to a loan shark named 'Paul,' and that it was his henchman who attacked Berry and killed his daughters.

Berry testified after a day playing in the snow with his daughters he was attacked in his Beach Dr. apartment by a dark-skinned man and awoke to find his girls dead.

The Crown has alleged Berry was behind on his rent, his power was cut off, there was little food in his apartment, and he feared losing access to his girls, when he killed his daughters and attempted to kill himself by stabbing himself in the throat and chest.

But Berry's lawyer, Kevin McCullough, says no expert could say with certainty that Berry's injuries were self-inflicted.  And he repeatedly challenged the credibility of Crown witnesses, from police, the blood spatter expert, former colleagues at BC Ferries, Sarah Cotton -- the girls' mother, and Berry's sister, a police officer herself.

He told the jury his client was not afraid of losing access as the co-parenting relationship with his ex was the best it had been.

McCullough called the testimony of a neighbour about hearing "thunderous noises" coming from the apartment Christmas morning "unreliable" as no other tenants reported that.

McCullough says Berry cannot remember how he got into the bath, naked and injured, but suggests the killer put him there, and the apartment was staged to look like a murder-suicide.

McCullough advised the jury testimony that Berry didn't ask about his girls, or tell anyone he had been attacked immediately after the murders, should be discounted -- as silence is not evidence. And he says evidence that makes his client look bad or abnormal is also not evidence of guilt.

The Defence says the Crown's case is purely circumstantial, and told jurors after careful analysis of the evidence, and tossing out innuendo, they must find Mr. Berry not guilty.

The Crown begins its closing  Friday morning.  Madame Justice Miriam Gropper will give final instructions to the jury on Monday, before they retire to start deliberations.