British Columbia

Sister of Andrew Berry tried to manipulate him into confessing, defence lawyer says

The defence lawyer for Andrew Berry, a Vancouver Island man accused of killing his two young daughters, spent a second day delivering closing arguments to the jury.

'His sister was behaving like a police officer,' says defence

The bodies of six-year-old Chloe Berry, left, and her four-year-old sister Aubrey, right, were found in an Oak Bay apartment on Christmas Day. (Submitted)

Andrew Berry's defence lawyer told a jury Wednesday there is nothing about his sister's testimony they should accept as credible evidence.

Kevin McCullough made the remarks during his second day delivering closing arguments in the defence of the Vancouver Island man accused of killing his two young daughters.

Berry has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder in the deaths of his daughters on Christmas Day 2017.

McCullough spent most of the day discrediting the testimonies of the Crown's witnesses, including Berry's sister and his former colleagues at BC Ferries.

McCullough says witness testimony from his client's sister — an RCMP officer whose name is protected by a publication ban — is unreliable and not credible. 

He argued that her interactions with her brother while he recovered in hospital after the Christmas Day killings were an attempt to elicit a confession from Andrew Berry who was "a broken man."

McCullough also said she acted as a police officer, not a sister, by collecting evidence and reporting to investigators. 

"When Andrew Berry tells you that his sister was behaving like a police officer, not only does that ring true, it is true," McCullough said.

Crown witnesses not credible

The Crown alleges that Berry used a baseball bat and a knife to kill Chloe, then stabbed Aubrey to death before trying to kill himself. The girls were found dead in his Oak Bay apartment; he was lying in the bathtub, naked and badly injured.

But Berry claims he and the girls were attacked by an unknown man with "dark skin and dark hair." He's testified that he owed a large gambling debt to a loan shark named Paul, and had given a spare set of apartment keys to Paul's associates so they could access packages Berry had agreed to store.

On Wednesday, McCullough continued to pick apart testimonies from Berry's former colleagues at BC Ferries, saying that because his employment there ended seven months before the girls' deaths, the colleagues were not reliable sources as to his state of mind in December 2017.

Andrew Berry has denied responsibility for the stabbing deaths of his daughters, Chloe and Aubrey. (Jane Wolsak)

Later, the defence elaborated on the accused's possible motive, saying he was a "sad and depressed human being," struggling with gambling debts and unpaid bills, but arguing he never took out his depression on his daughters.

"He may have done some very irresponsible things ultimately," said McCullough. "But on a micro level, he cared for those girls and protected them."

The defence will continue its closing arguments Thursday, while the Crown is expected to present its closing arguments later this week. 

The judge has told the jury in the case to expect to be sequestered for deliberations starting on Monday.